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on 16 February 2011
The 8th studio recorded album by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst and his band delivers what potentially could be his last album under the Bright Eyes name. Nice that it was actually released on Conor Oberst's birthday.

The album features guest artists Andy LeMaster of Now It's Overhead, Matt Maginn of Cursive, Carla Azar of Autolux, Clark Baechle of The Faint, Shane Aspegren of The Berg Sans Nipple, Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds, and Denny Brewer of Refried Ice Cream.[11] The lyrics make mention of Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah and I and I, all symbols of Rastafariansim.

Opening with a spoken word intro on 'Firewall' and orchestral backing, with talk of history, evolution, space, science and spirits. The guy is Denny Brewer, I don't know any more about him, but he features throughout the album. After 2 mins a old wild west style guitar loop kicks in and conor's familiar vocals, more gentle than on previous albums, builds nicely with drums and ends up exploding into life. Beautiful opener of a song, mixing old and new sides of Bright Eyes. The loop reminds me of a song by 'Martin Grech' but that's the only similarity, worth a listen though as he is amazing too. Amazon don't have the song in question, but this one is in similar vain The Heritage
'Shell Games' is an upbeat song with guitar, synths and violin in tow. It's great to hear the positivity amongst conor's troubled musings.
'Jejune Stars' incredible song, again pretty upbeat, awesome song with furious electronic drum beats and bass sporadicaly throughout, ends with the chap who spoke at the start of first track 'Firewall'. 'Approximate Sunlight'takes us back to 2002 album LIFTED ( OR THE STORY IS ) with it's dark thought provoking lyrics and sound, very very good and powerful in feeling. 'Haile Selassie' is a mid tempo track with pretty good feeling within, nice chorus, clever lyrics and musically strong. 'A Machine Spiritual (In the People's Key)' is another mid-up tempo track, with positive lyrics, thoughtful and clever, ends with the same chap talking again which flows into the next song. At this stage this album is turning our to be one of Bright Eyes best and if it is the last one, he is going out on a high, leaving a great legacy behind. 'Triple Spiral' would have also fit nicely on 2005 album Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, synth and guitar surround upbeat lyrics in a very bouncy song indeed. 'Beginners Mind' is another great upbeat track that starts slow and acoustic and builds into a full blown band track with a great chorus that will have singing 'Starting Over, You Keep, Starting Over, You Keep, Starting Over' for weeks and ends of echoey robotic vocals and back down to acoustic again. 'Ladder Song' is a moving piano and vocal based song with thoughtful moving lyrics, one of my highlights of the album and well placed just before the last track. 'One For You, One For Me' leaves us with a floaty, beautiful song sounding song that the Flaming lips would have been proud, first band that came to mind, Would be a favourite of Bright Eyes fans that love Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, which is one of my favourite albums, this track finishes with the old guy (Denny Brewer).

This album will stand the test of time, an amazing piece of work, art, musical genius which feels almost like a look back over all conor's work and forward to what could be. I for one am hoping that this is not the last Bright Eyes album, but if he chooses to lay this hat down, he has left a lasting legacy that we all can cherish.
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on 17 February 2011
Many folk are saying that this is the best CD that Conor has ever released... To be honest this put me off a little. You know how hype goes. Your high expectations usually leave you disappointed.

The People's Key is a great album but this is nothing unusual, if you look back over his catalogue. Conor Oberst seems to just keep churning out fantastic music without too much effort. I own 26 of his releases to date but I think there are 29 in total. I have located the missing three online and will order them soon but just take a second to take that in... 29 releases, in his modest years that is just plain remarkable.

So is this release his best to date?
Well with questions like this, it comes down to opinion and as a better man than I once said "Opinions are like arseholes, everybody has one!"
This is a great album, that's about as far as I will venture. As far as comparing it to any of the others, I couldn't pick a favourite really... In the same way that you couldn't pick a favourite child. I love them all!

As with most Bright Eyes releases, there is the strange introductions to get past. These are used to ward off any casual listeners. Most of these add a lot to the rest of the CD but I did find the introduction to this album a little less than great. It's just some guy rambling on about religion and the begining of the world. I am not religious and I did find this intro a little silly but taken with a pinch of salt, it won't cause any problems.

All in all a great release, a worthy addition to his collection and yet another example of the genius that is Conor Oberst!
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on 3 April 2011
The BBC review is a bit of a put-down but equally as nerdish as those who consider Oberst some kind of philosophical genius. Unlike some previous albums, this can be taken on different levels. It has good tunes, interesting (if pretentious, as usual) lyrics and a slick production. The standard pop song lover will enjoy the catchy 'Shell Games' and 'Beginner's Mind'. The more 'discerning' listener will like all except the embarassing opening and ending crap. Why can't this be given seperate track status so that I can avoid it? It loses a star rating from me. Pity. The rest was great.
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on 14 February 2011
This goes above and beyond the high standard Bright Eyes have previously set.
It has a familiarity but also a freshness from their other albums.

It definitely grows on you as well. If you are unsure but liked their older albums I am pretty certain you will love this too.
Buy it!
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on 23 February 2011
I have purchased this item on Vinyl and really enjoy it. The album comes in a super luxury gatefold sleeve and heavy weight vinyl. I have a number of previous Bright Eyes albums on CD and Vinyl and also the recent solo Conor Oberst album. No real surprises here but maybe a darker tone and lyrics. Of note the "free" CD that comes with the Vinyl release actually contains 22 tracks, 12 more than the main album.
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