In 2011, Bright Eyes and Radiohead continued to deviate from Glory Days –
Sometimes a year in music is defined by discovery. You find a new group that you like. An artist you’ve never heard of before makes you check out their entire back catalog. It’s good. Other years, however, are defined by musicians moving away. We’re gaining fandom, but we’re losing it too. For me, 2011 is a year defined by artists going further and further into my rearview mirror. Perhaps this is because it is arguably the least impressive year in music for the past 10-15 years. Or maybe it’s realizing that I no longer had any interest in two of my previous favorite bands. It’s two o’clock this week as I write on Bright Eyes The key to the people and Radiohead‘s The king of limbs.
In high school and early in college, Bright Eyes was my favorite band. I loved the work of Conor Oberst. It really hit me as a teenager. I bought Digital ash in a digital ballot box and I’m wide awake, it’s morning the day they both went out, which turned out to be the same day. I had listened to them both in their entirety before coming home. I literally parked my car at a Meijer to listen. Man, they were so nice to me. Now, however, these are probably the only two Bright Eyes albums that I think are good.
I think the key phrase in that last paragraph is “in adolescence”. Growing up, the first Bright Eyes stuff resonated less with me. Then Oberst published Cassadaga in 2007. I didn’t like it at all. Now I found his work too pretentious. I’ll be honest, I never listened The key to the people. I completely skipped it. After Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers joined forces for Better Oblivion Community Center, which I really enjoyed, I gave the Bright Eyes album a chance in 2020 with the obnoxiously long and pretentious name. It was pretty good. I have no intention of listening to any of these songs again.
Radiohead was also one of my favorites in high school and college. OK computer that’s great Child A It’s awesome. I’ve had In the rainbows repeatedly in my car at university. I downloaded it based on their pay what you want plan and didn’t pay anything because I was 20 and also like I said in college. Maybe I gave them five dollars? I’ll be generous to myself and tell them I gave them five dollars.
Of course, In the rainbows was part of Radiohead’s drift from rock band status to creating ethereal digital music. The king of limbs went all the way there. I couldn’t get in there. It was too difficult to grasp. It was okay, but nothing more. Then when A moon shaped swimming pool came out, I didn’t listen to any of that. I heard a few songs and found it with it. Radiohead had gone too far to be the band I really liked.
Sure, I’ve changed since I was a teenager, but by 2011 – when I was in my twenties – Bright Eyes and Radiohead had changed as well. I feel like I’ve changed for the better. I cannot say the same for these two groups.