The Ballad of Conor Oberst

My old girlfriend from Boston Pagan Kennedy wrote a piece for the New York Times, The Ballad of Conor Oberst (free reg required) about this scraggly 22-year-old musical / lyrical prodigy, pure, honest poet gone political, writing from “the Omaha of the mind” and now I very much want to hear this music.

“… if any generation ever needed a new Bob Dylan, this is the one.”

Music: Steve Hillage :: Leylines to Glassdom

61 Replies to “The Ballad of Conor Oberst”

  1. bright eyes is certainly worth listening to, and i hear his latest album is quite a bit less annoying than his previous whiney escapades, but i prefer his other band, the desaparacidoos, simply because they rock more. and the rocking covers up the extreme warbly-ness of his pipes.

  2. There is really no middle ground with the music of Conor Oberst. Either you love it and can appreciate what he is saying or it’s not for you.

  3. Conor is a genius. there is no song more beautifull than “Perfect Sonnet”. his music means so much on every level, and i would be surprised if he didnt make his listeners break down and cry at least once.

  4. Conor is the greatest thing imagineable. Hes so pure..and makes me so emotional I cry. I love him so…

  5. I like his older stuff better. I like most of his stuff, though. He says a lot of things in his songs that everyone I know just ignores and doesn’t get but that mean the world to me. He puts things into words, into song that I’ve only felt on intangible levels. If you’re a perfect person you won’t like anything about Conor, probably, but if you’re perfect I feel very bad for you.

  6. conor is absofuckinglutly brilliant! go but his new album now-ish!! haha. then get fevers and mirrors. yeah. fevers and mirrors is his best, or atleast thats what i chose to believe. i heart bright eyes! and you should too!

  7. Conor Oberst is a genius. His songs are so gorgeous and I listen to them and I just feel like I’m anywhere but in my life. I love the music and the words.

  8. conor is the greatest musical genius, his liricks are one of the most talented i have ever herd. bright eyes and their side project “desaparecidos” is the most triumphant music ever.

  9. Conor is an amazing guy, to say the least. He is so pure, the way he can express his emotions into a song so beautifully. Hes so mysterious as well and I just want to get to know him better, all his thoughts and feelings :| That might sound weird but it’s just so intriguing.

  10. I just got “Lifted”, I found it in the most unexpected place and was soooo excited. It is such a briliant album. The songs makes me emotional, and they express what I feel, so I can definitely identify with them. They are mezmerising!
    I really want to get to know Conor too. I hope to have an aportunity to be in one of his gigs. Too bad he’s not coming soon to Europe and Israel…
    Conor, thanks!! :-)

  11. I recently saw Bright Eyes on April 9th and 10th In LA and I would have to say those were two of the best nights of my life. Conor is amazing in every way, just draws you in…wow. He played a couple new songs, unreleased, some off Fevers and Mirrors (Haligh, Calendar Hung itself, Song to pass the time just to name a few…) Some off Lifted as well. After the show, left me with a feeling undescribable,standing w/ in arms reach of him at one point! Many memorable moments of those nights- When someone from the audience yelled to never stop playing, and he looked up and replied, “I won’t” gave such a comfort, that he will always be around to make music to enrich our minds and emotions

  12. Quote”He puts things into words, into song that I’ve only felt on intangible levels.”-spencer
    Then Tracy says about seeing Conor live OH MY…..there are absolutely no exact words to describe the essence of being there….I went to see Bright Eyes on tour in Detroit @ St.Andrews Hall. It’s rather small and it’s like I can reach out and he was so out of it yet there…and peacefully drunk….. he could just fall into our arms and still sing the night away and wisk away forever…..and it would be ok!It was awesome…..anyone who has any ounce of a soul in them should enjoy the wisdom conor puts into this world and how he puts feelings everyone has been trying to tell each other finally out in the open.

  13. Conor Oberst is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me musically. I have every CD that he’s ever put out or appeared on, or at least the ones I could find. If everyone could hear his music the way I do then they would all know what I’m talking about. His emotions are felt in all his songs and they transfer into me. His way of presenting his songs and the lyrics that come with them pull you inside and make everything else fake. Conor is a pure music god and all I really have to say is I can’t wait for his next 10 releases. Thanks alot Conor

  14. conor oberst is a spiritual poet, everything he says in his songs I feel like I can relate to. Bright eyes is the most beautiful thing that has ever came to my ears, it’s really emotional and true, and every time I go to listen to it I mostly cant help but crying. Im beggining to realize what more things are about, but happiness always turns to saddness at one point or another. I suggest to anyone who is looking for something real, to take a listen to bright eyes. conor…. I love him in ways that are strange…

  15. I love Conor. He is the best song-writer i have ever heard. Almost anyone can relate to what he says in his songs, it is what everyone has been trying to say but can not describe.

  16. I love Conor! He is such a genius and his song-writing ability is so amazing! (And yes, I have started to cry after listening to his songs). Lifted and Fevers and Mirrors are the best CDs ever.

  17. now it´s been five months since I´ve become addicted to the music of bright eyes. the amazing voice of conor has seem to crawl inside my lungs, in my guts and even in my hearts´last and poorest chamber. so although it`s razor sadness cuts me to the bone I always fear the moment it leaves me…

  18. yes, conor is God. vote him into presidency this coming term. he’s a shoe-in next to Bush…
    and yep he’s amazing live. hope he comes back to the mass/maine area again sometime.

  19. i’m not obsessed with conor (give the guy a break, he’s just a regular dude with a not-so-regular ability to make music!); but i can, and have reached orgasms during his music. i can even time them to a degree (song climax, my climax…). maybe it’s his voice, and what i imagine him sounding like during a romping good sex session, or just even the music itself? whatever it is, it does something inside of me and i just have to start erm…loving myself.
    does anyone else do this or am i special?

    (yikes!i did not want to reveal my info, but alas!)

  20. i don’t think anyone who truly understands music could doubt conor’s gift. his lyrics touch the hearts of so many people on so many differents levels. also, the way he can throw together a variety of instruments in one song is amazing.
    but don’t you think its sad the way he almost exploits his depression? his songs make me feel like he knows he will never be truly happy again.

  21. conor oberst is the most attractive man on the planet, and im not just talking about his physical appearance, but his brain. i cant believe someone could be created as brilliant as him. his lyrics touch my heart and soul. well, hahaha

  22. i am so happy there are so many people out there who connect with this amazing, life-changing music. conor is truly the first musician to touch me the way every song has and i crave his music every second i am not listening to it. the last concert (in seattle) was undoubtedly the best concert experience in my life. by mixing lush lyrics, painful honesty, and wonder, the songs never dull- no matter how often they are repeated. much love to a beautiful musician.

  23. Conor Oberst is a genius..he is the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen in my life. His lyrics are so brilliant. He puts feelings into words, something I could never do.

  24. well, i have just recently started to listen to bright eyes and the time i have spent listening to conor’s music is honestly the best time of my life. his lyrics have touched me and i dont think that i will ever be able to listen to any other music again. Nothing will compare. conor is absolutely amazing. even amazing is not enough to descibe him. he is orgasmic.

  25. why try explaining his brilliance? i envy such talent. conor has gotten so very far and the recognition he’s recieved has only pushed him farther. it’s admirable.

  26. conor is so unbelievably talented, it doesnt even seem real. he doesnt belong here..

  27. I, just like the rest of you, think Conor Oberst is a lyrical genius. He is obviously wonderful, but it struck me what Tracy said on May 3rd, that he will continue to make music for a long time… If you believe that, you’re an idiot. Look at him. Listen to his songs. That kind of brilliance can’t exist forever, moreover he is already well on his way to utter self destruction. Notice the alcoholism. I think he’ll be dead before he’s thirty. But that’s just me.

  28. He may be the best thing that has happened to this generation but many teenagers don’t grasp his importance.
    He’s a God in himself. He can relate with his depression and his heart sick feelings.

  29. seriously… there are no words to describe how wonderful conor really is. I mean… i dont know him, and im still absolutely in love with him. I hope, he lasts past thirty… and I’ve heard that he’s had some half hearted concerts in the recent past.. that his heart just doesn’t seem in it anymore. I truly hope that isn’t so… I could live off of these songs forever, but to know that someone like his has gone to waste… its just…

  30. mister conor oberst is amazing. he has had some concerts where he seems not into anymore and i am not surprised. i wouldn’t be into what he does…people ruin the things. like at the teen concert in chicago everyone was making out seriously i was standing in the back murming the words to myself as conor whispered into the mic. why must they make out? i don’t understand teens today and then in the 21 and over show i heard people just talk above his showing and scream things like i love you conor. some girls come with posters saying that as well. you don’t love him you don’t know him. i am sick of this bullshit. i mean conor puts himself into his lyrics but you still don’t really know him. last time i checked you had to know someone to at least love them? maybe i was wrong. i hope he continues to live his music the way he does…and that when it’s time for him to stop he stops.

  31. hes just so brilliant and hot…his music reaches everyone if you just listen and let the music flow and go with it not against it….

  32. the music of bright eyes is the most beautifully macabre thing that i have ever been privilleged to hear. i love to get lost in all the sharp emotional pain that is portraied. it makes me want to love conor the way he loved arianett (if that makes any sense). i cant wait to go to a live show to drink in the music with all my senses. i truly love it…

  33. some girls say they love conor because he does put himself into his music and as you listen you begin to feel as if you know him as a person, because he is telling you things in his songs and when you hear it all you can do is think wow! this guy is amazing. he is the most incredible song writer ive ever heard and his lyrics help me through so much!

  34. hes a genius and i love him he is fascinating and id love just to talk to him for 5 minutes

  35. bright eyes is simply lovely. i have all of their cds, and deparecidos is amazing too. conor is also in park avenue and commander venus. those were the days when he was still a teen, but the music is still great. check out bright eyes and those other bands for sure. i mean, everything off a the saddle creek label is great to me. enjoy!

  36. Conor Oberst is..I don’t even know how to put it into words. His songs are so much deeper than normal songs, and they are so full of emotion. He’s so brilliant. He’s also very attractive but his songs are so good that some of them, the first time I hear them, I cry.

  37. mm. conor oberst. sexy. lol. err…i mean, uh…lol he’s a genious. he IS…one of those people you’d love to get to talk to. oof. the fact he plays PIANO…god, well, that just makes me love him more, haha. you can’t not love a guy who’s like that.

  38. I live in Australia. Australians don’t like singers who whinge. They like singers who howl or singers with great arses. I don’t think Conor has either of those qualities, but I like it any way. His stuff is hard to get here, but I like that new record. It inspired me to write a play. The play won I prize. With the prize money I bought booze , fell down and hurt my head on a coffee table. Thanks for the stitches, Conor.

  39. I like Bright Eyes. If Oberst keeps it up for another decade, he might even learn to trim his massive adolescent bloviation and be as good a songwriter as John Darnielle or Stephin Merritt. He certainly has the raw talent to do it. But you’re either fooling yourself or are legally unable to drink if you think he’s there yet.

  40. I saw Conor live at the Blue Barn Theatre in Omaha roughly ten years ago. As a fellow musician I was so touched, and impressed by, his lyrical style that I bought his tape. I still have and enjoy that tape to this day! Without even realizing that Conor was now a star I was pleasantly surprised to see him in Spin mag for July 2003!! My congratulations to Conor! I hope that you are still the cool guy that I met back then!!

  41. These ties to Conor emotionally, i think are mutual to any listener in tune with the humanity of themselves and life. I was introduced to Conor’s art about two years ago from a friends mixed tape. This resulted in the indulgences of his music up to this day. However, not as similar to the other fans out there, a dear close friend of mine who also felt as deeply if not more than I about his music, was in a car accident and consider dead if not braindead for the rest of her life. I visited with her daily and brought all the cds and pieces of conor and his bright eyes along. we sat listening to one of the solid threads that bound us, his music, and somehow i felt better. Amazingly she is slowly gaining back abilities but still far away. only a few days ago ,listening as usual, she actually SMILED when one of her old favorite songs came on then reached round to embrace me. i know this sounds like oprah or some sappy “miracle” letter but all i really want to say is Thanks Conor for being stronge enough to share that part of you that i lost in my friend Tara . i am truely comforted.

  42. conor oberst is an amazing songwriter/poet.his lyrics are raw and honest.his new album “lifted” is great…as well as his side band desaparecidos.

  43. This guy…is the biggest pussy I’ve ever seen/heard in my life. His lyrics are 10th grade poetry, his voice…terrible; and just LOOK AT HIM. I want to beat his face in with a sledgehammer every time I see a picture of him…it pisses me off THAT much. Well, pussies, have fun crying/drinking/taking valium to his songs, ya depresso-emo fucks.

  44. It is amazing for me to see the way Conor has influenced the way i want to make music.A description of his lyrics cant be put into words. A true prodigy of our time. One of my best friends is a hardcore heavy metallist who feeds of the emotion in the music. When i showed him bright eyes he said that all the stuff he used to listen too such as From Autumn To Ashes and Poison The Well are no longer able to influence him in the way they used too. The emotion and artistic integrity conor brings to his music are second to none.

  45. Only a few know the words.
    And much less do use them.

    But how many there are who understand.

  46. what he rights proves he’s a genius
    and no other singer apart from exceptions ever write about both appalling and/or stupefying issues in life…. padriac my prince makes me cry

  47. Conor is brilliant,his lyrics are the best,they’re so meaningful…all his songs are so beautiful..

  48. I agree completely with every positive thing said here, so I suppose this post is somewhat redundant.
    But what makes Conor’s songs so wonderful to me is not that I identify so much with them, because I don’t, but that I understand. His songwriting makes me feel so deeply about things I don’t necessarily identify with. Listening to his songs through a stereo gives me the feeling that I get from a great concert, and no one else can do that so easily. I have never had the chance to see him live, but I hope to God I do someday.
    I’m musically hopeless, but he makes me wish I were talented.

  49. I actually got into Desaparecidos first, for his political messages and harder sound drew me in. But Bright Eyes is now one of my favorite bands, capturing the true essence of pure emotion. His lyrics are brilliant, though this goes without saying. I feel like Conor speaks through me when he sings. For this profound emotion that he strikes within me and himself with each song, whether it be desaparecidos or bright eyes, I have never been more attracted to someone.

  50. Bright eyes is the most Amazing band.. And Conor Oberst is by far the most beautiful human being I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

  51. Okey doke. When I posted the “Ballad of Conor Oberst” entry in this blog, it was to point people to an article on him written by an old friend of mine. Almost a year later, the comments on this entry have become a long string of “me too” posts that don’t really add much to the dialog. In the meantime, I bought a couple of Bright Eyes albums, listened to them carefully, and ended up returning them to the store. They’re not bad. I don’t dislike them. But they sure don’t measure up to the lavish praise being lathered on in this thread. Oberst is good. Really good. But he’s no Nick Drake, no Tim Buckley, no Dylan. Just a fairly gifted emo-core artist approx in the vein of Belle and Sebastian. I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but if you guys persist with the me-too posts, I’m going to shut down the thread (posts that add to the dialog are of course welcome).

  52. I have to give this guy credit. He makes/plays actual music (not a bunch of swearing to a fake electronic beat), he has a major considerable fanbase, and seems to have a worthy message to his style. I can’t say all that about alot of fellow musicians.

    Taking a more technical outlook to things, I’ve noticed that at least 90% of any statistics/postage I’ve looked up on Conor is, by majority, females. Im not saying there’s a problem with this, Im just saying that it’s possible that Conor’s particular shtick appeals to less of a broader audience than some give him credit for. Genius? Perhaps. Noteworthy? Absolutely.

  53. i will be seeing the infamous mr oberst in austin on september 20… it is all i talk about… i know the experience will be truly orgasmic.. conor is a musical god.. i never get sick of listening to bright eyes.. it brings me to another dimension.. the music is surreal… no other artist is like him…

  54. OK folks, this is not a Conor O’Berst fan site, and this is getting ridiculous. The gushing, effusive comments here are WAY out of proportion to his talent (seriously, if you think Conor is that great, you need to listen to more music from a few decades ago), and it’s starting to feel a bit too much like high school around here.

    I’m closing down the comments, sorry.

  55. Oh give it a rest. Conor makes some catchy music, with the help of his band. His lyrics are pretty cool. I’ve got a couple of favorite songs… this is where my tribute ends. He’s not some god. He’s a human being. He eats, shits, and dies like the rest of us. He’s handsom, yeah. He’s alright at guitar, yeah. He’s got an unorthodox and intriguing voice. Yeah. Well, look at Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse, look at Robert Smith from the Cure, look at Jeff Tweedy from Wilco. I don’t see any of them getting the praise this Oberst fella is getting.

  56. Why is it okay to idolize?!


    The music is touching, but everyone should have their own lives, and not try live through someone else or someone else’s music.

    And if you think this is the end-all of great new music, discover some other good bands that are out there. Like The Arcade Fire.

  57. conor oberst is a fuckin legend! he is the best person is music these days and he is the best that there will every be.. i loooove him

  58. Once again, this thread has become boring. Conor is moderately interesting, certainly not worthy of anyone’s worship (Geez, listen to some Nick Drake, peeps). Closing this thread down again. Sorry…

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