Sound — 8
Conor Oberst's (Bright Eyes' creative master and front-man) relatively new creation entitled "Cassadaga" is an album that I believe is focused more on how Conor interacts with the outside world compared to how he has expressed inner angst in previous albums. Another viewpoint of this album is current events. The name "Cassadaga" comes from the two cities with the same name. The Cassadaga in Florida is home to many psychics (aka mediums), and is nicknamed the "Psychic Center of the World." The other city in New York is also home to a Spiritualist group. These two cities are intertwined as Cassadaga, Florida was founded by George P. Colby; he attended spiritualist meetings in Lily Dale, New York, which borders Cassadaga, NY. Conor introduces a new country style of his which I had not heard in any of his previous songs. But, he does return to his niche in the emo field of music with a few songs while he sings broken hearted romances over soft pianos. I really enjoyed how eclectic Conor can be and the variety of styles he utilizes in this album.
Lyrics — 10
Definitely my favorite part of any piece of musical work is the lyrics; and Conor easily fulfills my lyrical lust with this album. Although the entire album flows smoothly with all songs telling a full story, if one was to break down each song and look at each word in each song, the lyrics do comply to the music beautifully. In my eyes, one cannot praise Bright Eyes enough for bringing forth another element in music that some do not see as paramount. Each track on "Cassadaga" is a story in it's own. The first track: "Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)" is a song that begins with a psychic describing fields of energy that have to do with the spiritualist beliefs. Next Conor comes in singing about what could be seen as his distrust of how the country is being run and what he thinks is going to happen. "Corporate or Colonial/The Movement is unstoppable" the first sung lyrics on the album pretty much can describe the theme of the rest of the album. Conor's genius of showing emotion through his singing can give one the feelings he is trying to express through his lyrics and the music being played. Overall, I do not know of any other musical poet in this day an age that can string words together so masterfully.
Overall Impression — 9
I could not compare this to other artists because Bright Eyes has done a brilliant job spacing themselves from the generic Pop Rock/Emo bands. At only 27, this is Conor Oberst's 10th studio album (not including EP's or singles). That is an amazing fact towards me. My favorite tracks off this album are "Cleanse Song," "Middleman," "No One Would Riot For Less." "Cleanse Song" is the most positive song on the album. After listening, I actually did feel "cleansed." Because of the non-repeating sections of this track it is mesmerizing. "Middleman" is a song that can be summed up with it's title. It is about how a person's dreams have been eroded and eventually how he/she has settled with a version of him/herself that he/she would never wish for. "No One Would Riot For Less" is a love song giving reasons why a man is leaving the hell-hole he is living in to a better place. There are also stabs at the current government with lyrics such as, "Little soldier, little insect/You know war, it has no heart/It will kill you in the sunshine/Or just as happily in the dark." The only things I can say I dislike about this CD is the few Countryish songs it includes. I do loathe that style of music and hope Bright Eyes does not return to that style. I recommend this album to anybody that likes any genre of music and if I had lost this CD I would immediately go buy it again.