Bright Eyes Lifted or The Story is in the Soil Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Word on the street is that Conor Oberst is the "new Dylan." While that may take a few years to confirm, Oberst's Bright Eyes has released its fourth album and, as always, there is some fantastic wordplay at hand. As with 2000's Fevers and Mirrors, to truly understand Lifted... you really need a shrink at your side to gain even half a clue of what Oberst is thinking (just check the album's title). He embraces the ability to include every little distraction during a recording, whether it's a rude interruption or a conversation in the middle of a song. "False Advertising" is a planned mess; with some wonderfully accentuated strings, the beautiful ballad is interrupted by an anonymous girl, covered in record scratches and overshadowed at the end by a cheering crowd that gets the door slammed on them. It's all well thought out and humorous, at times, but it's his words that sell the records. He hits the mark on "Lover I Don't Have to Love" and "Let's Not Shit Ourselves (to Love and to Be Loved)," stating, "Bad actors with bad habits/Some sad singers they just play tragic," and "Ambition, I've found, can lead only to failure/I do not read the reviews/No, I am not singing for you." He knows just what to say to all of the sceptics out there. His music does not sound like Dylan, but the thing that makes Oberst so special is what made Dylan a legend: the fact that there truly is nobody like him. (Saddle Creek)