The Happiest Place on Earth

Saddle Creek

This three-track single is the first offering from Bright Eyes main man Conor Oberst’s new side-project. It seems the child prodigy wants to take some time off from his lyrical/bitter public self-examinations, and has chosen this format — pretty straightforward emo-core — to lash out against society’s faults and shortcomings. And the title track is certainly not lacking in potential controversy, especially in times like these — Conor starts off by ensuring us that he “want[s] to pledge allegiance to the country where I live/I don’t want to be ashamed to be American,” before harshly and angrily tearing out against education, poverty, industrial pollution and the rest. “The bombs burst in the air/There was a city once, now nothing is there/Our freedom comes at their expense.” Not the number one Christmas single of the year, then.

Those of you familiar with Conor’s previous venture into emo-core land — the exciting Commander Venus — will not be surprised to learn of his ability to rock out hard. However, the brilliant Fevers & Mirrors still stands as his last great effort — maybe I’ve come to expect too much from him? Hopefully the full-length Desaparecidos album, due out sometimes next year, will be a more exciting affair — Conor is one of the sharpest lyricists around today, and if he succeeds in taking on society, we may very well have a true gem on our hands.

Saddle Creek Records:

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