Two Albums in 6 Months: Conor Oberst Isn't Taking Any Time Off
    • THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2017

    • Posted by: Jack Labbe

    Conor Oberst announced yesterday that he will be releasing yet another album, Salutations, on March 17th. The former Bright Eyes songwriter is on-a-roll, he released Ruminations, his seventh studio album in October, which he recorded in 48 hours in his native Omaha, Nebraska. Salutations is set to feature seven new songs as well as some reworked tracks off of his last release. While Ruminations featured the songwriter alone on piano and guitar, "Napalm" and "A Little Uncanny," which he released yesterday, have a much larger sound thanks to guests like The Felice Brothers, My Morning Jackets Jim James, drummer Jim Keltner, Blake Mills, and Gillian Welch.

    "A Little Uncanny" appeared on his last album, but this time all the bells and whistles came out when a full band was put behind it. Oberst also dropped a diy-style vhs music video for the song, which features a child actor playing a young Conor Oberst through the years. You see him watching Jane Fonda on tv, snorting drugs, and signing a contract given to him by a menacing looking executive. The song itself seems to be dealing with the exploitation that comes with stardom and the "tortured soul" narrative, using references to Sylvia Plath and Robin Williams. The addition of drums, electric guitars, keyboard and bass give this song a vintage rock vibe, which brings the listener back to the era he references with his lyrics.

    "Napalm" shares the same vibe as "A Little Uncanny"; almost sounding like an outtake for Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde. Oberst trails off the ends of his verses into no man's land, giving it that charming, Dylanesque vibe. The two singles make a point of using dated pop-culture references. The references in "Napalm" however, give a more nihilistic vision, referencing Kurt Vonnegut's SlaughterHouse Five, calling out to Patty Hearst, and sending anthrax through the mail. "Napalm" acts as a great death to my hometown anthem and with a chorus that starts with "Breakfast and Napalm" and ends with "Arch-rivals make love / and they gotta keep it secret / they still do it with the lights on" what more could you ask for?

    Like Ed Sheeran, Conor Oberst released two singles at once for his upcoming album. Maybe this is a new trend? A throwback to when 45rpm singles would have an A and a B side? Oberst's two singles fit together very well, unlike Ed Sheeran's and they're even the same length, both finishing at 4 minutes and 57 seconds. After doing a little research, this could be a reference to the Supreme Court case that prevented the censorship of Slaughterhouse-Five from schools, which appeared in volume 457? Theres also something called a 457 tax plan, although that's much less likely. Or it could be a reference to the date that the album is coming out, 5-4=1 and 7-4=3 and then March 17th is 3/17 on a calendar! Although these are all kind of a stretch. Whatever it is I'm intrigued and with an all star line up backing him up on this album, I'm hoping that Salutations becomes yet another classic for the prolific songwriter.

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