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Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

232 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 13, 2002
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Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground + I'M WIDE AWAKE, IT'S MORNING [Vinyl] + DIGITAL ASH IN A DIGITAL URN [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Nebraskan wunderkind Conor Oberst writes songs so naked and heartfelt they make you feel like a voyeur just listening to them. This precocious singer-songwriter croons with the astonished intensity of a homeless Robert Smith singing for his supper. And his band's fourth album is every bit as lyrical, sprawling, and pretentious as its title. The production is notably brighter and crisper than previous efforts, with some songs, notably "Nothing Gets Crossed Out," lushly swathed in sweet-sounding strings. When Lifted is great, as on the slow-churning anthem "From a Balance Beam," it's superb, visionary pop music, on par with Jeff Mangum, Phil Elvrum, and Daniel Johnston--and on occasion, Dylan. Unfortunately, half the songs sprawl on too long or revisit the same themes too frequently. Still, anyone who can operate a fast-forward button will find much to enjoy on this vital, messy masterpiece. --Mike McGonigal

1. The Big Picture
2. Method Acting
3. False Advertising
4. You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will
5. Lover I Don't Have to Love
6. Bowl of Oranges
7. Don't Know When But a Day is Gonna Come
8. Nothing Gets Crossed Out
9. Make War
10. Waste of Paint
11. From a Balance Beam
12. Laura Laurent
13. Let's Not Shit Ourselves (to Love and Be Loved)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 13, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • ASIN: B00006FRN7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,086 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. Braxton Wittenburg on November 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Upon reading many of the reviews of "Lifted," I felt obligated to scribble a review of my own. Disenchantment of this record appears to be widespread. Many resort to personal attacks, while others' attempts at actual criticism falls short of substandard. Now, I'll step off my soapbox and allow Oberst to step up.

Most complaints about Oberst arise from his quavering vocals and self-indulgent writing style. I'll be the first to admit that this sort of music is an acquired taste. The first time I listened to Oberst would also be the last time I listened to him for over a year. I was sitting in my room with a group of people, and one of my friends put on Fevers and Mirrors. One caveat, you can never appreciate Bright Eyes in a crowd. This is a very solitary listening experience. But, back to the vocals and style...

From a subjective standpoint, most are put off by his general intensity. They'll term this intensity, "pretension." Yet, I must say, it's because people aren't quite sure what to make of the subject matter. His "pretension" is in actuality an attempt at pure and unadulterated writing. In trying to compare Oberst to other musicians, it's a feat short of impossible, as Oberst isn't comparable to other musicians. He's comparable only to other writers. That, I argue, is why people dislike him.

Yes, listening to Bright Eyes is a sometimes an arduous task. However, from a psychological standpoint, his lyrics operate on the reward system. Dopamine and Serotonin are the chemicals in your brain responsible for happiness and your sense of well-being. As you come to understand the lyrics, you are rewarded for putting forth a cognitive effort and therefore feel a sense of accomplishment for your hard work.

Oberst's vocals couldn't be refined.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ernie the Hem on July 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Conor Oberst is a poet. That's all there is to it. I'd say 90% of this album is the lyrics. The emotions that Conor manages to caupture so well in a song, the way you can hear them in his voice really make this album.

I had to write a review on this just because everyone was so harsh on their reviews, and I strongly disagree. But I think what the problem really is, they didn't really know what they were listening to. So, let me tell you what this album is NOT:

-Dashboard Confessional, & the like - You get real insight on Lifted..., not pusedo-intellectual, cheesy crap. Unlike Carraba, Oberst writes as an artform rather than to get girls.

-Pantera, etc. - If you're looking for amazing guitar solos or lyrics that can lift your great, great grandma from her grave, then you've also got the wrong album. Oberst writes music with a usually mellow beat, once again focusing on the content rather than the mosh-ability.

-Blink 182, etc. - This CD isn't going to make you jump up and down or rhyme every other line. Sorry.

If any of those is what you were looking for in this album, then I can understand you disappointment. This album is different than anything you've ever heard. (Not that people haven't tried, and failed, to replicate it) This is for fans of poetry, art, and who don't mind an album that does not have more than 300 beats per minute. Put the caffeine down, people, listen to the lyrics and feel the emotions in this album. Hell, preview the free tracks before you buy it. Disappointment will not follow.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Risser on November 1, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I may not be the most qualified person to praise the new Bright Eyes album- it is the only one I own, after all. Lifted is amazing, at any rate. You might think that his emotionally overwhelemed voice would become old quick, but it really doesn't- especially when he's backed by a massive orchestra and some incredible songs. Perhaps that's the best thing about the album- its perfect balance. If you just want to hear Connor singing while he strums his guitar, listen to Waste of Paint, or You Will. If you want a big symphonic anthem, there's False Advertising or Method Acting. And if you want to hear one of his most radio-ready tracks yet, there's the stunning Lover I Don't Have to Love. There's even a few great country tracks thrown in!
I've heard people dismiss Bright Eyes as "too emo." I suppose this could describe some of his songs, but there is a lot more to Connor's music. Though he sings about pain and sadness, there's also a lot of hope and empathy for others. And even if Waste of Paint makes me cry every time I hear it, what's wrong with that??
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By alexliamw on September 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I don't subscribe to any of these half-measures when talking about this album. It is not "half-brilliant", not "a few good tracks", not "inconsistent" or "a flawed masterpiece" this is a beauteous epic of near-perfect proportions. The arrangements are expansive yet focused, the voice is fragile and quivers in the air in the tradition of all those not-conventionally-excellent-but-oh-so-passionate voices in music, and the lyrics...the lyrics are unmatched by any modern writer on the planet. Conor Oberst has a may of putting thing that simply expresses everything you ever wanted to say. He's so eloquent, his imagery is so vivid, his observations so mature of thoughtful...these lyrics are those of a true poet. He has so much to say that scarcely a single line is repeated on the album.
"The Big Picture" opens the album. Many have criticised this song, with its demo-y feel and lack of direction or focused tune, but it is raw emotion from Oberst, a stream-of-consciousness that has to be understood. Its not perfect but its not meant to be. "Method Acting" is a much more coherant opener of what is the main album, and its an excellent introduction to the more usual Bright Eyes sound. With typically weary-but-hopeful lyrics, chiming guitars worthy of Johnny Marr and effective backing-vocal arrangements, its a really excellent piece. "False Advertising" follows - a grand ballad with a waltz-time rhythm and a lush string-filled orchestration.
"You Will" is a folksy number in the vein of numerous classic singer-songwriters, but updated. The numerous comparisons to Dylan for Oberst are somewhat unfounded in terms of actual style or voice but there's something that unites them in spirit perhaps.
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Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
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