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LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (Remastered)

by Bright Eyes

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Gary thumbnail
Gary My favourite track is Don't Know When A Day is Gonna Come, even though I couldn't choose it. And even though they changed it :(
Shmoob thumbnail
Shmoob This album just has a flow that I have yet to see be beat. The final track is absolutely at the top of my list for favorite songs to revisit after a long week of working.

favorite track: Let's Not Shit Ourselves (to Love and to Be Loved)
bobcatchampion thumbnail
bobcatchampion This breakthrough success starts with a single track opener of such remarkable songwriting the rest just faultlessly follow suit. But with the remaster the 7th track has orchestrations and dynamic ranges that fail to be beat. Last song also puts other concept albums to shame as a gorgeous bookmark at the end of the opus. Favorite track: Don't Know When But a Day Is Gonna Come.
joshua kim
joshua kim thumbnail
joshua kim I had no interest in bright eyes until my friend Evan played me bowl of oranges at his house and then I went and about this record, it was the first LP I ever purchased (lost that original but re-bought on bandcamp, so happy to have it again!) Favorite track: Bowl of Oranges.
thomas.joudrier thumbnail
thomas.joudrier Cet album possède beaucoup de qualités littéraires et regorge de sincérité. Si l'on apprécie la tristesse, c'est dur d'y trouver un défaut. Cela sonne comme un album solo de Oberst tant il est personnel. La version 'remastered' fait bien son boulot. Chanson préférée: 'You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.'
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The picture is far too big to look at kid. Your eyes won't open wide enough and you are constantly surrounded by that swirling stream of what is and what was. Well, we've all made our predictions but the truth still isn't out. So if you want to see the future, go stare into a cloud. And keep trying to find your way out of that maze of memories. It all sort of looks familiar but then you get up close and it's different, clearly. Each time you turn a corner, you are right back where you were and your only hope is that forgetting might make a door appear. Is it your fear of being buried that makes you so afraid to speak? An avalanche of opinions like the one that fell that I am now underneath. It was my voice that moved the first rock and I would do it all again. So, I mean, it's cool if you keep quiet but I like singing. So I'll be holding my note and stomping and strumming and feeling so very lucky. There is nothing I know except that this lifetime is one moment and wishing will just leave me empty. So you can try and live in darkness but you will never shake the light. It will greet you every morning and make you more aware with its absence at night, when you are wrapped up in your blanket, baby, that comfortable cocoon. But I have seen the day of your awakening boy and it's coming soon. So go ahead and lose yourself in liquor and you can praise the clouded mind but it isn't what you are thinking, it's the course of history, your position in line. You are just a piece of the puzzle so I think you had better find your place. And don't go blaming your knowledge on some fruit you ate. Because there has been a great deal of discussion, yes, about the properties of man. Animal or Angel? You were carved from bone but your heart, it's just sand. And the wind is going to scatter it and cover everything with love. So if it makes you happy then keep kneeling, Mama, but I am standing up. Because this veil it has been lifted. My eyes are wet with clarity. I have been a witness to such wonders. Oh, I have searched for them all across this country but I think I'll be returning now to the town where I was born. And I understand you must keep moving, friend, but I'm headed home. I'm gonna follow the road and let the scenery sweeping by easily enter my body. I'll send you all this message in code, under ground, over mountains, through forests and deserts and cities. All across electric wire, it's a baited line. The hook is in deep, boys, there is no more time. So you can struggle in the water and be too stubborn to die or you could just let go and be lifted to the sky.
There is no beginning to the story. A bookshelf sinks into the sand and a language learned and forgot, in turn, is studied once again. It's a shocking bit of footage viewed from a shitty T.V. screen. You can squint at It through snowy static to make out the meaning. Just keep on stretching the antennae, hoping that it will come clear. We need some reception, a higher message, just tell us what to fear. Because I don't know what tomorrow brings. It is alive with such possibilities. All I know is I feel better when I sing. Burdens are lifted from me, that is my voice rising! So Michael, please keep the tape rolling. Boys, keep strumming those guitars. We need a record of our failures. We must document our love. I have sat too long in my silence. I have grown too old in my pain. To shed this skin, be born again, it starts with an ending. So thank you friends for the time we shared. My love stays with you like sunlight and air. Oh, how I truly wish I could keep hanging around here but my joy is covering me. Soon, I will disappear. It's not a movie, no private screening. This method acting, well, I call that living. It's like a fountain, a door has opened. We have a problem with no solution but to love and to be loved. So, I've made peace with the falling leaves. I see their same fate in my own body. But I won't be afraid when I am awoken from this dream and returned to that which gave birth to me. And the story goes on and on and on and on.......
On a string I was held. The way that I move, can you tell? My actions are orchestrated from above. So I swing and I sway. Wave my hand. Kick my leg. And it is always right with the music. "Until all that swaying starts to make you sick." For a song I was bought. Now I lie when I talk with a careful eye on the cue cards. Onto a stage, I was pushed, with my sorrow well rehearsed. So give me all your pity and your money. Now. "We use to think that sound was something pure" If I could act like this was my real life and not some cage where I've been placed, then, I could tell you the truth like I use to and not be afraid of sounding fake. Now all that anyone is listening for are the mistakes. In a house, by myself, I hear the ice start to melt and watch the rooftops weep for the sunlight. And I know what must change. Fuck my face. Fuck my name. They are brief and false advertisements for a soul I don't have. Something true I have lacked and spent my whole life trying to make up for. But I found in a song and in the people I love. They will lift me up out of darkness. Now my door stands open. I am inviting everyone in. We will drink. We will laugh until the morning comes. That is what we are going to do.
You say that I treat you like a book on a shelf. I don't take you out that often because I know that I completed you and that is why you are here. That is the reason you stay here. How awful that must feel. You said you would be my dream. I could have you every night and if, by morning, I had forgotten you, well, no big deal, it would be all right because you are the reoccurring kind. You are the reoccurring kind. You never really leave my mind. Are you the love of my lifetime? Because there have been times I have had my doubts. We were just kids when I first kissed you, in the attic of my parents house, and I wish we were there now. It took so long to figure out what this book has been about. Now I write when I'm away letters that you never read. You said to go explore those other women, the geography of their bodies but there is just one map you'll need. You are a boomerang. You'll see. You will return to me. You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. Because if you don't, then this book is all lies. If you don't, then my plans would all be ruined. If you don't, I'll start drinking like the way I drank before. And I just won't have a future anymore.
I picked you out of a crowd and talked to you. I said, "I like your shoes." You said, "Thanks. Can I follow you?" So it is up the stairs and out of view. No prying eyes. I poured some wine. I asked your name. You asked the time. It is 2 o'clock. The club is closed and we are up the block. Your hands are on me. I am pressing hard against your jeans. Your tongue is in my month, trying to keep the words from coming out. You didn't care to know who else may have been you before. I want a lover I don't have to love. I want a girl who is too sad to give a fuck. Where's the kid with the chemicals? I thought he said to meet him here but I'm not sure. I got the money if you've got the time. You said, "It feels good." I said, "I'll give it a try." Then my mind went dark. We both forgot where your car was parked. Let's just take the train. I'll meet up with the band in the morning. Bad actors with bad habits. Some sad singers they just play tragic. Well, the phone is ringing and the van is leaving. Let's just keep touching. Let's just keep singing. I want a lover I don't have to love. I want a boy who is so drunk that he doesn't talk. Where's the kid with the chemicals? I have got this hunger and I can't seem to get full. I need some meaning I can memorize. The kind I have always seems to slip my mind. But write such pretty words. But life is no storybook. Love is an excuse to get hurt and to hurt. "Do you like to hurt?" "I do. I do." "Then hurt me."
The rain it started tapping on the window near my bed. There was a loophole in my dreaming, so I got out of it. And to my surprise my eyes were wide and already open. Just my nightstand and my dresser where those nightmares had just been. So I dressed myself and left then, out into the gray streets. But everything seemed different and completely new to me. The sky, the trees, houses, buildings, even my own body. And each person I encountered I couldn't wait to meet. I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health. I said, "(I am terribly sorry but) there is nothing I can do for you (that) you can't do for yourself." He said, "Oh yes you can. Just hold my hand. I think that that would help." And so I sat with him awhile and then I asked him how he felt. He said, "I think I'm cured. No, in fact, I'm sure of it. Thank you, Stranger, for your therapeutic smile." So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone. And your eyes must do some raining if you are ever going to grow. But when crying don't help and you can't compose yourself. It is best to compose a poem, an honest verse of longing or a simple song of hope. That is why I'm singing... 'Baby don't worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel crying, I'm gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can't, if it just hurts too bad, then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company through those days so long and black. And we'll just keep working on the problem we know we'll never solve of Love's uneven remainders. Our lives are fractions of a whole. But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall. Then I think we would see the beauty. Then we would stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges, like a story told by the fault lines and the soil.'
Is it true what I heard about the Son of God? Did he come to save? Did he come at all? And if I dried his feet, with my dirty hair, would he make me clean again? They say they don't know when but a day is gonna come, when there won't be a moon and there won't be sun. It will just go black. It will just go back to the way it was before. I knew a lovely girl, with such pretty pride, and every man wanted her and so did I. So did I. But she up and died, in a fit of vanity. Now men with purple hearts carry silver guns. And they will kill a man for what his father has done. But what my father did, you know it don't mean shit. I'm not him. So you think I need some discipline, well, I had my share. I have been sent to my room. I've been sat in a chair. And I held my tongue. I didn't plug my ears. No, I got a good talking to. And now I don't know why but I still try to smile when they talk at me like I'm just a child. Well, I'm not a child. No, I am much younger than that. And now I have read some books and I have grown quite brave. If I could just speak up, I think I would say that there is no truth. There is only you and what you make the truth. So I will just sing my songs and I'll pass a hat. Then I'll leave your town and I'll never look back. No, I don't look back because the road is clear and laid out ahead of me. I'll get home and meet my friends at our favorite bar. We'll get some lighter heads for our heavy hearts. And we will share a drink. Yeah, we will share our fears and they will know how I love them. They will know how I love. They will know how I love them. I am nothing without their love. I don't know when but a day is gonna come, when there won't be a moon and there won't be a sun. It will all go black. It will all go back to the way it is supposed to be. Is it true what I heard about the Son of God? Did he die for us? Did he die at all? And if I sold my soul for a bag of gold, to you, which one of us would be the foolish one? Which one of us would be the fool? Which one of us would be the foolish one? Which one of us would be the fool? Could you please start explaining? You know, I need some understanding. I could do good with some explaining. You know, I want to understand.
The future has got me worried, such awful thoughts. My head is a carousel of pictures. The spinning never stops. I just want someone to walk in front and I'll follow the leader. Like when I fell under the weight of a schoolboy crush. I started carrying her books and doing lots of drugs. I almost forgot who I was but came to my senses. Now I try to be assertive. I'm making plans. I want to rise to the occasion, yeah, meet all their demands. But all I do is just lay in bed and hide under the covers. I know I should be brave but I'm just too afraid of all this change. It's too hard to focus through all this doubt. I keep making these 'To Do:' lists but nothing gets crossed out. Even working on the record seems pointless now. When the world ends, who's gonna hear it? But I try and take some comfort in written words, yeah, Tim I heard your album and it's better than good. When you get off tour I think we should hang and black out together. Because I have been feeling sentimental for days gone by...all those summers singing, drinking, laughing, wasting our time. I remember all those songs and the way we smiled in those basements made of music. But now I've got to crawl to get anywhere at all. I'm not as strong as I thought. So when I'm lost in a crowd, I hope that you'll pick me out. Oh, how I long to be found. The grass grew high. I laid down. Now, I wait, for a hand to lift me up, help me stand. I have been laying so low, don't want to lay here know more. I don't want to lay here no more. But if everything that happens is supposed to be and it is all predetermined, you can't change your destiny. Then I guess I'll just keep moving and someday, maybe, I'll get to where I'm going.
Make War 06:16
Our love is dead but without limit, like the surface of the moon or the land between here and the mountains. It is not these hiding places that have kept us innocent but the way you taught me to just let it all go by. So we have learned to be as faithless, stand behind bulletproof glass, exchanging our affections through a drawer. It was always horribly convenient and happening too fast. You should count your change before you are even out the door. Yes, you should but please... Return, return to the person that you were. And I will do the same, because it is too hard to belong to someone who is gone. My compass spins. The wilderness remains. Once too often, I have retreated into the depths of my despair. I built a barricade to block you on the road. But standing there with all of my possessions, piled higher than a house, I felt closer to you then you ever would have known. So let these tiny acts of charity be common ground of which to build a monument to commemorate our time. And though, you say, you've found another who will surely speed you on your way, don't let the forest grow over that you came there by. But you will, so.... Hurry up and run to the one that you love. And blind him with your kindness. And he will make war, old war, on who you were before. And he'll claim all that has spoiled in your heart. Well, now, I tell myself I've mended, under these patches of blue sky. There are still a few holes that let in a little rain. So it is crying on my shingles. My floorboards moan under my feet. The refrigerator is whining, so I've got reason to complain. But I am not gonna bless you with such compliments, some degrading psalm of praise, like the kind that converted you to me so long ago. Because the truth is that gossip is as good as gospel in this town. You can save face but you won't ever save your soul. And that's a fact. Hurry up and run to the one that you love. And tie him up in your likeness. And he'll become, become the prisoner I was. And know all that has spoiled in your heart.
I have a friend; he is mostly made of pain. He wakes up, drives to work, and then straight back home again. He once cut one of my nightmares out of paper. I thought it was beautiful, I put it on a record cover. And I tried to tell him that he had a sense of color and composition so magnificent. And he said, "Thank you, please but your flattery is truly not becoming me. Your eyes are poor. You are blind. You see, no beauty could have come from me. I am a waste of breathe, of space, of time." I knew a woman; she was dignified and true. Her love for her man was one of her many virtues. Until one day, she found out that he had lied and decided the rest of her life, from that point, on would be a lie. But she was grateful for everything that had happened. And she was anxious for all that would come next. But then she wept. What did you expect? In that big, old house with all those cars she kept. "Oh!" and "such is life," she often said. With one day leading to the next, you get a little closer to your death, which was fine with her. She never got upset and with all the days she may have left, she would never clean another mess or fold his shirts or look her best. She was free to waste away alone. Last night, my brother, he got drunk and drove. And this cop he pulled him off to the side of the road. And he said, "Officer! Officer! You have got the wrong man. No, no, I'm a student of medicine, the son of a banker. You don't understand!" The cop said, "No one got hurt, you should be thankful. And your carelessness, it is something awful. And, no, I can't just let you go. And though your father's name is known, your decisions now are yours alone. You are nothing but a stepping stone on a path to debt, to loss, to shame." The last few months I have been living with this couple. Yeah, you know, the kind that buy everything in doubles. They fit together like a puzzle. I love their love and I am thankful that someone actually receives the prize that was promised, by all those fairy tales that drugged us. And they still do me. I'm sick, lonely, no laurel tree, just green envy. Will my number come up eventually? Like Love is some kind of lottery, where you scratch and see what is underneath. It's 'Sorry', just one cherry, 'Play Again'. Get lucky. So, I have been hanging out down by the train's depot. No, I don't ride. I just sit and watch the people there. They remind me of wind-up cars in motion. The way they spin and turn and jockey for positions. And I want to scream out that it all is nonsense. And that their lives are one track and can't they see how it is pointless? But just then, my knees give under me. My head feels weak and, suddenly, it is clear to see that it is not them but me, who has lost my self-identity. As I hide behind these books I read, while scribbling my poetry, like art could save a wretch like me, with some ideal ideology that no one can hope to achieve. And I am never real; it is just a sketch of me. And everything I have made is trite and cheap and a waste of paint, of tape, of time. Sometimes I park my car down by the cathedral, where the floodlights point up at the steeples. Choir practice is filling up with people. I hear the sound escaping as an echo. Sloping off the ceiling at an angle. When the voices blend they sound like angels. I hope there is still some room left in the middle. But when I lift my voice up now to reach them. The range is too high, way up in heaven. So I hold my tongue, forget the song, tie my shoe and start walking off. And try to just keep moving on, with my broken heart and my absent God and I have no faith but it is all I want, to be loved and believe in my soul.
There is a man holding a megaphone, so he must have been the voice of God. The bystanders claimed they saw angels flying up and down the block. Well, they must have been attached to wires. I saw one laying in the lawn with a broken arm, so I called 911. So that is one less founded opinion. One more cause for a dispute. So the street filled like a basin up with cameras and their crews and they washed away the rumors leaving just the concrete truth. It was a spectacle. No, I mean a miracle. So then I fell like that girl from a balance beam. A gymnasium of eyes were all holding on to me. I lifted one foot to cross the other and I felt myself slipping. It was a small mistake. Sometimes that is all it takes. Now I'm staring at my wrist hoping that the timing is right. When the planets will align. There will be no planets to align. Just the carcass of the sun and those little, painted marbles spinning senseless through an endless, black sky. (and so it never started and it will never stop just like I am and you are) It was in a foreign hotel's bathtub I baptized myself in change. And one by one I drowned all of the people I had been. I emerged to find the parallels were fewer. I was cleansed. I looked in the mirror and someone new was there. Still I was as helpless as a chess piece when I was lifted up by someone's hand and delivered from the corner my enemies had got me in. But in all of my salvation I still felt imprisoned inside that holding cell that is myself. So I wait for the day when I'll hear the key as it turns in the lock and the guard will say to me, "Oh my patient prisoner you have waited for this day and finally ... you are free! You are free! You are freezing." Now I'm staring at the sun, waiting for it to explode. Because a day is gonna come, don't know when but it will come and then we will finally know the way out of here. And I will throw away this wrinkled map and my chart of stars and compass, cracked. And I'll climb that tree all wet with sap to avoid the hungry beasts below. I'll cut out my lover's tongue and sing of a graveyard gray and a garden green and then we won't have worry no more. No we won't ever worry again about how this song or story ends, about how this song and story will end.
Laura, are you still living there on that estate of sorrow? You use to leave it occasionally. Now, you don't even bother to ride that commuter train west to Chicago, to stroll through the greenery in the park past the statues. How their eyes seemed to follow you like a hated addiction. Their beauty carved out of absolutes, that you could never claim, or even envision. Laura, you were the saddest song, in the shape of a woman. I thought you were beautiful, but I wept with your movements. I hope you are laughing now from that place of the carpet, where we shared a sleeping bag, in your sister's apartment. Oh, how she would worry so, you know, I was just a stranger. But she asked me to care for you. That is what she did and I went and betrayed her. But do you know we are in high demand, us people who suffer? Because we don't take to arguing and we are quick to surrender. Well, I think that I would call tonight if I still had your number. Your thoughts have always laid close to mine. We were both skipping supper. But you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living. Because it is the ones with the sorest throats, Laura, who have done the most singing. Everybody! La La La-La La La. La La La Lah...
The animals laugh from the dark of the wilderness. A baby cries hard in an apartment complex, as I pass in a car buried under the influence. This city is driving me out of my mind. I have seen a child is caught in the sad trap of gravity. He falls from the lowest branch of the apple tree and lands in the grass and weeps for his dignity. Next time, he will not aim so high. Yeah, next time, neither will I. A mother takes loans out, sends her kids off to colleges. Her family is reduced to names on a shopping list. Meanwhile, a coroner kneels beneath a great, wooden crucifix. He knows that there are worse things than being alone. I have learned to retreat at the first sign of danger. I mean, why wait around if it is just to surrender? Ambition, I have found, can lead only to failure. I do not read the reviews. No, I am not singing for you. I stood dropping a coin into the pit of a well. And I would throw my whole billfold if I thought it would help. With all these wishes I make, I should buy something real, at least a telephone call home. My teachers, they built this retaining wall memory, all those multiple choices I answered so quickly. And got my grades back and forgot, just as easily, but at least I got an A. So I don't have them to blame. I should stop pointing fingers; reserve my judgment of all those public action figures, the cowboy president. So loud behind the bullhorn, so proud they can't admit when they have made a mistake. While poison ink spews from a speechwriter's pen, he knows that he don't have to say it, so it don't bother him. 'Honesty' 'Accuracy' are really just 'Popular Opinion'. And the approval rating is high, so someone is going to die. ABC, NBC, CBS: Bullshit. They give us fact or fiction? I guess an even split. And each new act of war is tonight's entertainment. We are still the pawns in their game. As they take eye for an eye, until no one can see, and we must stumble blindly forward, repeating history. Well, I guess that we all fit into your slogan on that fast food marquee: Red-blooded, White-skinned, oh, and the Blues. I got the Blues! I got the Blues! That's me! That's me! Well, I awoke in relief. My sheets and tubes were all tangled, weak from whiskey and pills, in a Chicago hospital. My father was there, in a chair, by the window, staring so far away. I tried talking, just whispered, " selfish..." He stopped me and said, "Child, I love you regardless and there is nothing you could do that would ever change this. I'm not angry. It happens. You just can't do it again." So now, I try to keep up, I have been exchanging my currency. While a million objects pass through my periphery. So now I am rubbing my eyes because they are starting to bother me. I have been staring too long at the screen. But where was it when I first heard that sweet song of humility? It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody. How grateful I was then to be part of the mystery, to love and to be loved. Lets just hope that is enough.


for Collin.


released November 4, 2016

Remastered by Bob Ludwig. Originally released 2002.


Drum Corps (II-IX, XI-XIII)
Clark Baechle
Matt Focht
Clay Leverett
Clint Schnase
Mike Sweeney

Musicians (I-IX, XI-XIII)
Todd Baechle- voice (XI)
Clark Baechle- clarinet (III, VI, VIII)
Chris Brooks- piano (XI)
Gretta Cohn- cello (III, V, VII, XII)
Sean Cole- harmonica (IX, XIII)
Julee Dunekacke-french horn (III)
Margret Fish-bassoon (III, XIII)
Orenda Fink- trumpet, voice (II, III, VII, XI, XIII)
Jason Flatowicz- trombone (III, XIII)
Tiffany Kowalski- violin (III, V, VII, XII)
Jiha Lee- flute, voice (III, VI, VIII, XI)
Andy LeMaster- electric guitar, keyboards, voice (II-IV, VI-VIII, XI)
Clay Leverett- voice (IX)
Jenny Lewis- voice (I)
Matt Maginn- bass (II, IV-VII, XI)
Mike Mogis- banjo, bells, hammer dulcimer, vibraphone, glockenspiel, mandolin, electric guitar, mandolin, doboro, pedal steel (II-IX, XI-XIII)
Katie Muth- oboe (III, VI, VIII, XII)
Conor Oberst- guitar, piano, rhodes, organ, voice (I-XIII)
Casey Scott- bass (III, VIII, IX, XII, XIII)
Blake Sennett- voice (I)
Ted Stevens- electric guitar (IX)
Maria Taylor- piano, organ, voice (II, III, IV, VIII, XII, XIII)

Choir (III)
Clark Baechle
Todd Baechle
Orenda Fink
Jiha Lee
Andy LeMaster
A.J. Mogis
Maria Taylor

Horn and String Arrangements by Andy Lemaster, Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst, and the players.

Diorama by Zack Nipper
Lineocuts by Kaite Murphy
Art Layout by Matt Maginn

This recording was made in December 2001 and January 2002
Engineered by Andy LeMaster and Mike Mogis
Mixed by Mike Mogis
All of this was done at Presto! in Lincoln, NE.

Mastered by the very patient Doug Van Sloan at Studio B in Omaha, NE.

Booking by Eric Dimenstein at Ground Control Touring,

All Songs 2002 Sony / ATV Sounds LLC / Bedrooms; Bedrooms and Spiders (SESAC)


all rights reserved



Bright Eyes Omaha, Nebraska

Bright Eyes are the Omaha, Nebraska based band consisting of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nathaniel Walcott.


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