I’ve really liked most things Conor Oberst has been involved with. Bright Eyes have released some fantastic albums, and his collaboration with Monsters of Folk may be one of my all time favorite records. I’ve even dug Desaparecidos. This week, Oberst released his latest solo effort, Upside Down Mountain, and it’s really, really good.
The opening track, “Time Forgot”, feels like a song you’d expect from a Conor Oberst album, especially following Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key – intimate lyrics, Oberst’s trademark nasal voice, and just a taste of electronics. “Zigzagging Toward The Light” is a fantastic track. It has an I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning feel to it until its rocking ending, where it’s obvious a little bit of Jim James has rubbed off on him when doing Monsters of Folk.
Some beautiful scenery is painted by Oberst’s lyrics in “Artifact #1”, complete with pedal steel and acoustic guitar and Oberst’s whispery harmonies. It’s followed up by another beautiful, yet melancholy Americana track, “Lonely at the Top”. “Double Up” is a great combo of piano and guitar, and “Kick” is a great rocker.
“Kick” is followed up by two gorgeous acoustic tracks, “Night at Lake Unknown” and “You Are Your Mother’s Child”. Lyrically, my favorite track may be “Desert Island Questionarre” which is a sad song, about death and loss, but it’s actually somewhat positive.
I really dig Upside Down Mountain. I’m not sure yet if I’ll rank it up with some of my favorite Bright Eyes albums, but it’s solid and is a great culmination of what Oberst has been doing over the last few years. His songwriting on the album is as strong as ever. You can catch him on tour with Dawes, playing songs from throughout his catalog.
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