Lua”/“Take it Easy (Love Nothing)
On January 25, 2005, Bright Eyes will release two full-length albums. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning will showcase the familiar side of the band, the one that’s rooted in acoustic guitars and heartbreak. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn will reveal a new side to the project, one with lots of knob-twiddling and electro elements. Never let it be said that Conor Oberst is not ambitious. To set the stage for this release, Saddle Creek (via Outside Music in Canada) has released a singles package from each. “Lua,” from Wide Awake, is the clear winner based on quantity alone: four songs, including two non-album tracks (country jam “Whiskey Well” and folky fable “True Blue”) and a cover of The Bruces’ “I Woke Up With This Song in My Head This Morning.” “Lua” itself is just Oberst and a quiet guitar, singing about the goings-on in his adopted hometown of New York, where he moved to from Nebraska after the startling success of his sprawling 2001 album Lifted. “You’re looking skinny like a model with your eyes all painted black,” he sings to a fellow west side partygoer, before revealing that it’s all because of cocaine and “it takes one to know one.” “Take it Easy (Love Nothing),” off Digital Urn, is a little less successful despite the chugging guitar riff and nice synth touches—it sounds like Oberst is singing too far back from the mike, sounding detached and making it hard to be engaged. The third track is a toss-away instrumental (“Cremation”), and the centre is a fuzzy-drum-backed cover of Simon Joyner’s “Burn Rubber.” New sounds need time, so perhaps a month from now the Digital Urn material will be welcome. But with two albums’ worth of material, it’ll be impossible to be disappointed.