My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #30

Number 30

At a late point on his new record, Conor Oberst repeatedly insists “There’s nothin’ that the road cannot heal”, which is a line that can sum up the entire aura surrounding the unique singer/songwriter at this point in his career. There are Oberst lovers and haters, and then there are the ones in between; those who can confess that 2005’s I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning blew them away no matter what their former displeasings of his style, voice, etc, were. These are the same set of people that shuffle back and forth from fan and non-fan of Oberst, and at a strange, chameleon pace. I must say that I am confused with this sort of opinion about the artist, and see it as a form of disrespect. Make up your mind, people! Anyway, I’ll stop rambling about things that are only personal opinions anyway, for everyone is entitled to their own…even if they are without plausability. I have been a fan of everything he has done in his already hefty career, even at the young age of 28. The very early redcordings are certainly tough to take in if you’re simply listening to them on a technical level, which is expected coming from an adolescent making music; but the amount of respect I have for those first documents of a true phenom like Oberst, is massive. They’re essential. He has been on a very long journey since then, releasing a number of both critically praised and panned albums, but all have been adventurous and ambitious, to say the least. Now, for the first time in over a decade, he has dropped the Bright Eyes moniker, traveled to Mexico, assembled the Mystic Valley Band, and worked with a new producer for a self-titled solo album. After the frequently brilliant but ultimately uneven, Cassadaga, almost two years ago, it was refreshing to hear a straight-forward folk record that has the scars of a road well-traveled all over it. He has lost himself in a place that has brought out the genius we know rests inside of him, and the albums bookends, both “Cape Canaveral” and “Milk Thistle”, are two of the very best songs he’s ever made.

1.Cape Canaveral
3.Get Well-Cards
4.Leaders in the Temple
5.Danny Callahan
6.I Don’t Want To Die (In the Hospital)
7.Eagle On A Pole
8.NYC – Gone, Gone
10.Valle Mistico (Ruben’s Song)
11.Souled Out!!!
12.Milk Thistle


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