Lua - Bright Eyes (2005)
One of my all time favorite songs, one of my all time favorite songwriters and performers - and one of the few (very eclectic) certainties in my Desert Island Collection. This album best highlights Oberst’s unique talent of writing lyrics with pathos, humour, cynicism and pure humanity. They are delivered with poetic and poignant use of phrase, and follow ‘Dylanesque’ narratives that drip equal parts joy and desolation - often at the same time.
I know that it is freezing but I think we have to walk
I keep waving at the taxis; they keep turning their lights off
But Julie knows a party at some actor’s west side loft
Supplies are endless in the evening; by the morning they’ll be gone.
When everything is lonely I can be my own best friend
I get a coffee and the paper; have my own conversations
With the sidewalk and the pigeons and my window reflection
The mask I polish in the evening, by the morning looks like shit.
And I know you have a heavy heart; I can feel it when we kiss
So many men stronger than me have thrown their backs out trying to lift it
But me I’m not a gamble you can count on me to split
The love I sell you in the evening, by the morning won’t exist.
You’re looking skinny like a model with your eyes all painted black
You just keep going to the bathroom always say you’ll be right back
Well it takes one to know one, kid, I think you’ve got it bad
But what’s so easy in the evening, by the morning is such a drag.
I’ve got a flask inside my pocket we can share it on the train
If you promise to stay conscious I will try and do the same
We might die from medication, but we sure killed all the pain
But what was normal in the evening, by the morning seems insane.
And I’m not sure what the trouble was that started all of this
The reasons all have run away but the feeling never did
It’s not something I would recommend, but it is one way to live
Cause what is simple in the moonlight, by the morning never is
What’s so simple in the moonlight, now is so complicated
What’s so simple in the moonlight, so simple in the moonlight
All the while, his complex lyrical meanderings bely the simplicity of many of the arrangements - he is often best stripped back and accompanied by an acoustic guitar. A raw, beautiful and constantly reengaging masterpiece - it is never far from my playlist.