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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
59
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on December 18, 2015
Conor Oberst is one of the greatest lyricists of our time. I would actually put him with the likes of Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen. This album is no exception. His songs still have the poetic, conversational, storytelling quality that they have had all along, but with some added maturity. He paints beautiful, sometimes tragic pictures with his words, and leaves out some of the "whinyness" and ranting that have earned him some criticism in the past.

Aside from the lyrics, the tone of this album overall is relaxed and reflective; In fact, my wife and I have been enjoying listening to Upside Down Mountain as we drift off to sleep.

The backing vocals here are provided by an inspiring and beautiful duo of swedish sisters who go by the title, "First Aid Kit". Over the last few years the girls have built a working relationship with the Bright Eyes band, and they have helped each other record their albums and play live. First Aid Kit themselves are talented young songwriters, whose music and lyrics seem personal and meaningful.

Despite being a long time fan of Bright Eyes, I have never thought of Conor Oberst as being a particularly gifted guitarist, but more so an extremely gifted artist. I'd like to note that there are actually a few fairly technical sounding guitar parts on here. Perhaps not everywhere, but just some nice, subtle complications that help make the album flow and shine. I observe that as he gets older, Conor continues to perfect his craft.

There are a couple of sonic surprises on this album, such as "Kick", which comes in hard with distortion and synth, but these surprises tend to musically resolve themselves in a way that blends them in with the song.

Many subtle nuances such as bells, sparse percussion, piano, sax, backup vocals, etc, make the songs on Upside Down Mountain more interesting than most albums of today. The album is definitely more produced, as might be expected of a newer album. Sampled keyboards give the songs layers which add a certain depth to them.

Anyway, I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys Bright Eyes, or who simply appreciates good songwriting. I rate this album along with what I would consider "the better half" of other albums from Bright Eyes. I hope you enjoy it as I have.
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on May 22, 2014
Upside Down Mountain is a new Conor Oberst. I was always a big fan of his band, Bright Eyes, and his solo works but this album is above and beyond most of his previous stuff. He's no longer writing for the teen angst crowds; he's grown up and his lyrics show that best. Night at Lake Unknown is my favorite song on this album--it's really just poetry set to music.
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on July 21, 2016
At first, I was a bit unsure about this album. I thought that only about half of the songs were good. However, after a couple listens, I really do like to listen to this album and I enjoy all of the songs.

If one listens to this album, one may think about the time that Time Forgot. One may be Zigzagging Toward the Light because there are Hundreds of Ways to locate Artifact #1, which is Lonely at the Top of the mountain with Enola Gay. Be careful not to live a Double Life while listening because you may Kick someone in the rear end during the Night at Lake Unknown. The person you kicked may end up thinking You Are Your Mother's Child, which may end up not mattering because you are so busy at the Governor's Ball filling out the Desert Island Questionnaire with plenty of Common Knowledge.
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on June 3, 2014
This is an excellent CD that is essential to any music lover who enjoys beautiful music with excellent lyrics. Although I was aware of Conor by reputation from reviews by music critics, I only recently bought his music after hearing Conor on Pandora radio. I am not qualified to compare this CD to Conor's earlier work, but I will definitely purchase earlier music by Conor/Bright Eyes.

If you like the best works of Jackson Browne (early 1970s), John Prine, and early Neil Young, then you will likely love this CD. Conor has cited each of those artists as influences as well as Leonard Cohen, but Conor's own songs are exceptional and unique--not at all derivative.

I recommend that you listen to this CD in sequence as intended (not in shuffle mode) and to read the lyrics as you listen. There are a few songs where the lyrics from an early song on this CD are referenced in a slightly different way...giving an alternate meaning to both. I'm very impressed with Conor as songwriter, creating beautiful music with insightful lyrics. Even the songs with a darker side are enjoyable. I like Conor's insights and his sense of humor as well.

For me, the strongest tracks are: "Time Forgot", "Artifact #1", "Night at Lake Unknown", "Kick", "You Are Your Mother's Child", "Governor's Ball", "Desert Island Questionnaire", and "Common Knowledge". The entire CD is enjoyable,but these tracks are exceptional. This CD will reward you with more nuances on each listen.

I rated this 4.5 out of 5. Strongly recommended!

I know Conor likes to changes things up and work with different musicians/collaborators, but I am hoping for more music of this quality in future from Conor.
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on December 21, 2014
I love everything Conor Oberst related so I am biased, BUT I have been told by people I annoy endlessly with Conor Oberst music that this was really good. Different than Bright Eyes, though it's still very Conor I think. Also, different than some the mystic valley band, etc. Basically, if you even somewhat enjoy Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes, etc. you should give this a listen!
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on January 13, 2016
It is a very well made record, it was thicker than my previous expectation. The sound also is great. If you like Conor Oberst this is something you would want to have, if you think it's expensive. You geting what you pay for, a great sound and a well made record(it comes with two records and a CD).
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on January 31, 2017
Thanks
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on August 23, 2016
Great song writer and musician
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on August 1, 2014
At times, Conor's songs bring an ache to the heart or a tear to the eye, at other times a wry smile. Great effort. While his voice is not for everyone, this is a great collection of songs.
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on March 4, 2016
It's a 5 right now. Don't make me change my mind.
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