Update (12/29/12): After having their latest album for some time now, and listening “Shell Games” to death, it feels weird to have it missing. I also added a Spotify playlist of the tracks below.
I’m not really sure when I was first exposed to Conor Oberst and the morbid realism of Bright Eyes (@brighteyesband). I do know that it’s helped me through many a difficult time in my life, and will continue to do so. Here are my 20 favorite Bright Eyes songs, which will, without a doubt, be different than yours. Let me know. Did I nail it? Or did I fall flat on my face? I did just pour out some emotions so cut me some slack.
To hear the songs, simply click the song title.
10. “I Believe in Symmetry”
Though I sorely underplay “I Believe in Symmetry”, it hits me with equal force every freaking time. ”The levity of longing that distills each dream inside my head, by morning watered down forget. On silver stars I wish and wish and wish,” will be forever engrained in my head.
With “Hit the Switch”, Oberst brilliantly conveys his desire to understand life. The viewpoint that our world is arbitrary by nature and that our relationships are filled with emptiness. Just when you think you get what he’s saying, he flips it around like many of us do everyday, and learns to make sense of it all. I’ve always connected with this song big time.
This may be the most mainstream accessible track in the entire Bright Eyes catalog, but I love everything about it. Especially that it was in Knocked Up.
I was very skeptical of Cassadaga when it was first released. And then I listened to this song on some really great speakers. Like the top picks on this list, it reveals Mr. Oberst’s super optimistic side.
Oh, thank you so much “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”. You’ve gotten me through many a heartbreak. It’s great to turn this baby on full blast and get ready for an emotionless evening of interacting.
Of course I would follow up with “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”, a track that happens to be my top played Bright Eyes song. This song is Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’s ying to I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning’s yang (“First Day of My Life”). That makes sense right?
“I know I should be brave, but I’m just too afraid of all this change. And it’s too hard to focus through all this doubt.” This song is perfect.
“First Day of My Life” is arguably Bright Eyes’ best song. I know I speak for thousands when I say that this song transports me to a very specific time and place, standing next to a certain girl. Yes, it’s their cutest song and can be cheesy, but that is why I love it so much. Every band should have a really fucking great love song.
Conor, I love the optimism! ”Baby don’t worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel like crying, I’m gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can’t, if it just hurts too bad, then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company through those days so long and black.”
I’ve heard Oberst compared to Dylan more times than I can count. When I first heard “Poison Oak”, I felt like I finally got it. Its gut-wrenching lyrics and utterly perfect composition sends chills down throughout my body, not just my spine. ”And I never thought this life was possible. You’re the yellow bird that I’ve been waiting for” gets me every goddam time.