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FUV's New Dig: Conor Oberst

by Darren DeVivo
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Upside Down Mountain
Conor Oberst
Nonesuch Records


Conor Oberst has been making a lot a terrific music for a long time, though he's only 34 years old — it's no surprise that he produced his first album at 13. Now this young-but-seasoned veteran is offering his fans one of the most personal works of his career.

Upside Down Mountain is an introspective collection, more typical of an older artist. Produced with Jonathan Wilson and helped out in the sessions by Swedish duo First Aid Kit, Conor has released a very intimate album. The songs are very literate, which should come as no surprise to longtime fans.

Most of the album is quiet and thoughtful, with sentimentality found throughout. Occasionally the pace quickens, electric guitars appear and even some horns. “Governor’s Ball," “Hundreds Of Ways," “Desert Island Questionnaire," “Kick” and “Zigzagging Toward The Light” deliver the livelier moments. The album’s title comes from “Lonely At The Top," while “You Are Your Mother’s Child” is one of the album’s more poignant highlights.

In the '90s Conor worked tirelessly with a variety of different bands, including Bright Eyes, his most successful artistic outlet. That popularity didn’t stop him from exploring musical territories with other bands, nor did it slow down his output as a solo artist. But for someone looking for a primer on the talents of Conor Oberst as a poet and songwriter, one need not look any further than Upside Down Mountain. At the tender age of 34, Conor has established himself as one of rock’s preeminent creative minds.

 

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