“Better Oblivion Community Center” Better Oblivion Community Center
Alt rock and indie folk-rock. An unexpected collaboration between two of the best lyricists of our time, representing different generations: Conor Oberst (39) and Phoebe Bridgers (24). The two met through the L.A. music scene, and after Oberst added vocals to a track on Bridgers’ 2017 debut “Stranger In The Alps,” they began secretly writing together and then assembled a band for this project. Extraordinarily smart and insightful lyrics, as you might expect. Oberst’s and Bridgers’ voices work amazingly well together. And great musical performances from Bridgers, Oberst and other contributors from bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dawes and Autolux.
— Francis D.
Recommended: 3, 1, 6, 4, 9, 8, 7. FCC on Track 2.
1. (4:04) Didn’t Know What I Was In For — Mostly acoustic ballad. Bridgers leads, with Oberst on the harmonies. Ebow whines mournfully in the distance. Minimal drums later in the song. ****
2. (3:13) Sleepwalkin’ — FCC: Sh-t. Chatter at the start. Draggy beat in the verses — becomes more intense in the choruses. Edgy guitar. Thumping beat. Piano. Oberst and Bridgers alternate on verses.
3. (3:37) Dylan Thomas — Up-tempo, melodic tune — featuring a true duet. Tasty guitar riffs in the lead break. Great lyrics. Catchy! ****
4. (3:44) Service Road — Gentle, strummy folk-rock with Oberst on the lead. High backing vocals from Bridgers. Big booming bass drum and rhythm track that’s reminiscent of a Simon & Garfunkel tune. ***
5. (2:51) Exception To The Rule — Synth and percussion pop-rock with a steady beat. Vocals are a duet.
6. (4:04) Chesapeake — Crystalline tune with an emotive duet. Shimmering synths. Strummed acoustic guitars. Beautiful. ****
7. (4:04) My City — Slow, walking Americana-flavored folk-rock. A bounce to the drums and bass. Swirling synth and noise in the background. **
8. (3:46) Forest Lawn — Rolling, acoustic ballad in 3/4 time. Oberst on the wistful lead vocals, with Bridgers adding sweet harmonies. **
9. (3:27) Big Black Heart — Percussive rock with chugging guitars and bass. Bridgers on the lead with Oberst harmonizing. Big distorted guitar solos with feedback. ***
10. (4:34) Dominos — Piano ballad. Oberst on the lead. Upright bass and simple rhythm. Sampled voice at places through the song.