“The People’s Key” and “Seven”

So despite appearances I really didn’t expect this to turn into a forum to just share every YouTube video I’ve ever enjoyed or watched in an effort to find new music at work. (Okay yeah, I mean, I knew there would be a bit of that.) And I do hope to do some more… crafty and cooking and whatever stuff also. But I just keep having these magical musical moments and today was no exception.

For some reason (perhaps because on my parents’ and aunt’s recommendation I’m reading Cutting for Stone, which takes place in Ethiopia and makes many references to Haile Selaisse) I had Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key album, which has a track of which that former-Ethiopian-king-and-unknowing-messiah-of-Rastafarianism is namesake, in my head as I set off to work this morning. Once again, YouTube failed to fail me, as it set me up with this:

Being a little slow, as I sometimes am, I had to read the 2nd Top Comment to realize we were in fact in Conor Oberst’s living room. This… got me probably way more excited off the bat then I needed to be. Oh, and then what’s that? At 0:16 not only does my #1-All-Time-Celebrity-Crush-For-Forever walk in, but he’s accompanied by a dog. A dog that looks just like Ollie.

gratuitous screen shot? sure. but it contains three of my favorite things of all time: conor oberst, a dog that looks like ollie (though as ryan says, ‘that dog is way calmer than ollie.’), and a globe.

Apparently the dog’s name is “Shatzi” (an adulturation of the German word for “treasure,” I presume), and I think she and Ollie are probably soul-mates.

And then the music starts. Well, first the funny little monologue by Oberst’s friend Danny Brewer, and then the music that, as always, just gets me so good. I’m gonna go ahead and get real with you guys for a second and remind you that Bright Eyes has been a huge part of my life since I was 16. I had all the (now-almost-laughable) angsty, emotional, depressing stuff for when I was in one of the (now-definitely-laughable) most angsty, emotional, and “depressing” phases of my life. And then an incredible thing happened… I graduated high school and the double-album phenomenon Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning were released and you know what? I felt like Conor Oberst and I were growing up together (I mean, he’s got a few years on me, but his music, you know?). The lyrics, his voice, and the general sound of the music showed definite maturation, and I felt like I was making a similar transition. It wasn’t so much I’m still not sure if there’s a better place I could be heading towards where the selfishly sick and self-absorbed are welcome,” as I know debris, it covers everything, but still I am in love with this life.” And the trend just continued with the Four Winds EP and Cassadaga.

Then on his birthday, February 15, 2011 (as anyone who’d been singing February 15 [Happy Birthday to Me]” with such conviction and dedication since she was 18 should know), the (allegedly) last Bright Eyes album ever was released: The People’s Key. And you know what? It was good. It was the next logical step, for me anyways, in the Bright Eyes progression, and Oberst’s poetry shines more vividly and awe-strikingly (sorry, I needed to use that word) than ever. Okay I feel like this is getting out of hand so I’ll fade myself out, but I don’t expect you’ll be disappointed if you were to just let that ol’ video run its course. Oh, and also at 31:00 he brings things up to the camera and that was cute to me? Nebraskans for Peace named him “Peacemaker of the Year” one time? I promise I got work done today at work? Okay… Angela’s crazy and a bit obsessive… moving on.

Oh speaking of Ollie, he got in trouble today:

(thanks to kathy for the picture)

I’ve decided he was really spoiled by his Christmas toys in that they reminded him how fun it is to chew things. Because he decided rather than the reindeer, normal deer, or monkey he has to sink his stupid jaws into til the cows come home, he’d prefer Caleb’s 40-year-old Compact Zulu Dictionary.


Lord knows I feel terrible but Caleb’s being a good sport. In my head Ollie knew that Zulu was a South African language and it reminded him of his dad so he just wanted to… eat the book? Out of love? But apparently he didn’t like it because later Kathy told me he threw up everywhere. Ohhh Ollie… you’re lucky you’re mad cute.

So then I discovered Seven by Fever Ray.

This was unprecedented, friends. I listened to this entire album four times in a row. I’ll be the first to say it: Karin Dreijer Andersson seems like a total weirdo. And her music’s totally weird as well. But in an immensely interesting and inescapable way. I couldn’t get enough (appropriate, as the opening lyrics of the album are, “this will never end cuz I want more. More, give me more, give me more.”).

The ex-fiancée of my ex-roommate (another Conor fan, holler!) introduced me to the Knife years ago and “Pass This On” worked its way quickly into the deepest depths of my heart (and then I teased my brother that that’s what his frat parties must be like, but I really wanted it to be true) when I was studying in Rome. As I was listening to the album today I kept thinking, “Surely I should have known about this incredible side project by now…” Finally, “Keep the Streets Empty for Me” rolled around and I realized I had, from Red Riding Hood (a movie by which I was really pleasantly surprised). I’d made the mental note to look them up and never did, but life works out sometimes, you know?

So now that I’ve surely convinced y’all that I belong with Karin Andersson in the realms of weirdom I guess I’ll sign off to watch some Downton Abbey with Kathy (I caaaaaved!). Oh, and in case you were wondering how everything turned out with Ollie v. Caleb…

proportions are totally whack in this picture but the moral of the story is they frennz.

proportions are totally whack and caleb looks inexplicably forlorn in this picture but the moral of the story is they frennz.