Conor Oberst / Upside Down Mountain

Upside Down Mountain is the second “solo” album solely attributed to Conor Oberst, he most famously of Bright Eyes. I’m not entirely sure what sets this material apart from Bright Eyes material though. (maybe the band lineup?) This album does have a few more spare, singer-songwritery numbers like the absolute gem “You Are Your Mother’s Child” (Track 10) and Oberst still has a knack for poetry and lyrics that paint extremely vivid images. He sets the scene so well: ‘Out on the diamond, now you’re up to bat/Chewing your big league, adjusting your hat/Taking a swing and hearing it crack/Look at that apple fly.’

Track 3 “Hundreds Of Ways” sounds plucked from the globetrotting recipe book of Vampire Weekend. The guitar tones and drums are right out of Paul Simon’s Graceland. Also, the Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit are employed on backing vocals to great effect throughout the record, including this song. (They’re on tracks 1, 3, 8, 9, 11)

Track 8 “Kick” borrows its guitar sound from George Harrison’s solo material and risks turning Oberst’s lyrics into that of a dime store philosopher. It truly is a fine line.

Recommended: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10

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