Quick Review (LP): The People’s Key by Bright Eyes


Bright Eyes
The People’s Key
Saddle Creek; 2011

My Rating: C (44/100)

Best Tracks: "Jejune Stars", "Ladder Song", "One for You, One for Me"

I’ve heard somewhere that this is the last Bright Eyes record, but I’d hope Conor O. can find a more inspiring way to finish off that epoch.

NOTES:
– "Firewall" suggests it, and the rest of the record confirms it: the best thing about this record are the ultra-crazy meta-ramblings that Denny Brewer narrates throughout the record.
– Definitely going for an 80’s vibe. Not so sure the 80’s thing works well for Conor.
– Overall, this just feels very mediocre – when it comes to Bright Eyes, I expect to hear tympani booms bouncing off of cathedral walls, insane, heart exploding caterwauls, teenage angels choirs, and trumpet blasts blowing down demonic battalions. See “Method Acting.”
– "Ladder Song" is a standout here, probably because it comes straight from Oberst’s gut, and sounds like something you’d have expected from the guy who made Lifted.
– "It’s as well-assembled and produced a set of songs as you’d expect from pros like these guys, but unfortunately, much of it tends to ring empty. What’s missing is Oberst." Saith David Bevan, the Pitchfork guy, who hits the nail on the head.
– He misses on the concept. Oberst is going for a universalist message, but he reaches for peace with a little too much ease, seeking to sidestep the battle necessary to attain it, which is not something I’d expect from him.
– The last word – "Mercy" – nice touch.

ATTRIBUTES:
Cohesion (3.5/5)
Concept (3/5)

Consistency (3.5/5) – Pretty mediocre all the way through.
Consequence (2.5/5) – Hits with a thud, even though it’s supposedly the last thing he’ll record as Bright Eyes.
Songs (3.5/5) – Oberst, even at mediocre, is better than most, and his backing band is excellent as always.

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