Lifted, though, was like an orchestra full of strings and horns and mandolins and glockenspiels. The songs sounded like pop songs and country songs and ’90s college-radio songs. Most of these songs still had no hooks or choruses, but it was Oberst’s most melodic songwriting to date. The songs on Lifted were notably less self-indulgent than those on his previous albums; some felt almost celebratory. There used to be elements of a fierce punky shriek in his basement tapes, and so much of that was gone. Lifted was more pleasant. It was more artful.
Just as Memento was the first movie I saw as an adolescent that made me go “oh, THIS is what independent films are like,” Lifted… convinced me to begin searching for music other than the tracks force fed to me on MTV & the Radio (REMEMBER THOSE THINGS? You do? That’s weird. I mean, I guess they’re still around, but like, not in the way they used to be… Do you remember the way they used to be? You do? Huh… maybe I should goto the doctor…).
I remember getting the album while visiting my grandparents in Florida. I had just turned 15 (math!) and had read about Bright Eyes in Rolling Stone magazine (Remember that?…I mean how it used to be? When it wasn’t a magazine for cool dads?). I popped the CD into my red diskman and did what any kid would do when he listens to brand new music. I went to the bathroom.
Sitting on the throne, I listened to the first track. This meant that I was listening to a recording of Jenny Lewis & Blake Sennet driving through snow covered streets of Omaha (where they had gone to exploit the booming music scene) listening & singing along to a Bright Eyes song. If i hadn’t already been sitting on the toilet, I would’ve shit my pants.
I became obsessed with Saddle Creek and the Omaha scene, which led me to begin downloading random mp3’s of indie bands for free off of insound.com…which led me to epitonic.com which suggested other bands for me to check out based on my previous downloads. I built my teenage music taste through the internet and shared mixes with friends, bonding over these newfound tunes.
So… thanks dude.