In years to come, if anyone asks what life was like in the first decade of the 21st century, a few listens through of 'I'm Wide Awake It's Morning' might not be a bad place to start. Conor 'Bright Eyes' Oberst's 2005 journal opens up with a converation between helpless passengers on a doomed plane heading straight for the ocean (At the Bottom of Everything) and closes 10 songs later, emboldened and ready to take on a new dawn (Road To Joy). In between he opens himself up and his gives his take on various relationships; Relationships with girls, starting them, ending them, starting them again. Relationships with his family and above all his relationship to a Bush-era world at war with itself.
Essentially a man-and-his-guitar folk album and not unlike legendary predecessors Neil Young and Bob Dylan, his unique vocal style (like he is gargling mouthwash) has potential to grate after a while. But it is the intelligence and intimacy of his words that sparkle - and saw him sell enough copies to top the American album charts, striking enough chords with millions of others who share these feelings of isolation, loneliness and confusion at the top of the new millenium.