Erin bought me Fevers and Mirrors on a trip to an independent CD store in downtown Knoxville to which I never returned. I thought it was an OK record with a bit too much screaming for my tastes. I recall enjoying one or two songs on the record though, and that’s sometimes enough to make my radar.
During my live music trading binge, I happened upon a Conor Oberst show at the Showbox in Seattle, and that was quite enough to download it. Sometime during the next few months, I actually listened to the version of Waste of Paint on that record, and I was really intrigued.
Shortly after that, I downloaded the album Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil and shortly after that, I bought it. It still has a good amount of screaming, of which I’m not generally a fan (although some notable exceptions exist), and is on one level a confusing album.
Lover I Don’t Have To Love is sort of a self-loathing treatment of indie rocker love, and it’s followed by Bowl Of Oranges, one of the most straightforwardly positive songs imaginable. While, unlike some, I don’t believe that his lyrics deal directly with his bi-polar nature, the diagnosis after listening to this album is pretty natural. That would explain some of his ass-hat behavior since becoming famous, probably.
When I started writing the draft of this post, I initially thought that I had put this album somewhere in the 20’s. Sometimes albums end up defining an era of your life; for me, this album defines the fall of 2003, my first in Richmond. I was still dealing with a lot of grief from Erin’s death, and really making the first attempts at opening myself to dealing with new people again. Jesse passed away that December. And yet I could sense that the seeds of my new life had already been sown, and that I would very much enjoy the future, if I could just find the strength to get there.