‘Lover I Don’t Have To Love’ by Bright Eyes
From the album Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002)
After reading up on Bright Eyes for research on last week’s article and subsequently spending a few days listening to them as a consequence, I have decided to carry on the Conor Oberst theme to this week’s Track of the Week…
On ‘Mall of America’ from Desaparecidos’ first album Read Music/Speak Spanish, Conor Oberst sardonically sings:
They say it’s murder on your folk career
to make a rock record with The Disappeared
That album was released in February 2002. Almost six months to the day later Oberst, under the Bright Eyes moniker, released Lifted… the album that would propel the man and the name from acclaimed underground folk artist to internationally recognised and critically lauded indie star.
If you aren’t a Bright Eyes fan, ‘Lover I Don’t Have to Love’ is probably the Bright Eyes song that you have heard, it was on The O.C. and everyone loved The O.C. Also I’ve probably come over to your house, drunkenly played it on your Spotify account and spoken at you, in depth, about the lyrical content and how Mike Mogis’s production blends the orchestral elements of the music with the conventional ‘band’ elements so perfectly that every time I hear the strings of the ‘then hurt me’ bit at the end, I get a tremendous tingle down my spine. If that scenario doesn’t sound familiar then, shit son, it just happened anyway so grab a bottle of wine and hit the embedded video above.
Anyway, the lyrics to this song are just sublime; witty and pretty dark – this is Bright Eyes after all. Oberst’s delivery, as noted in this review (which isn’t a very good review, how this bloke plucked 7.7/10 out of his arse after what he wrote, I will never know, but that’s fucking Bitchfork for you), mellowed somewhat from the ‘shrieking tantrums’ (I don’t agree with that phrasing but it illustrates sort of what I mean) heard on previous albums to a wry storytelling, even managing to sound pretty sexy, especially on this song. The lyrics also reflect, I’d say, the secret desires of many a horny teenaged/early-twenties indie dork, lumbering dumbly up to a girl and telling her that you like her shoes. Speaking from experience, rarely did that ever lead to ‘pressing hard against [their] jeans/[their] tongue in my mouth’, but to be perfectly honest I was always too far gone for that sort of thing.
Let’s raise a glass to the best song about one night stands ever written.