Another Travelin’ Song

Want the definition of Emo? You’re looking at it. This is a man so emo, he performs under a name taken from an Art Garfunkel song. An Art Garfunkel song from an animated movie about rabbits. That’s emo. And unlike most of what falls under that label, Bright Eyes doesn’t suck. Conor Oberst has been called the second coming Dylan. (Why do we need a new Dylan when the old one is still alive and kicking?) That’s grossly unfair to anybody, for obvious reasons, but that’s the comparison that inevitably gets made whenever a songwriter comes along with thoughts in his head that aren’t crude sexual metaphors. Oberst is no Dylan by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s one of the strongest young songwriters we’ve got. That and cuteness levels that should be illegal have made him an icon for millions of the discerning depressed wilting wallflower types who like to wear hoodies, pout, mope and cut themselves. He also rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Non-believers say his songs are self-obsessed, teenage and whiny, and his voice is annoying. Good point. He unfailingly sounds like he’s on the brink of bawling his eyes out. A little bit goes a long way.

Well I’m changing all my strings
I’m gonna write another traveling song
About all the billion highways and the cities at the break of dawn
Well I guess the best that I can do now is pretend that I’ve done nothing wrong
And to dream about a train that’s gonna take me back where I belong

Well now the ocean speaks and spits and I can hear it from the interstate
And I’m screaming at my brother on a cell phone he’s far away
I’m saying nothing in the past or future ever will feel like today
Until we’re parking in an alley
Just hoping that our shit is safe

So I go back and forth forever
All my thoughts they come in pairs
Oh I will, I won’t, I doubt I don’t
I’m not surprised but I never feel quite prepared

Now I’m hunched over a typewriter
I guess you call that painting in a cave
And there’s a word I can’t remember
And a feeling I cannot escape
And now my ashtray’s overflowing
I’m still staring at a clean white page
Oh and morning’s at my window
She is sending me to bed again

Well I dream of dark on the horizon
I dream a desert where the dead lay down
I dream a prostituted child touching an old man in a fast food crowd
Oh yeah, I dreamt a ship was sinking
There was people screaming all around
And I awoke to my alarm clock
It was a pop song, it was playing loud

So I will find my fears and face them
Or I will cower like a dog
I will kick and scream or kneel and plead
I’ll fight like hell to hide that I’ve given up

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