Wednesday, March 04, 2009

We may be donkeys, but at least we have a tale to tell

There was a time in my life (2002 to be precise) when I listened to a lot of Bright Eyes. I had heard about Conor's work around the time of the Every Day and Every Night EP, and my friend Nick claims to have played something from it for me on a late-night trip back from Austin. The hour was late and I was just trying to stay awake, so my memory is very hazy. Plus, I don't think that qualifies as the best kind of situation to be properly introduced to potentially life-changing artist. (Then again, years later, Nick played Tom Waits's Small Change late one night in his loft in Chicago, and my life was changed.)

Anyway, summer of 2002, Bright Eyes' Lifted came out and it was my favorite record of the year. The lyrics, the musical presentation, and Conor's singing all clicked perfectly with me and where my life was at the time. Now (and this has been the case for the last couple of years) I find myself not listening to Bright Eyes for the same reasons.

With Lifted now, I hear an early twenty-something trying to find his way with lushly layered folk songs. The deal is, the singing and the lyrics just don't click with me as an early thirty-something. I'm not saying I've outgrown angst or anything; I just don't have the appetite to frequently listen to Conor's songs anymore. What I do find myself still listening to (also from the Saddle Creek stable) is Cursive.

I admit my guilt in passing on Cursive's Domestica and Burst and Bloom based on my first impression. The Fugazi influence was too obvious to my ears, and not for the best in judging Cursive as Cursive. A while later I gave the two releases another chance and really got into the band. Once The Ugly Organ came out, the deal had been sealed. Happy Hollow continued my enjoyment of the band, and it continues with their latest, Mama, I'm Swollen.

So I wonder why I'm liking Cursive way more now, liking Bright Eyes way less, when seven years ago, it was opposite situation. Maybe it's the situation in my life, and how I look at life in general. Who knows. All I can say is, life has its way of reversing things, and it's not always for the bad.

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