Soul Singer in a Session Band

Cassadaga might objectively be the best Bright Eyes record, especially for anyone who didn’t come of age an emo kid. It marks, I think, Conor Oberst’s full arrival as a mature songwriter, as opposed to a navel-gazey sadboi with a knack for words. Some of that perceived maturity may come from having a bigger production budget than before, Bright Eyes having only fairly recently become well known. Moving away from shoegaze to bigger themes, attracting high-profile collaborators, recording in a real studio, etc. are all marks of artistic growth, made easier by success.