|Oberst, Conor / Salutations|
|Add Date:||2017-03-22|| ||Pull Date:||2017-05-24|| |
“Salutations” Conor Oberst|
“Salutations” is a revelation. Last year, Conor Oberst recorded a ten-song album called “Ruminations” that captured Oberst at his lowest and most alone-sounding — full of doubt, despair and despondence over life and its difficulties. Oberst’s lyrics were raw and revealing, and he performed the songs using only a piano, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and his vocals. But the plan had always been to take those tracks and layer them with full arrangements. “Salutations” is the result. It’s alternative rock that veers from My Morning Jacket edginess and Dylan-esque folk-rock to crystalline Bright Eyes ballads. To create the album, Oberst had help from many accomplished musicians including The Felice Brothers, Jim James, M. Ward, Maria Taylor, and more. This is one of Oberst’s most ambitious and interesting works to-date.
Recommended: 5, 16, 6, 10, 1, 14, 7. FCCs on 11 and 13.
1. (4:03) Too Late to Fixate – Rolling, swaying, world-weary ode in three-quarter time. Oberst’s warbling vocals accompanied by accordion and fiddle. ***
2. (3:35) Gossamer Thin – Another melodic, swaying piano ballad with minimal layers added from previous version.
3. (3:49) Overdue – Easy ramble with a prominent electric guitar. Lots of backing vocals. A bit of a Van Morrison vibe to this one.
4. (3:37) Afterthought – Like an Irish sea shanty sing-along. Excellent use of harmonica.
5. (3:44) Next of Kin – Very Bright Eyes-sounding. Piano, harmonica and Oberst’s quavering, mournful vocals. ****
6. (5:00) Napalm – Almost a Southern Rock quality. The lightly tripping organ is a counterpoint to an edgy guitar. Oberst’s vocals are at a full spoken shout against “this dying land of plenty.” ***
7. (4:17) Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch) – Folky and easy, sorrowful serenade featuring harmonica and guitar. **
8. (4:02) Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out – Piano-centric, storytelling song of friends coming together in a bar.
9. (4:30) Barbary Coast (Later) – Americana. Strumming guitar. String flourishes. Rich, full vocals.
10. (3:27) Tachycardia – Fingerpicked guitar. Accordion. Organ and Dylan-style harmonica in lead breaks. Strings to soften the bite. ****
11. (4:25) Empty Hotel by the Sea – Starts with Oberst’s vocals and an acoustic guitar, then adds organ. Uplifting feeling. FCC: “shit excuse”
12. (2:55) Anytime Soon – Straight-ahead rock. Shimmering reverbed guitar and edgy guitar solos.
13. (3:29) Counting Sheep – Simple, guitar-based ditty about Oberst dealing with life’s hard times — from a brain cyst to depression. FCC: "catheter piss"
14. (3:44) Rain Follows the Plow – Soft and swingy waltz with rock trail-out. ***
15. (4:28) You All Loved Him Once – Bitter, sad, self-absorbed commentary about the price Oberst feels he’s paid being in the public eye — and the shallowness of adoration. **
16. (4:57) A Little Uncanny – Rasping guitar underlies biting, cynical lyrics about the famous such as Jane Fonda and Ronald Reagan, including how tortured souls such as Robin Williams and Sylvia Plath dealt with fame. ***
17. (3:58) Salutations – Piano-based ballad closer that’s a cynical reflection on the rambling path Oberst’s life has taken.