Bright Eyes is an American indie rock band founded by Conor Oberst, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Other band members include Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis, who are multi-instrumentalists. Conor began recording music when he was 13 years old. He released his first three albums at ages 13, 14, and 15, respectively. Later, he joined a band called Commander Venus and remained active from 1995 to 1997. When Commander Venus disbanded, he formed Bright Eyes and released their first album in 1998 titled, A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997. According to All Music, the album comprised of songs Conor composed in his mid to late teens. Since then the band remained active from 1998-2011 and made a comeback in 2020. Here are their top 10 best hits of all time.
10. Lover I Don’t Have to Love (2002)
Right from the beginning, you will be drawn to this song due to its orchestral elements at the beginning. When Conor begins to sing, you will immediately love his vocals and forget to concentrate on the song’s message. In this song, he sings about making love to a woman without wanting any further commitment. He laments how real love hurts him and would rather opt for superficial love, which is more exciting.
9. We Are Nowhere and It’s Now (2005)
The acoustic guitars and Conor’s vocals are enough to give you goosebumps due to their calming nature. During the chorus, an uncredited lady joins in and gives this song a country touch. The song does a great job of explaining the effects of alcohol addiction. For instance, he hates the taste of wine and yet drinks it to the point he cannot sleep. According to Piedmont, the lack of sleep from drinking alcohol happens when it disrupts the release of melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep.
8. Something Vague (2000)
If you are unable to understand what depression feels like, the band explains the feeling in this song. The song focuses on a person who does certain tasks continually to the point they have become routine to him. Next, the said person goes upstairs to drink alone. This song then ends on a disappointing note since he seems eager to beckon death.
7. Nothing Gets Crossed Out (2002)
In the song, you can hear a lady singing in the background. She manages to sing without seeming to compete with Conor. This song focuses on a man who stands firm behind his beliefs about politics and war yet is unable to do that for his relationships. Throughout the song, Conor sings in his signature somber tone until the end when he shouts the words, “Don’t wanna lay here no more.” His shouting signifies his strong desire to change.
6. Make a Plan to Love Me (2007)
Have you ever tried to reach out to your partner, and they claimed they were busy at work? If your answer is yes, you will relate to this song. Conor talks about a workaholic lover who is driven to succeed. Even though he acknowledges how busy she is, he urges her to create time to love him. He further reminds her that life is short, so she should plan to love him.
5. Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh (2000)
This song cleverly uses malapropism with the words “haligh” and “a lie.” According to Urban Dictionary, haligh is a heartbreak chant, yet Conor uses the term to mean “a lie.” The song is about him discovering that his girlfriend cheated on him but uses the word “haligh” to conceal the fact he knows she cheated. In the end, he decides to confront her about the cheating but is amazed by his girlfriend’s remorseless behavior.
4. Take It Easy (2005)
The band manages to tackle a somber matter over an upbeat, electronic sound. This song focuses on a man’s conflicted feelings for a woman he just slept with. As per the song’s title, he tries to take it easy by not becoming invested in the relationship. Ultimately, he admits that he has been trying to convince himself that he does not love her. The song proves that it is nearly impossible not to harbor any feelings for the person you have slept with.
3. The Calendar Hung Itself (2000)
In the song, there are frantic strumming of guitars and fast-paced percussions. At the same time, he tries to bring elements of a love ballad to this song. The song is about a man who tries to move on after breaking up with his girlfriend. He is consumed with jealousy when he realizes that his ex-girlfriend has a new boyfriend. Realizing that he cannot win her back, he becomes suicidal.
2. A Perfect Sonnet (1999)
Judging from the slow acoustic guitar at the beginning, you will think it will be a slow song throughout. Like a ticking time bomb, the acoustic guitar is gradually played fast until it delivers an explosive beat in the chorus. The song alludes to a man who has been unsuccessful in falling in love. Realizing this, he decides to think of something that will distract him from thinking about love.
1. Lua (2005)
This song tackles the life of a depressed addict. The addict does drugs with friends he meets but wakes up to find them gone. As the song continues, the addict is unclear about what caused his depression. He behaves according to the state of his present emotions. The song, therefore, acknowledges that you cannot analyze depression in black and white.
It is refreshing to see a rock band that tackles societal issues like depression, drug addiction, breakups, etc. Typically when you think of a rock band, you think of one that promotes irresponsible sex and drug use. Besides covering societal issues, the band has an exceptional vocalist, Conor Oberst. He manages to convey sadness in his voice, especially when he tackles breakups or drug use. Another thing worthy of praise is the acoustic guitar that sets off the somberness in their songs.