Here’s NPR’s coverage of Bright Eyes live at SXSW Festival 2011.
As a 17-year-old female fan of indie rock and Woody Allen movies, I’m required by the laws of cultural stereotypes to be two things: romantic and angsty. Both of these traits, so adamantly engrained in my psyche and musical taste, led to me the works of musical phenom and poetic genius Conor Oberst under the alias Bright Eyes— songs that were catalysts for the entire indie genre back in the early 2000s. I wish I had found this music in my early preteens and blasted it through bulky headphones from my iPod mini as so many of my musically educated contemporaries did, but alas, it took me until about a year ago for me to finally hit my almost mandatory Bright Eyes phase, a period necessary for any individual built from the same mold as myself.
This album stands as the apex of the past decade’s most influential and underratedly masterful music, a masterful album compiled of emotionally raw sound and simply beautiful, intelligent lyrics. The variety in the music from song to song is evident, yet Oberst somehow manages to blend each individual message and sound of a given song into the next, resulting in a thematically varied yet musically congruous masterpiece. This album has everything for any music fan who has the capacity to feel— sexual deviance in ‘Lover I Don’t Have to Love,’ poignant gratitude and innocence in ‘Bowl of Oranges,’ and nostalgia for a past love in ‘You Will..’ (my favorite track.)
This album is about love in all of its convoluted, repulsive, and sometimes beautiful glory but is told through a lens of intelligence unique not only for its genre but also for its mode of expression. Music doesn’t have many Conor Obersts, many artists so versatile yet so powerfully passionate about each perfectly placed word to the next. He’s an anomalous musical force whose talent can’t be praised enough. He’s what indie should be: a genre defined by raw passion and ingenuity antithetical to the vanilla norm, not by who can sound the most uninterested.
This album and Bright Eyes itself still stand as the perfect indication of what indie is meant to be and personally represents exactly why I love the genre so much when it’s being properly portrayed. My only regret is not finding him and all of his passionate fanaticism sooner.
LOVER I DON’T HAVE TO LOVE: The rawest gem on the album:
This year, dearest Santa Claus has deemed me worthy of tickets to SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2012. Expect a full report of my three-day adventure come January via gratuitous pictures of me dressed demurely in all black trying to look important next to Harvey Weinstein and slipping on Utah ice in my haste to get Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s autograph.
Here are some films that I simply can’t wait to see/critique/drool over:
I AM NOT A HIPSTER:
A look into a now derided subculture that revolves around music, art, and life for the sake of irony.
A story about a delusional and disturbed high-schooler who fantasizes about gory sex and enjoys sniffing tampons.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS:
A documentary about LCD Soundsystem and their very last show. Includes personal interviews with James Murphy himself and author/social commentator/ personal idol Chuck Klosterman. Will basically make me pee my pants.
Hoping you all had a jolly holiday and received your gifted music in CD form,
Apparently Justin Vernon, king of acoustic indie, has an infomercial floating around the internet about how much back pain sucks and working out rocks. Surprisingly, I’m not posting this to rant about how this is another outrageous instance of underground artists ‘selling out’ to ‘the man’ or any such overstated hogwash; rather, I find the whole thing just kinda funny.
And here, have a link to a truly hipster discussion about the topic via HIPSTER RUNOFF
Hey there, Delilahs. Please excuse my absence. I’ve been rapidly plotting my future via college applications, final exams, blood, sweat, tears, and caffeine, and unfortunately as a result I have let my dearest blog wither away in my absence in the dark abyss of the internet like a long-forgotten Neopet. With that aside, let’s get crackin’ in the normal swing of things; that is, making snide and sometimes insightful remarks about indie doo-dads in the hopes of likes and followers, just as Mama Tumblr always wanted.
This is a heavy film (and that’s coming from a Tarantino fan who perversely revels in the cinematic mastery of scalping and dungeon sodomy.) When this popped up on the marquee of literally the only independent movie theater within 50 miles of my residence, my little indie heart was all aflutter at the prospect of seeing an allegedly groundbreaking, insightful film about the recovery of a mentally wayward girl after her escape from an abusive cult. But even my strong stomach for cinematic, disturbing content was tested during the scenes in which several girls, including the protagonist, were raped by the cult’s deranged leader, or even during the emotionally trying bits in which the other women of the cult try to justify such radically abusive behavior through brainwashed, misguided lips.
There’s no getting around the fact that this movie is tough to sit through, not due to poor craftsmanship or a slow plot, but because of its blatantly disturbing content. With that aside, the movie is quite poignantly directed and filmed, pieced together with a thoughtful and tasteful blend of still and shaky camera effects and an overlying dim, ominous lighting that fits the creepy atmosphere of the movie like a glove. The acting is excellent; Elizabeth Olson, the undiscovered gem and younger daughter of Mary-Kate and Ashley, perfectly walks the line between quivering sanity and violent delusion with a poise rarely seen by actors taking their first dive into the world of the silver screen.
I respect this movie. Not because it was masterfully done— the overall effect of the movie, while well done, was nothing groundbreaking— but rather because it had the capacity to shock me. Any film that manages to make me cringe in a respectful way, not by way of mindless slasher gore or extraneous sex and violence, will have my full attention, and ‘Marcy’ manages to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Disclaimer: Bear with me, I’m about to get political on your tumblr asses.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in a corner somewhere over the last three years, you’re aware of the economic crash that occurred in the fall of 2008 and the nationwide recession that followed. Since then, everyone has been pointing fingers at different political parties, figures of authority, and even a certain president, but American society doesn’t seem to be able to fully comprehend the source of all of this economic madness or what we should even begin to do to pick up the pieces of our shattered economy, most likely due to the fact that we’ve been distracted by train wreck-y reality shows and the wild rantings of Sarah Palin. Then in 2009, controversial documentarian Michael Moore, the loudmouthed yet innovative political (left-wing) radicalist who previously made statements on American health care and the Columbine shootings, pointed a very decisive finger at what he claims is the source of the nation’s greed and corruption— the right-wing of politics and their bible, the preachings of capitalism.
As a film, Moore proves that he is more than capable of creating a piece that is all at once informative, well filmed, and humorous. The audience can’t resist a reluctant chuckle as he gets a shot of him surrounding a major bank with caution tape or heckles white-collar Wall Street bankers as they step outside of the office for their morning Starbucks. The film is well pieced together, avoiding the traditional shaky-cam technique now to brutally butchered in Hollywood for a more professional style of still interviews and well controlled sweeping shots. Moore makes documentaries how they’re supposed to be made— that is, professionally and tastefully.
And then, naturally, there’s the controversy surrounding his obvious political bias and the fact that he teaches his opinion as fact. On one hand, every artist has his license to preach whatever ideals he wishes to, but in this case, capitalism is such a foggy, complicated subject that audiences are in danger of eating his simplified, slightly inaccurate version of this large concept right up and adopting his personal opinion as the factual basis for their own political decisions. For example, at the very beginning of the film, he utilizes good old tearjerkin’ pathos as he chronicles the repossession of a family’s house, which had been in the family for generations. We watch the wife sob, the husband bite his lip to contain his rage against “the man,” and the audience is suddenly sympathic to their plight and oblivious to the full story. We forget that the government has a right to repossess that house. They didn’t pay their dues. They didn’t pull their weight. They can cry, and they can make us feel bad for them, but ultimately, they’re not quite the victims that Moore makes them out to be.
Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I’m no fan of republicanism and especially not of the way the right-wing radicals are preaching their unreasonable, ignorant beliefs. But I’m also not a fan of blind political extremism. Though Moore is one of my favorite directors simply for his cinematic style and professional take on the documentary, now seemingly a dying art, with this film, he has only contributed to the polarizing politics of modern America. People, especially Moore’s audiences, need to remember that politics (and morals) are not black and white, and the intricacies of our government are more complex than any documentary can ever capture.