• Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Aug 5, 2008
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20

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  1. CarlF.
    Aug 7, 2008
    9
    Great album about escapism and life on the road. The music matches the lyrics perfectly. Seems like the critics are taking Conor Oberst for granted. An album that would be fantastic for a roadtrip across the United States.
  2. ChadS.
    Aug 11, 2008
    10
    If you're good, you can get away with a faux-off-the-cuff spoken-word narrative about a surreal plane crash, before launching acoustically into your best Bob Dylan imitation, as the thirsty Conor Oberst audaciously pulled off with aplomb and confidence on "At the Bottom of Everything"(from "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"). He recorded himself drinking a beverage, and I If you're good, you can get away with a faux-off-the-cuff spoken-word narrative about a surreal plane crash, before launching acoustically into your best Bob Dylan imitation, as the thirsty Conor Oberst audaciously pulled off with aplomb and confidence on "At the Bottom of Everything"(from "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"). He recorded himself drinking a beverage, and I didn't mind at all. One song is all it took to make me a loyal fan. A first impression is everything. Now, he's an I. Maybe Oberst stopped hiding behind his Bright Eyes moniker as a response to the similar move made by Bill Callahan(he who was Smog), or, Jakob Dylan(he who was a Wallflower). On this eponymous debut, Oberst finally wrote a song that is equal to anything in the Dylan canon. "I Don't Want to Die(in the Hospital)" sounds like an update of "Bringing It All Back Home"-era Bob, updated by Gordon, circa 1984. Listen closely, and you just might hear a hint of "Never Tell" and "Jesus Walking on the Water" from the Violent Femmes' underrated "Hallowed Ground". While everybody is mining the sixties for his influences, Gordon Gano might be flying under the radar. "Souled Out" makes funny reference to "Knocking on Heaven's Door", in which the recently dead "won't be getting in" because heaven is "all souled out". Warren Zevon got in. But will there be room for Axl Rose? He has some explaining to do about the original cover art for "Appetite for Destruction". "NYC-Gone Gone" is a cool Slade-like rave-up. And finally, the album closes gracefully with "Milk Thistle", a langorous ballad that sort of recalls Cat Stevens' "Moon Shadow". Expand
  3. voodoocookie
    Aug 15, 2008
    10
    Conor nails it again. It doesn't sound too different from another Bright Eyes album but with each and every album his sound has been evolving. You can't really still expect him to sound like the fever/lifted days. Lyrics and music still top notch and he seems to be enjoying himself here which is nice to see!
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. The fact that the music does feel relaxed, even when it bears his classicist affectations, does make Conor Oberst markedly different than the music of Bright Eyes, and makes it a worthwhile project--even if it proves to be a detour instead of a new beginning.
  2. By its very nature this is a more cohesive work than "Cassadaga," and a fine, true one at that: evocative, sporadically inspired and resoundingly enjoyable, repeat plays paying dividends.
  3. A definite sense of fun permeates Conor Oberst, with the singer allowing himself to indulge a few whimsical idea's.