The People's Key - Bright Eyes
The People's Key Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first Bright Eyes album in four years shows Conor Oberst sticking to his winning combination of indie and folk rock.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Mar 21, 2011
    90
    The band has pulled off the difficult trick of sculpting a record concerned with weighty, complex themes and made it sound like the breeziest, most effortless thing in the world: a collection of fleet, shimmering pop songs; a master-class in sonic splendour; a bold, beautiful and brilliant reinvention that should surprise as many as it will enthrall.
  2. Feb 16, 2011
    80
    Depending on how one looks at it, The People's Key might even be understood as the culmination of a long and troublesome trajectory Bright Eyes began as a teenager's bedroom project in the mid-90s.
  3. Mar 23, 2011
    80
    For all their diversity and maturity, these songs couldn't have been written by anyone else, and this welcome return shows that the three years since the last Bright Eyes album have been well spent.
  4. Feb 14, 2011
    70
    He manages to be everything at once: folkie and punk, old soul and eternal boy, high-plains drifter and hipster heartthrob.
  5. The People's Key just doesn't have the emotional pull that others do.
  6. Apr 6, 2011
    60
    Conor Oberst regroups with the band that made him. [March 2011, p. 94]
  7. Mar 17, 2011
    30
    Oberst's voice trembles with the emotion of his youth, only ripped with spite instead of vulnerability. That solipsism has shifted to an even more detached universalism, which leaves little for the listener to connect with.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Feb 15, 2011
    9
    To me, this sounds like what I love about Bright Eyes yet something new at the same time. Seems to me that Conor and friends are filled with good ideas. Not sure how a Bright Eyes fan could not like this? Sounds great to my ears, love it! Expand
  2. Mar 15, 2011
    9
    I find this CD to present a very enjoyable listening experience. It's more accessable then some of the other Bright Eye's CDs and its the best one since I'm WIde Awake, It's Morning. Some of the highlights are Shell Games and the Ladder Song, but there is not a clunker in the bunch. Give it a listen, you won't be disappointed. Expand
  3. May 28, 2011
    8
    Texturally, this album has a lot going for it. Conor Oberst owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mike Morgis for that quality, because lyrically this isn't the best Bright Eyes album. Oh, there are moments. "Jejune Stars" and "Shell Games" are wonderful songs by themselves. And "Ladder Song"...well "Ladder Song" is one of the best songs I have ever had the privilege of hearing. It does not have the classy, well-layered feel of the rest of the songs on the album. It is an ice-cold, heart-shattering dirge to an old friend and says practically everything there is to say about humanity's feelings about death in not quite four minutes. It is the CLEAR standout in an LP of not-always-affecting songs. But damn, they all sound really good. Expand
  4. Feb 15, 2011
    8
    This album is interesting in it's full form. With the opening Shamanistic vocals, it sets the stage for something didactic. as if you are in for a learning experience. And that is what this album is, an album surrounded by learnt knowledge, especially that of the music industry. Conor Oberst's rampant lyrics enveloped by his perfect blend of tweaked instruments and beautiful sound all form this great Bright Eyes album. It is no I'm wide awake it's morning, but it still delivers. It takes a couple listens, but the album itself is quite powerful. On first listen Jejune Stars a listen for the more digital ash in a digital urn feel, but for Lifted fans, Ladder Song is for you. This album is a Bright Eyes album. No more than that. No less. Expand
  5. Aug 30, 2011
    8
    Oberst is one of my favorite lyricists. He some how conveys deep messages with simple sentences. I can't fathom how a critic gave this album a 30... on what basis are they reviewing albums? I also love the sermon that is sampled throughout the album, the ideas there are very interesting to me. Great listen. Expand
  6. Jan 2, 2012
    8
    My favorite songs on the album are: 1)Triple Spiral, 2)A Machine Spiritual (In the People's Key) 3)Jejune Stars. It took me a while to warm up to this album as it is a little whacked but when I did I can gladly say its good, and while it's not Bright Eye's best, it does have some depth and good reflective lyrics as Bright Eyes is known for. I would also recommend checking out live versions of these songs as I feel that these recordings are not the best versions out there. Recommended. Expand
  7. Feb 23, 2011
    6
    While not a huge Bright Eyes fan to begin with, I continue to give The Peopleâ