Sunday, June 27, 2004

More Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors

I have nothing to say. I have just listened to this album for the first time. It is still in me, not yet ready to come out. Nevertheless, here I am, writing about it. One of the first and most basic steps one takes when learning to study literature is to learn to separate author of a work from its narrator. Even when (perhaps especially when) there is no clear character who plays the "narrator" of a work, such as Nick Carraway of The Great Gatsby or Frederic Henry of A Farewell to Arms, it is important to respect the distinction between the author, composing a story, and the narrator, telling the tale. In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, for example, the narrator, who plays Chaucer himself, is nevertheless, not Chaucer, but yet another character on his way to Canterbury and salvation. Yet another example must surely be a blog. You may or may not know the blog's author, but you most certainly know me. This question of authorship and of narratorship of Bright Eyes' Fevers and Mirrors, the precursor to Lifted or the story is in the soil, keep your ear to the ground, and the subject of my latest listening, could not be more applicable and intriguing. The "interview" with Conor Oberst in track 11 is strange. It is an attempt for Conor, the artist, to stage an interview with Conor, the voice. What we hear is not a 20 year-old kid from Nebraska, it is the persona that a 20 year-old kid from Nebraska has created in order to communicate with the outside world. I haven't listened to the words, I've only heard the sounds, and they beckon me toward them. This is the voice of Conor Oberst. You cannot stop listening.

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