Bright Eyes: A Christmas Album – review

(Saddle Creek)

Eleven years ago, Conor Oberst made a Christmas album. Fans of bangs, MySpace and Dunlop trainers rejoiced in delicate, dishevelled versions of Away in a Manger, Silent Night and White Christmas – a cool substitute for all that major label tripe. But that was the early noughties; this reissue of the 11-song album – featuring a host of his indie friends such as Rilo Kiley and Tilly and the Wall – emerges in a very different climate, one in which misery pop reigns. It's impossible to sit through even an episode of Stacey Dooley Investigates without a meek acoustic cover of a classic song chloroforming your ears during the ad break. And so Oberst's whimsy now just sounds trite: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is about as appealing as a depressed party blower, and the slo-mo First Noel is infuriatingly fragile. Bright Eyes, mate – it's 2013. Everyone's miserable. Everyone's alternative. Now stick on some Wham! and enjoy yourself.


Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Bright Eyes: The People's Key – review
Sparkling pop and cosmic musings make this a marvellous (rumoured) finale for the Bright Eyes project, says Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

13, Feb, 2011 @12:05 AM

Bright Eyes – review

Conor Oberst seems happier in his own skin than he was as the sallow, lo-fi, emo poster boy of more than a decade ago, and while tonight's two-hour set lags in parts, it's rarely less than quirkily engaging, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

15, Feb, 2011 @7:20 PM

Article image
Desaparecidos: Payola review – middling return for Conor Oberst's punk project
Harking back to the early-00s punk of Glassjaw and Jimmy Eat World, Conor Oberst’s Desaparecidos sound oddly out of time

Lanre Bakare

18, Jun, 2015 @9:00 PM

Bright Eyes - Shell Games: Video exclusive

Conor Oberst's band release their eighth studio album, The People's Key, later this month. Check out the video to new song, Shell Games

16, Feb, 2011 @3:45 PM

Article image
Bright Eyes' Oberst records 'solo' album

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst is to release his 'first solo album' in more than a decade. But he's also touring as Bright Eyes, which we sort of thought was his 'solo' project. It's all very confusing

Sean Michaels

23, Apr, 2008 @9:31 AM

Bright Eyes: The People's Key - review
If he hadn't already come of age, Conor Oberst really has this time, says Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

10, Feb, 2011 @10:20 PM

Article image
CD: Bright Eyes, Cassadaga


Dave Simpson

05, Apr, 2007 @11:00 PM

Bright Eyes, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

David Peschek

24, Jun, 2004 @8:36 AM

Article image
Bright Eyes, Metropolitan University, Leeds

Metropolitan University, Leeds

Dave Simpson

15, Mar, 2005 @12:39 PM

Bright Eyes, ULU, London

ULU, London

Maddy Costa

10, Dec, 2002 @10:57 AM