Flashback Friday: Bright Eyes

Here at HIP Video Promo, we’ve been working hard to promote music videos since the year 2000. It’s important to us to help younger and independent artists get the recognition they deserve, and it’s exciting to be on the ground floor with artists that become household names (and with over 3000 videos under our belts in 18 years, there are quite a few). Every Friday, we’ll be sharing a “Flashback Friday” video, where we get to reflect on one of our favorite videos from a few years ago.

Bright Eyes is not just a band but a feeling that encapsulates the power of music. Bright Eyes is composed of Conor Oberst (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass), Mike Mogis (banjo, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, electric guitar, 1997 – present), and Nate Walcott (organ, trumpet, accordion, keytar, 2004 – present). Formed in 1995, we promoted some of their first videos here at HIP Video Promo and we were amazed that our client transformed into lyrical legends of their time.

Bright Eyes combined indie folk, indie rock, contemporary folk, indietronica and alt-country elements that gave them a sound that had never been done before- and never will be. This band had an otherworldly feel while they touched on topics about romance and angst from their distinct point of view that felt universal but oddly subjective. Conor was always stellar at pointing out what is wrong in society and bringing common, middle-class America issues to light. Through rambling lyrics that turn into mini-novels, dripping in pathos and drama, his songs flowed like poetry.

Check out some of the lyrics from “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”:

“I want a lover I don’t have to love
I want a boy who’s so drunk he doesn’t talk
Where’s the kid with the chemicals?
I got a 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”

Not only were his words beautiful, but his vocal delivery accented it. He could turn his voice into a grotesque yelp, beautifully breaking his voice to sonically represent the building tension. Paired with a great ear for melody, Oberst’s songs acted as testaments and cries for help as he tried to find who he was in times of great discomfort. This dichotomy turned his demons and troubles into something beautiful that others could identify with. Bright Eyes have always expressed feelings that people have had no way to properly communicate- creating powerful internal worlds we could all escape to. Some fans even called them a lifestyle- complete with a secret language shared among friends. As we look through Conor Oberst’s rose-tinted glasses we see ourself in our most intimate moments.

2005 marks the first video we promoted from Bright Eyes when they came to us with “First Day Of My Life.” This was their most commercially successful song and their breakout hit. This has been deemed one of the best love songs of all time due to the slow pacing, beautiful piano, heightened vocal delivery and simple but lingering lyrics. It gives the listener a good taste of what one can expect in a Bright Eyes album: love and a really funny way of saying it.

Watch “First Day of My Life” here:

We also promoted another video in the same year, “EASY/LUCKY/FREE”. Building upon their vast arrays of talent and symbolism, this was the likely second choice as Oberst calls out in a burst of guitars to be free from all worldly possessions and obsessions.

Watch “EASY/LUCKY/FREE” here:

The “EASY/LUCKY/FREE” video embodies destruction as the bridge grows tireless and the chorus screams, “don’t you weep.” The lyrics are paradoxical as it fades out to the repeated chant, “there is nothing,” and ends without a conclusion to draw upon.

But don’t be fooled by the light production, the lyrics are certainly dark:

“I’ve got some friends I barely see
But we’re all planning to meet
We’ll lay in bags as dead as leaves
All together for eternity”

This is what makes Conor Oberst the man, the myth, and the legend. Throughout the years Bright Eyes have released nine studio-albums including their most popular works Fevers and Mirrors in 2000, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil in 2002, Keep Your Ear to the Ground in 2002, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning in 2005, and Cassadaga in 2007. Both of the albums in 2005 debuted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 and the laid-back I’m Wide Awake single “Lua” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and they also got the honor to headline the Hollywood Bowl in 2007.

Bright Eyes are not a traditional band- they blended a whole mesh of influences to make them incredibly unique. Boarding on spoken poetry, no one portrays teen angst quite like their complex and beautiful stanzas turned lyrics. Their albums hold the tales of growing up complete with awkwardness and deeply internalized sadness. Through their beautiful cathartic release of raw emotions, listeners feel a deep sense of connection as their deepest insecurities are brought to light and celebrated. Conor Oberst, whether he knew it or not, has become a legend in the indie world and has influenced thousands of acts while inspiring people to transcend their depression. To make sadness into something intrinsically beautiful is a hard mountain to climb and he sits humbly at the top looking back on his art that has become attached to many fan’s lives. Crossing paths with Bright Eyes changes people and speaks to the darkest parts of their soul without saying too little or too much.


 

We’ve been big fans of Bright Eyes for a long time, and we can’t wait to see what budding artist becomes the next break-out star. Do you think your video has what it takes to be the next worldwide smash hit? Get in touch with Andy Gesner and the rest of the HIP Video Promo team by giving us a call at (732)-613-1779 or emailing us at info@HIPVideoPromo.com.