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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • ASIN: B000N60HCW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,717 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)
2. Four Winds
3. If The Brakeman Turns My Way
4. Hot Knives
5. Make A Plan To Love Me
6. Soul Singer In A Session Band
7. Classic Cars
8. Middleman
9. Cleanse Song
10. No One Would Riot For Less
11. Coat Check Dream Song
12. I Must Belong Somewhere
13. Lime Tree

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Once tagged "rock's boy genius" by the music press, Conor Oberst turns 27 on February 15th and even without that in mind it's hard to listen to Cassadaga without hearing a newfound sophistication to the Bright Eyes sound. Producer, multi-instrumentalist and permanent band member Mike Mogis has crafted a swirling, euphonious record, at times bursting with bombastic confidence and country swagger, and at others loose-limbed and mesmeric. Trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, a Bright Eyes player since 2003 and now the third permanent member, is responsible for the cinematic string arrangements. Other than a handful of live appearances and the release of a collection of B-sides & rarities, Bright Eyes kept mostly out of sight in 2006 after the busy 2005 which saw the simultaneous release of the sister albums Digital Ash In A Digital Urn and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Should you have looked for them you'd have found them tucked away in various studios around the country. Recording for the first time outside of the Lincoln, NE studio belonging to Mogis, the Bright Eyes cast of players were busy in studios in Portland, OR, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. The result is the band's most confident work so far, an album so full of soaring strings and female harmonies that it feels almost buoyant in comparison to previous releases. While many latched onto the smattering of political commentary in 2005's I'm Wide Awake..., Cassadaga is less blunt in its depiction of youthful exasperation in the Bush era. References to Hurricane Katrina, holy wars and polar ice-caps may crop up, but they're buried deep amongst the ruminations on life, love, history, death and the afterlife. If I'm Wide Awake... was "the New York City album", then Cassadaga is "the America album", in which Oberst diaries his travels around the country and articulates his sense of history in the landscape. In first single "Four Winds" he is "off to old Dakota where genocide sleeps/in the Black Hills, the Badlands, the calloused East/I buried my ballast, I made my peace." Cassadaga itself crops up in the same song. The town, a community for psychics in central Florida, is visited in order to "commune with the dead". This wandering spirit is crystalized in "I Must Belong Somewhere" a song which was already a staple of live shows by the end of the 2005. "Hot Knives" is particularly spirited, bringing to mind the true energy of a Bright Eyes show. Likewise, "Soul Singer In A Session Band" - a rousing paean to an oxymoronic profession - enlists all of the elements which make the Bright Eyes live band such a euphoric experience. "Make A Plan To Plan To Love Me" is Bright Eyes at their most playful; a straight-up love song, replete with girl group vocals and Burt Bacharach strings. Oberst, the fumbling guitarist whose impassioned prose tumbles out under stark stage spotlights, is still recognizable in every track, but the songs are rich with elaborate production, cinema-sized orchestration and, at times, sprawling, almost psychedelic, atmospherics. The line up of Bright Eyes players includes Andy Lemaster (Now It's Overhead), Ben Kweller, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Janet Weiss (ex-Sleater Kinney), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley), John McEntire (Tortoise) M.Ward, Maria Taylor and Rachael Yamagata.

On their sixth and most straightforwardly clean album, Nebraska's Bright Eyes once again integrate a revolving cast of players to the mix, including Portland tunesmith M. Ward and alt-country queen Gillian Welch. But the band remains at the helm of forever-wunderkind Conor Oberst, and the fruitful songwriter has one-upped 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning with a proficient and accessible ensemble of expansive pop orchestrations and ornate folk songs that chronicle his traverses across the American panorama. Oberst's voice quakes and wanders through South Dakota lore and Sunshine State chicanery, always the perfect vehicle for his threadbare lyrics. "Take the fruit from the tree/Break the skin with your teeth/Is it bitter or sweet/All depends on your timing," he forewarns in "Cleanse Song," a psychedelic merry-go-round of a soundtrack that joins the Scottish-tinged "Soul Singer in a Session Band" and singalong single "Four Winds" as Cassadaga's finest. The 13-song-record is certain to open more doors for a band whose recognition has soared with every release since Oberst was just 14. --Scott Holter

Customer Reviews

Definantly worth your time and money!
Joanette Robertson
That message is a slightly different form of music from anything anyone else is doing.
I think this album is really good, no it's rather outstanding.
Olah Imre Peter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By amerdale876 on April 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Although the past month-and-a-half has been full of decent music releases, I still find myself extremely cautious when it comes to purchasing a new CD - especially when it's a musician/band that I've never heard before. Even those that seem popular (Fall Out Boy's Infinity on High), or those you think you would like (Grindhouse: Planet Terror/Death Proof soundtracks) can be very disappointing. So, I often try to discover new music and do a lot of searching for musicians who I haven't heard before. From my latest search, I heard about Nebraska's own Conor Oberst and his band Bright Eyes, and their new release, Cassadaga. Regardless that this album had received mostly good reviews, I remained objectively cautious and did as much researching as possible before I decided to give them a try.

I had read all the comparisons of Oberst to Bob Dylan and comments on how inventive Oberst is with his music and lyrics. So, with that, I decided to lay down the $10 and pop Cassadaga into my CD player. Before even listening, one can't help but notice the alubm cover which there's more to than you think. Inside the sleeve there's a "spectral decoder" (like something you might find in a Cracker Jack box) which is already laid over a part of the sleeve where you can read "These myths are sacred and profane!" Interesting. I took out the decoder and moved it around the entire album cover and inside sleeves, seeing pictures and various odd quotes which I thought was a really cool concept and wondered why no other artist's had done this before.

The first track, "Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)" starts off with a weird voiceover/recording of a woman prattling on about traveling to Cassadaga, Florida, played over music one might hear in a horror movie.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DELETED on April 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Alright, so Conor Oberst is 27 years old now. Will I stop calling him a kid then? Probably not. I don't mean to slight him in any way. I mean, the kid's (see) amazing. Did you have your own record label when you were 14? No, I didn't think so.

I've been listening to the "Four Winds" cd single everyday since it came out. Just biding my time until the new Bright Eyes album "CASSADAGA" fell into my hands yesterday. I've been foaming at the mouth for it.

Anyway, my thoughts about "Cassadaga"? Historically there are 3 "types" of Bright Eyes songs.

1)Songs of immediacy that hit you right away with hooks, melodies, lyrics and a charm that's undeniable.

2)Songs of enduring power with gifts that only reveal themselves after the listener has "endured" several listens (these are the best ones).

3)Songs of head-scratching befuddlement that you may never appreciate no matter how many times you try to find something redeeming about it. There's one of these on every Bright Eyes album and it always cracks me up to see everyone reach for the skip button at the same time. It's usually the first song wherein Conor tries to set the mood by irritating the hell out of you.

"Cassadaga" of course has all three types of songs on them. I expect a lot of ink to be expended suggesting that a more mature Conor has emerged here. Rubbish! The kid was writing pretty grown-up stuff when he was 16. Besides men don't mature. At best they just get more adept at hiding the failure of their development.

I guess the most mature thing about "Cassadaga" is that Conor has become masterful in applying his encyclopedic knowledge of roots, country, & blues to his own unique vision.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Vlutters on December 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
After experiencing his own `dark night of the soul' Conor Oberst went through a period of introspection and transition. Cassadaga is a result of this process, and the album clearly has a spiritual dimension.
It opens with the voice of a clairvoyant advising the inquirer to spend some time in Cassadaga, a small town in Florida, inhabited by an unusual high percentage of psychics. This opening has been characterized by many as New Age nonsense, but is in fact essential, as it opens a window on the album's landscape: "Casadaga may be just a premonition of a place that you're going to visit..." Oberst uses the name as a metaphor for a process of growing awareness. Key words are: journey, transformation, change, new era. He explores this mystic world with healthy scepticism, but also with empathy and sincere interest. One must separate the wheat from the chaff, but at the same time be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water! Cassadaga is full of references to spiritual matters. You can look upon the album as it being merely a collection of beautiful popsongs, but in a broader perspective they form a unity and a concept, and they can be seen as reflections of a process of liberation and self-realization.

Our world is a grim place: "It's kill or be killed!" Conor Oberst paints a world of shallow erntertainment and blind fundamentalism, a world full of `Peter Pan's. Many sell their souls (Soul Singer), sacrifice love to greed (Make a Plan to Love Me), or choose an existence of grey mediocrity (Middleman). Classic Cars tells of lost love, and Coat Check Dream Song shows the twisted mind of the terrorist. The skyscrapers on Manhattan, the financial heart and soul of western civilisation, are `the new pyramids', symbols of an Empire which ended on 9/11 (Cleanse Song).
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Topic From this Discussion
bright eyes
I, for one, take him seriously, but I can't explain 'how' I do this. Oberst has been, for me, one of the consistently fascinating songwriters of the past ten years. I have 1300 albums ranging from old Leadbelly and Jimmie Rodgers up to the present time, so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm... Read More
Mar 21, 2007 by The Last Person You'd Expect |  See all 16 posts
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