Track: Lover I Don't Have to Love
Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
In light of the recent announcement that Conor Oberst would record one more Bright Eyes album, then retire the name, I figured it would be appropriate to sort of discuss the genius that is/was Bright Eyes is some way. Regardless of my recent issues with him, Oberst did a lot of great things in the late part of the 1990s, up until last year. Most notably, my favorite albums of his, Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground; I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning; and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, all manage to strike a chord seemingly untouched before or after. They're interesting pieces of art, each unique and innovative, producing much higher quality work than many of the indie hipster variety will ever give credit. Still, I'll always enjoy those records, and his other work as Bright Eyes, for the entertaining and creative moments which seemingly came so often.
On the surface, the music video for "Lover I Don't Have to Love" isn't interesting, astounding or even high-minded. It's just simple. However, one can, and should appreciate the thought behind such an effort as this one. The karaoke word format, and silly "relaxing" backgrounds are a testament to the artist. Recording under Bright Eyes, there was a certain edge to Oberst's songwriting that has disappeared a bit by this point. He was young, vulnerable and at times, tragic, and it showed in his work (very positively). His statement here, to me, shows either a disdain for his own song/ideas, a blatant mockery of the track's fans or simply a calculated snub towards music video culture. Regardless, it's a brilliant and entertaining spectacle that can only be appreciated when executed by a short list of artists. Check it out below.