Is Conor Oberst the Bob Dylan of emo? His early lo-fi works under the Bright Eyes moniker were teeming with subversive lyrics, elementary accompaniments and an untrained voice warbling with jarring overconfidence. In the nine years since Bright Eyes' Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Oberst has reinvented himself as a folk artist — a common move among emo pioneers — and become a political figure. He's managed the latter, not with lyrics like, "our freedom's a joke/we're just taking a piss" but with his actions; a cancelled 2005 Pageant date was a casualty of Oberst's war with Clear Channel. With the venue no longer under the media conglomerate's mushroom cloud, Oberst can return with integrity intact.
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