Top Five Tuesday :: But life’s no story book

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Top Five Tuesday :: Bright Eyes

Although I could make a case for having this just be my top five songs from Conor Oberst, I decided today that I wanted to narrow the choices to his music under the guise of Bright Eyes. This did not make my song selection any easier to accomplish, I must say, as there are so many Bright Eyes songs that hit me hard and stay inside me, spinning around, speaking to my soul and sticking around as part of my life long soundtrack. Bright Eyes music came to life for me during a certain musical rite of passage, or at least that is how I see the time now. It was during a time in my life where my music taste took a turn, and where I found myself falling in love with bands and albums in a way that I had not done since adolescence. This re-ignited passion has never dimmed, or faltered, since then which I am grateful for, if anything, it has grown. The bands and albums from that crossroads in my musical history, they all hold such significance to me, and that impact makes it very hard to select five songs to call favorites, but here is my best try at picking five.

Here we go, get comfortable, turn the music up, and sing-a-long if you are so inclined:

5. Lover I Don’t Have to Love

So it’s up the stairs and out of view,
no prying eyes.
I poured some wine.
I asked your name you asked the time.
Now it’s two o’clock,
the club is closed we’re up the block,
your hands on me,
I’m pressing hard against your jeans,
your tongue in my mouth,
trying to keep the words from coming out
.”

We hid in the stair well backstage, trying to stay out of sight, trying to keep quiet, trying to keep it all a secret. Whispers turned to your hand on my mouth turned to our lips pressed together turned to a chapter that still remains unnamed (and mostly unwritten). You slipped a key into my palm and said “keep it”, though I have only used it once.

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4. Landlocked Blues

And Laura’s asleep in my bed.
As I’m leaving she wakes up and says,
‘I dreamed you were carried away on the crest of a wave.
Baby, don’t go away, come here
‘”

It was the night before running away, back across the country, back to what I knew. We had been at odds, kneeling in a bathroom for a moment’s privacy, me in tears and frustrations trying to get you to speak, to say something. But that night before, that last night together there, I asked you to not let me go, but you did not hear me, or perhaps chose not to listen.

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3. Gold Mine Gutted

And the smoke came out our mouths,
on all those hooded sweatshirt walks.
We were a stroke of luck.
We were a goldmine and they gutted us
.”

You held my hand as we ran across the campus, breathless, hearts pounding, racing away from nothing, and everything. We were not supposed to be there, not together at least, but we were there, together, with shared pulse points and confessions. I know I had my reasons and I sure know you had yours, but for a stolen moment it felt like luck was in our favor.

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2. If the Brakeman Turns My Way

I tried to pass for nothing,
but my dreams gave me away
.”

Those lyrics, another tattoo somewhere in the future, along with the lyrics “she sends her regards“, this song weaved its way into my subconscious and became part of my writing voice for quite a few years. There is still so much of me buried in this song, so much of how I have been and felt and seen myself. I have tried so hard to deny who I am, to run far away from myself, but my dreams, and my written words, they always give me away.

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1. Lua

And I’m not sure what the trouble was that started all of this,
the reasons all have run away,
but the feeling never did.
It’s not something I would recommend,
but it is one way to live.
Cause what is simple in the moonlight by the morning never is
.”

One of my all-time favorite songs, a song I feel I could have written about my own life back during a certain time in the past, gone, but never forgotten. It was no way to live, but I do not regret the life I led, the lessons learned, the people I knew and loved, and still do. I was lost as lost can be, clawing and crawling among so much wreck and ruin and decay, chasing for feeling and for numb and chasing to be caught; sometimes it feels so close as if it was just yesterday, that girl I used to be.

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5 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday :: But life’s no story book

  1. I first encountered Conor Oberst on the tribute album to John Prine – “Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows”. He’s got a nice plaintive voice.

      1. Yes, I actually prefer it to Prine’s version. And for someone who practically worships Prine, that’s saying something.

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