Album Review: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes
Mediocre, Based on 2 Critics
AllMusic - 40 Based on rating 4/10
Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is designed to be the musical polar opposite to I'm Wide Awake, to be the ambitious, modernistic electronic record that stands in contrast to the sepia-toned, classicist acoustic LP, but it suffers from nearly all the same flaws as its companion. The production and arrangements may have changed, but the music still serves as little more than a vehicle for Oberst's tortured prose. Here, the lines are clipped instead of languid as they are on I'm Wide Awake, but instead of scaling back his words and sharpening his attack, he piles on even more words, littering the songs with awkward allusions and clunky couplets.
Not content with the popularity 2002's Lifted has brought him, Conor Oberst is intent on being prolific, releasing two wildly contrasting Bright Eyes albums at once. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn combines Radiohead-style weirdness with Robert Smith's tenderness. A stark collection of early 1980's keyboard melodies and anxious guitar solos, Oberst's dark dreams are numb with death and paranoia.