Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bright Eyes - June on the West Coast

For a little while during my Sophomore year of High School, this Bright Eyes song practically was my life. When you're a teenager, struggling to find your identity and dealing with a barrage of oscillating emotions, there's few better soundtracks to your life than Bright Eyes' early records (the Violent Femmes self-titled album is one of those few, but that's besides the point.) Part of what makes Bright Eyes such a relatable band, was that he wasn't much older than listens upon recording the songs. He succeeded so well in capturing the turmoil of teenage life because he still was one, albeit a much more gifted songwriter and lyricist than most others his age. Upon recording Letting off the Happiness, he was only 17.

Nowadays, almost five years later, I still love Bright Eyes, though I tend to stick with his more recent, less melodramatic/angsty material. While I found his newest record Cassadaga to be a bit inconsistent, I adore Lifted, or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground and consider I'm Wide Awake It's Morning to be a mini-masterpiece. Just don't ask for my opinion on Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. "June on the West Coast" however still moves me immensely. Yeah- I just played it. It's wonderful.

Bright Eyes - June on the West Coast

"I spent a week drinking the sunlight of Winnetka, California
Where they understand the weight of human hearts
You see, sorrow gets too heavy and joy it tends to hold you
With the fear that it eventually departs
And the truth is I’ve been dreaming of some tired tranquil place
Where the weather won’t get trapped inside my bones
And if all the years of searching find one sympathetic face
Then it's there I will plant these seeds and make my home

I spent a day dreaming of dying in Mesa, Arizona
Where all the green of life had turned to ash
And I felt I was on fire, with the things I could have told you
I guess I just assumed that you eventually would ask
And I wouldn’t have to bring up my so badly broken heart
And all those months I just wanted to sleep
And though spring, it did come slowly, I guess it did it's part
My heart has thawed and continues to beat

I visited my brother on the outskirts of Olympia
Where the forest and the water become one
And we talked about our childhood, like a dream we were convinced of
That perfect peaceful street where we came from
And I know he heard me strumming all those sad and simple chords
As I sat inside my room so long ago
And it hurts that he’s still shaking from those secrets that were told
By a car closed up airtight and a heart turned cold

And I went to San Diego, the birthplace of the summer
And watched the ocean dance under the moon
And there was a girl I knew there, one more potential lover
I guess that something’s got to happen soon
Because I know I can’t keep living in this dead or dying dream
And as I watched along the beach and drank with her
I thought about my true love, the one I really need
With eyes that burn so bright, they make me pure

They make me pure
They make me pure
I long to be with you"

Here's a funny little video of a heavily sauced Oberst giving an introduction to the song, explaining it's one of the few early songs of his he still likes as well as beginning to teach the audience how to play it on guitar-

Second we have a version of the song from a recent radio session that also featured M. Ward. The arrangement is so different that it's practically a different song.

Bright Eyes @ Saddle Creek Records

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