• Singled Out
Bright Eyes & Conor Oberst portrait in Omaha

Bright Eyes Holds Church and Brings the People Back to Zion with ‘Haile Selassie’

written by: on March 1, 2011

After nearly a four-year break from the studio, Conor Oberst revisits Bright Eyes with a saunter back through an angst-driven world of despondent lyrics and intense personification of the world around us. Bright Eyes sends a message that is on point with the spiritual world that some are living in and others are skeptical about tackling.

Oberst cuts through it like a knife and delivers a message of sanctity.

The gift of song is an everlasting reward for those who are open and ready to receive. The newest collection from Bright Eyes has a cavalcade of exuberant songs. Some outline everything from a barrage of biblical rants and harmoniously streamlined beats to sensitivity toward awareness and religious militancy that gets the brain moving as the album rolls into full swing.

One stands out the most though.

“Haile Selassie” may not be a defined description of the god incarnate of the Rastafarian religion, but it has an African tone behind it with choppy drum beats coupled with some not-so-African Casio tones and muffled jazz trumpet.

As an anthem to call one home, this song is an extension of the pious suggestions heard throughout the album. There isn’t a single moment when there is a question as to the intent of this well-produced and brilliantly written music.

The interpretation of religion and the cultures riding along on the waves of holy belief are the fuel for this progressively intense walk through different worlds of principle.

The song doesn’t just bring out the feeling of religion, it also tackles the differences in humanity and life, fitting in and sticking out. If you’re that kid sitting there looking around wondering, “Who the fuck are these people?” then this song speaks through those differences.

A just and noble feeling, Oberst comforts singing, “I seen stranger things happen/Happen before.” Fear not young weirdo, you are not alone. He combines spiritual freedom with a sense of cultural awareness. At the end of the song he gives listeners an open look into their own souls with the effect of growing into positive, contributing parts of society.

“Haile Selassie” is inspiring. Even without a pulpit or church, it can leave even the least religiously affiliated types with a feeling of self-awareness and a sense of belonging to something bigger than human life itself. It is the people’s church. Get it in doses and give praise to the subtle moments in our existence that resound with the song of angels on high.

True to man’s need for moral centeredness, this song can be listened to in the same respect that a Southern Baptist would go to church on Sunday morning to hear about the fire and brimstone that waits if they don’t repent and ask for forgiveness. To say that listening to this is anything short of a religious experience is an understatement.