Bright Eyes
(Saddle Creek)
Conor Oberst needs to stop with the audio art installations that open every album. If they were interesting or entertaining, that would be one thing. But they’re indulgent and boring, so stop it, because what he’s doing here is detracting from the lovely lead track “Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed),” which forlornly addresses war, religion and cheap fame in three minutes. Guitars and strings and voices collide on Cassadaga in a ragged chorus of rage and unrest writ melodically against the skyscrapers and flashing lights of Oberst’s adopted hometown of New York. He’s still wondering if men in higher places are talking to god, but the god of Cassadaga has many names, and Oberst doesn’t trust him in any form: “The Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Qur’an’s mute/If you burned them all together you’d get close to the truth/Still they’re poring over Sanskrit on the Ivy League moons,” he sings on the rollicking single “Four Winds.” Before his political awakening Oberst rivaled Chris Carrabba for wordy sad-sack love songs; now he’s an indie heartthrob and he’s tired and he puts it to us straight: “Yeah, I’ve been fucked, so what?” Cassadaga is a rousing and beautiful record from a guy who has yet to buckle under the pressure of being the Voice of His Generation, but still self-aware enough to try and live up to it.
Tara Thorne
categories: Coast pick

About The Author

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment


Did you vote in advance polls for the 2021 federal election?

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.