|Oberst, Conor / Upside Down Mountain|
|Add Date:||2014-06-20|| ||Pull Date:||2014-08-22|| |
|Week Ending:||24 Aug||17 Aug||10 Aug||3 Aug||27 Jul||20 Jul||13 Jul||6 Jul|
“Upside Down Mountain” Conor Oberst|
Brilliant, incisive, intimate, personal indie folk-rock from the artist that has written and performed for years as Bright Eyes. On this album, Oberst has purposely sought to return to an earlier period in his life as an artist — and in doing so, pays homage to the great indie folk-rock of the 1970s. The songs explore themes such as love gained, love lost and loneliness in an increasingly impersonal world. Arrangements vary from richly layered with rock instruments and synths to sparse, stripped down melodies. Oberst assembled a strong group of musical friends to collaborate on the record, including using harmonies from the Swedish folk-rock sister duo First Aid Kit. Exquisite poetry and a quality album from start to finish.
Recommended: 3, 2, 4, 9, 11, 12/13, 1. No FCCs detected.
1. (4:37) Time Forgot – A simple folk-pop melody floating effortlessly above rippling electronica, simple bass progressions and a lightly picked guitar. **
2. (4:05) Zigzagging Toward the Light – Easy folk-rock with a strong snare backbeat giving it a pleasant bounce. Big chorus on backing vocals. Ends with a harsh guitar swell that ends suddenly. ****
3. (4:28) Hundreds of Ways – Johnny Cash echo-y country guitar provides the foundation for a tune that evolves into a catchy folk-pop melody with a Samba-like rhythm. Brass adds a nice touch, like a classic Van Morrison production. Great! ****
4. (4:25) Artifact #1 – Strummy guitar, tapping rhythm, rueful vocals about life and love. Such beautiful poetry! Moanful slide guitar in the distance. ***
5. (3:45) Lonely at the Top – Slow-tempo ballad — with soft brushes on the drums, relaxed bass and Oberst’s melancholy outlook on love. Slide guitar solo in lead break.
6. (2:24) Enola Gay — Swaying folk-rock in the Bright Eyes style. Some harsh observations as well, “This world’s mean...getting meaner too, so why d’you have to make it all about you?”
7. (3:57) Double Life – Simple guitar strumming, piano and Oberst’s plain and vulnerable vocals. More slide guitar in a 1970s country folk-rock style.
8. (3:41) Kick – Mid-tempo. Lighthearted delivery. Bubbly, reverbed synth provides an added layer.
9. (4:17) Night at Lake Unknown – Soft, sweet ballad in a Van Morrison style. Oberst delivers his earnest vocals with the help of a church-like chorus and a wistful slide guitar. ***
10. (3:49) You Are Your Mother’s Child – Simple strumming under Oberst’s quavering vocals. Reminiscent of a traditional 1960s folk tune.
11. (4:21) Governor’s Ball – Bigger sound. Fuzz guitar and pounding drums set the tone at the start. Very Neil Young-like, with some Van Morrison brass. ***
12. (5:41) Desert Island Questionnaire – 1970s-style folk-rock. Strummy electric guitar. Intimate, insightful, personal lyrics. “I’m so bored with my life/But I’m still afraid to die.” Builds through added layers over the 5 minutes. Segues directly into the album’s last song. ***
13. (5:02) Common Knowledge – After a soft opening with synth and wind, becomes a series of gentle, personal observations on life. Strumming guitar, with synth sounds and effects woven throughout. Very touching. ***