Bright Eyes

The Twentieth Day of Mellowmas: Turn Around, Bright Eyes

Jason: Well, Jeff, Christmas is almost here.

Jeff: Thank God. Every year, I write “MELLOWMAS IS OVER” on a little piece of paper, I put it in a box, and that’s my Christmas present.

Jason: For me, it means I only have a little time left to listen to all of the Christmas music I’ve collected in 2013. As you know, I listen to, and rate, every song that comes my way.

Jeff: That reminds me — I need to send you a new copy of the Bootsy Collins Christmas record to replace the one you lost.

Jason: With the exception of that record, of course.

I honestly don’t know why I do it anymore. It’s not like I need more Christmas music. It’s a compulsion.

Jeff: I imagine you’re doing it as a desperate attempt to hang onto the spirit of Christmas, which has been ruined by this thing we do every December.

Jason: You’re probably right on both counts. I think the worst part of it is that I download all of these collections from independent sources, and half the time, it’s not even worth the first listen. I like Sufjan Stevens, but getting through his Christmas box set almost killed me last year.

Jeff: I think our friend Zach Curd at Suburban Sprawl puts together a solid Christmas mix, but other than that, I don’t even bother downloading them. You need to stop.

Jason: I will. I promise. This is the last year. I just need to get through this Bright Eyes disc.

Jeff: No you don’t. Stop it. Bright Eyes is lame, Jason.

Jason: That may be true, but it’s in my iTunes library now! What am I supposed to do? “Lose” it?

Jeff: I don’t care what you do with it, as long as I don’t have to li…wait a minute. This has all been an elaborate ruse to get me to listen to Bright Eyes’ Christmas album, hasn’t it?
You fucker.

Jason: *indie leprechaun dance*

Jeff: So what do we get? “Vintage Bells”? “Oh Upcycled Town of Bethlehem”?

Jason: We get a take on the Elvis Presley classic “Blue Christmas.”

Jeff: Hold on, I’m pointing my browser at Etsy and cutting myself in the jugular with the corner of my laptop.

Jason: Jesus Christ, he starts singing in a different key from the actual track.

Jeff: I think I’ve told you before that I hate this song, right? Anyone could sing it and I’d hate it.

Jason: You’ve told me “I hate this song” every day in December for the past 7 years.

Jeff: That said, I really am not happy about listening to this particular version. Is he kidding with this?

Jason: I don’t know, Jeff. I think this gives the original’s tale of unrequited love a properly Oberst-ian performance, Elvis’ croon traded for a stagy, sniveling sneer.
Ha ha ha! Look at me, I’m a Pitchfork writer! Check out my porkpie hat and beard!

What a great solo. It’s ironic that the two guitars aren’t in the same key, GET IT?

Jeff: It makes me sad that some people like this. We cover a lot of strange, terrible stuff during Mellowmas, but at least most of it represents people performing to the best of their ability.

Jason: Oh look, he covers “Silent Night,” too.

Jeff: Covers it in a gingham frock he picked up at the flea market?

Jason: Only one way to find out.

Jason: Oh dear God.

Jeff: Is this the worst?

Jason: I THINK I HEAR A SINGING SAW

Jeff: *gasp* I THINK YOU’RE RIGHT

Jason: Either that or it’s the howl of Dorothy Finch‘s latest prey.

Jeff: This is worse than Tom McRae’s version of “Wonderful Christmastime.”

Jason: I remember that one! I wish I didn’t, but I do!

Jeff: I also bear the scars of that performance. But I hate this more.

Jason: Don’t you get this, Jeff? Don’t you get what he’s trying to say here?

Jeff: “Fuck you”? Who plays this during the holidays?

Jason: People who hate the holidays?
People who hate themselves?
People who hate melody?
People who hate rhythm?

Jeff: Also, what is that weird gurgling noise at the bottom of the mix?

Jason: Oh god! That’s DISGUSTING! It seriously made my stomach feel weird.

Jeff: This is what you get when you let people from Nebraska make music. Bright Eyes and 311, Jason.

Jason: Well, now I know one thing about 311.

Jeff: I guess we can be thankful that 311 hasn’t made a Christmas album…yet, that I know of, and I’m not looking to see if I’m wrong.

Jason: You know what’s messed up? This record actually came out in 2002.

Jeff: You should have stopped at “came out.”

Jason: This is its “widespread release” according to Pitchfork, a website I prided myself never, ever visiting until today. Which means that SOMEBODY DEMANDED A WIDESPREAD RELEASE OF THIS RECORD. And you know what? It was probably our readers.

Jeff: It’s a big scary world out there, my friend.

Jason: I hate everybody and everything. Which oddly makes this record now perfect for me.

Jeff: Some people are tired of listening to music that sounds like people knew they were being recorded, and I guess they deserve a Christmas album too.

Jason: That’s very kind of you, buddy. Today is the day I start drinking.

Jeff: Take a tip from someone who knows: It doesn’t make Bright Eyes sound any better.




  • http://sportsmyriad.com Beau

    I think my ears have declined since my music theory classes. I couldn’t hear the different keys. I’m not a fan of Blue Christmas, but that didn’t sound any worse than any other rendition. The Elvis version is nauseating.

    Silent Night was just an excuse to say he’s had a singing saw and talking drum on the same track. Wheeee.

  • Jay

    Oy, I can’t play it yet but I’m getting the turn of the century blues nonetheless. A steady decline of interest in new bands begins in the last few years of the my 20s and I’m saying things like “I can hear his beard” (Iron and Wine) and “this guy sounds like Ian Broudie” (Ben Gibbard). I’m losing my edge to the kids, and I’m fine with that if this is what it sounds like now.

    White belts and aviators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679113018 MichaelWSP

    The solo guitar is not in a different key. It’s just in official Indie Rock “I am too cool for A=440″ tuning. Modest Mouse is also big into this tuning,

    Why do people like this person’s music? I just do not get it. I have never gotten it.

  • Jay

    Okay. That was some bullshit.

  • http://popdose.com MatthewBolin

    That’s not how you do an intentionally bad guitar solo! THIS is how you do it! Go hard or go home!(Solo starts at 1:08): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkQ0tpQmobc

  • kingofgrief

    Man. Bright Eyes AND racist homophobe duck molesters. This is the most Mellowmas ever.

  • Whistler

    I admit I love the Blue Christmas cover as it brings the actual “blue”s to it, but the album itself is the lamest attempt at Christmas cashgrab since that Olivia Newton John/Travolta travesty. I would bet this album is the reason for most Xmas suicides, because nothing screams “merry” more than Oberst’s constipated voice.

  • Speedy Pepper

    Holy geez! Did you hear the way “Silent Night” ended???!!! With the “needle” ironically running out in the “inner groove?” Even if this douchebag understood the meaning of the word “irony” (as he laughingly thinks he does) this is still throat-punch worthy.

  • arensb

    Why do people like this person’s music?

    Because you (and also their parents, I’m guessing) don’t.