Sound — 8
I have been a fan of Conor Oberst's work for about two years now, and I feel that this new album is his finest work to date. Many critics brush Bright Eyes aside as a depressing, whiny band, but this album would prove them wrong. Oberst's voice is still one of a tortured poet who cannot get to grips with himself, but this album is far more uplifting than his previous work. Even the album is named after a spiritual cleansing place Oberst visited, and many tracks on this record suggest that he is a much more mature person with a clearer outlook on life itself. There are more orchestral sounds in the album than ever before, and no songs with just Conor Oberst and a guitar. This is also definetely an album which could easily be compared to Dylan's work, more than before, and is good for that.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on the album are undeniably about death, war and life in general. In recent interviews, Oberst said that there are many anti-war songs such as "No one would riot for less" and political songs like "Four winds", where he states that "The bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Qu'ran is mute, if you burn them altogether you will get to the truth". Conor Oberst has never had a strong singing voice, but this is his best singing so far and in fact, his voice has always matched his lyrics completely, and he has even said in "I'm wide awake, it's morning" that "I could have been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice, but failure's always sounded better." And that's true in his case. He also had guest vocals from a number of women and men which always strengthens his easily broken voice.
Overall Impression — 9
There is certainly not another singer quite like Conor Oberst, and no album like Cassadaga out at the moment. Bright Eyes music is always very fresh and original and certainly versatile. The most impressive songs have to be the new single "Four winds", "Hot knives", "Classic cars" and "Everything must belong somewhere". I feel that every track on the album is good in itself and highly original, and I can always relate to Oberst's political lyrics. If I lost it, I would definetely buy it again as I absolutely adore this album, and cannot stop recommending it to friends. Go buy it and you will be a satisfied customer!