Back in 2002, when I was just discovering this young talent named Conor Oberst and his amazing work as Bright Eyes, Conor was off with some friends producing a raging punk protest album under the moniker Desaparecidos, with a scorching series of songs called Read Music - Speak Spanish. As the years passed, Bright Eyes joined Modest Mouse as my favorite bands in the world by 2005, when both artists' work began to drop off for various reasons, and while I still admire and exult all of the early work of Modest Mouse, time has not been as kind to Mr. Oberst. By the end of the decade he "left" Bright Eyes for a couple folk-country albums under his given name, and an attempt at re-invigorating the Bright Eyes name last year with The People's Key fell about as flat as could be. Now, admittedly, my interest in the slow, singer-songwriter music style that I fell for hard a decade ago has all but disappeared -- I don't really listen to much Sufjan Stevens or Death Cab anymore, even their old "good" material -- so perhaps it's me that's changed more than Conor. At some point in the past decade, though, I discovered his one-off explosion of screaming music with Desaparecidos and fell in love. And I still admire it today, almost as much as the best of Bright Eyes catalog and definitely more than anything Conor has released since 2005 or so. Perhaps it's because I've spent now a full year suffering from some degree of foot pain, but the raging venom of songs like those on Read Music - Speak Spanish really speak to me today. Or perhaps it's the content of the lyrics, all of them speaking truth to power of an American world at the start of the Bush years, presaging pretty much all the hell our economy and culture and world has suffered through in the hands of conservative rule for the better part of a decade. This music is wonderful rage, powerfully told, and it was with some elation that I read the news that Conor and his old mates reunited recently in a secret show in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The video from the show is of a new song called "Left is Right" and the quality is admittedly very poor but the screaming... yeah, it's real. And more than ever, right here, right now, we need a little screaming rage. Fuck yeah, Conor, glad to see you still have it in you. The only question is... will another musical masterpiece follow?
I want to pledge allegiance to the country where I live. I don't want to be ashamed to be American. But opportunity no it don't exist, it's the opiate of the populace, we need some harder shit now, the truth is getting around and each public school is a halfway house, where the huddled masses sober up and up, Enough!
There's not enough to fatten the cows and feed all of us. It's just a rationing of luck. What can't be bought gets raffled off oh god good god shed greed on thee, your shining sea turned a dirty green from the industry off the shores of New Jersey.
I got a letter from the army so I think that I'll enlist. No I'm not brave or proud of nothing I just want to kill something. Too bad that nowadays you just point and click, swing low satellite hot white chariot, in the computer's blue glare the bombs burst in the air, there was a city once, now nothing is there.
Our freedom comes at their expense -- makes sense, does it?! Dollars and cents, they're stretching barbed wire across the picket fence that is surrounding your housing development. Just in case you lack the confidence, oh god my god give strength to thee these amber waves purple majesty are nothing but backdrops for Disney.
Well look up close it is superimposed on a blank blue screen it is fantasy, fucking magical -- the dream floats like a chemical through each snapped synapse our television past that is beautiful no more no more