WEEKLY 5: May 8th, 2009

Each week, the staff at [UTG] will be picking a topic to do a top 5 list on, if you agree or disagree with us, feel free to let us know in the comments or on our forums.

This week: Conor Oberst’s 5 Most Influential Songs [in honor of the upcoming release of Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band’s Outer South]


5. “Cape Canaveral” [From Conor Oberst] – Stepping away from Bright Eyes, we get this track that seems timeless from the first series of notes. Oberst’s voice shows growth and the writing is more mature. This is the beacon of hope for people in the “emo” genre that there is life outside of despair.

4. “Lover I Don’t Have To Love” [From Lifted, or The Story is in The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground] – One of the most awkward yet bold tracks ever released by Bright Eyes, this song stands out from the entire discography on structure alone. An extremely simple low-fi synth beat backs a quivering Conor who beckons for attention while begging for the complete opposite. This track showed the artistic way to bare one’s “emo” soul without going overly dramatic or whiny. It’s so straightforward and blunt that you almost think it’s a joke before realizing the hauntingly honest commentary it truly contains.

3. “The First Day of My Life” [From I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning]
– This radio ready single fit so perfectly on the record that most would never guess it to be the one chosen as a single, but it brought a lot of new listeners into Oberst’s world while keeping old fans happy. The reemergence of the folk based love song in top 40 America had been a long time coming and this was just the one to do it.

2. “The Calender Hung Itself” [From Fevers & Mirrors]- The first big song from Bright Eyes is still one of the most beloved. Taking the elements of post punk, folk, rock, and near street poetry, Oberst twists together a story of love and death while referencing his suicide attempt and his childhood as if they were moments apart. It’s captivating with every listen.

1. “No Love, Just Lies” [From Don’t Be Frightened of  Turning The Page] – It’s weird to think our number one would be from an obscure EP, but given the number of Myspace names, tattoos, blogs, etc. titled after this track, it’s obvious this one stands out from the overly impressive group. The blunt honesty displayed by Oberst regarding suicide and life jab your heart like the sharpest of blades. This is the song to convert people to fans with and save lives. This is his best…thus far.


James Shotwell
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