Bright Eyes Songs Ranked

Bright Eyes is an American indie rock band founded by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst. It consists of Oberst, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Mogis, arranger, composer and trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, and a rotating line-up of collaborators drawn primarily from Omaha’s indie music scene. Between 1998 and 2011, the band’s albums were released through Saddle Creek Records, a Nebraska-based label founded by Justin Oberst (Conor’s brother) and Mogis. In January 2020, the band announced their return, having signed with Dead Oceans. Here are all of Bright Eyes albums ranked.

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10. If Winter Ends (Letting Off the Happiness, 1998)

“Everyone says that listening to this song makes them want to cry but really, it takes all of my problems and sorrow of winter and gives me energy, like when you’re so upset you get mad and energetic. It takes all the negative energy and throws me into spring with force.”

9. Something Vague (Fevers and Mirrors, 2000)

“This song also made me cry when i first heard it. Conor’s voice might be “shaky and quavering” but that’s what makes this song so emotional and beautiful.”

8. Let’s Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and to Be Loved) (Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, 2002)

“The song is about a awakening Conor had nearly eight years ago after suffering alcohol poisoning. From the time the song was written not even a year had passed since he was rushed to the hospital for it. As the song reveals, Conor was at a point in his life where he would allow the anxieties of life drive him out of his mind. While driving under the influence, he saw a world so hopeless, led by a man with no compassion for human life.”


7. Poison Oak (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, 2005)

“This song is about someone who had a lasting influence on Conor’s decision to pursue music. If you look at the last line of each of the first two stanzas you see some foreshadowing in Conor’s lyrical focus. “You said you weren’t afraid to die” foreshadows his focus on ephemeral themes. When his companion leaves, he says “And I don’t think that I ever loved you more” because his companion served as the catalyst for Conor’s embark into music.”

See more: Bright Eyes Albums Ranked

6. Easy/Lucky/Free (Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, 2005)

“I know there are political references and pessimistic comments, but that’s a given with Conor and I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at here. He’s talking about the time people waste working, and not focusing on the important things in life such as time with friends. I definitely agree with the person above who said so delicately Conor’s just talking about “not having to put up with life’s shit anymore.” I love the line “You might escape to a condo on the cost” it shows how consumed people become with work, and how really we’re lucky if we get away for a while.”

5. The Calendar Hung Itself… (Fevers and Mirrors, 2000)

“I think this song’s main theme is about the narrators love and general observations of a girl who is sexually abused by (maybe) her father. Like lots of his other songs other themes and feelings are present but this is the dominating one I feel while the others are the affects of this premise.”

Bright Eyes - LIFTED Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The  Ground Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

4. A Perfect Sonnet (Vinyl Box Set, 2003)

“I personally think this song is about someone who really wants to fall in love but has been unsuccessful. So he wants something else that’s more attainable than he can control that will make him forget about wanting to fall in love. I think he bitterness and jealousy to people in love is he talks about tying them together and throwing them in the ocean and then talks about chaining them together and throwing them into the fire left to burn in their arrogance. I think he feels like an outsider looking in. Feels like he’s running out of time.”

3. Lover I Don’t Have to Love (Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, 2002)

“I am so in love with this song.. its the kinda song you can listen to over and over and never get bored, the rhythm and beat are awesome and help to create the sensual atmosphere and the lyrics themselves are harsh and raw but fantastic. Conor is a genius.”

2. First Day of My Life (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, 2005)

“In the middle of a record filled with depression, political commentary, alcohol, love, death, breakups, and all the rest, we get this. A song about trying to make a rocky relationship work out, cause you both know you love each other, even if there’s issues. Cliched, but sometimes all I want is some hope, and this song is what was needed, especially on the album itself.”

Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005, CD) - Discogs

1. Lua (I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, 2005)

“I agree that this song offers so many explanations and understandings as well but personally I see it in the drug abuse aspect. but that is probably just how it relates to my life because Ive seen people with drug addictions. music/poetry is relative.”