I thought, heading into my first listen of Bright Eyes’ new album Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, that I’d be transported back to the early 2000s, my college years, the years I first became acquainted with Bright Eyes. I was not. I was not transported to any place or time because Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is so helplessly tied to this place, and this time, even though Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nate Walcott got started on the record 3 years ago.
Maybe 3 years is equal to yesterday. Maybe every atrocity, every embarrassment, every casual act of indifference to human suffering documented over the course of the Trump presidency telegraphed itself the moment he was sworn in, and only people in tune with awful cosmic energies surrounding us at all times could sense it. From start to finish, this is one of those “oopsie” works of pop culture that’s totally of the now but has nothing to do with it.
I’m going to keep thinking about this record for the rest of 2020 and beyond. If you listen to it, you might to. In the meantime you can read my review over at Paste Magazine.