Bright Eyes — The Four Winds EP (2007)

According to current polls, two out of every three people think that President Bush is doing a bad job running the country right now. This number must be higher among people with recording contracts. But with the recent crop of blatant musical statements of political dissatisfaction, Bright Eyes’ latest work, the Four Winds EP, stands out.

Although his political commentary isn’t hidden beneath layers of complex literary constructions, Conor Oberst did have the grace to craft his songs into clever and compelling metaphors, avoiding the descent into blatant and puerile name-calling that has plagued the work of other folks forwarding similar messages.

And while his lyrics do become heavy-handed in places (“the Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Koran’s mute/If you burn them all together you get close to the truth”), the album is not a tirade. The Four Winds is certainly tinged with sorrow and despair, but Bright Eyes keeps things listenable with his skillful folk rock arrangements. This collection of songs is one of the most palatable statements of frustration to come out of the cottage industry of dissident voices that have sprung up since Bush’s re-election.

–nc

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