Album Review

Conor Oberst: Salutations and the Setting Self

Conor Oberst - Salutations

I support recycling paper, aluminum cans and glass. I don't support artists (re)selling their music to their fans a second time.

More a wordy, self-conscious, name-dropping, pretentious essay than a review of an actual album.

By my reckoning it has something to do with the maturation of the creative process and how some wear it well (e.g., Conor Oberst) and others (e.g., Ryan Adams) not so much. 

Actually, I thought it was a good review and it's refreshing to read someone write about music in larger aesthetic and cultural terms rather than simply comparing music to music.  As a writer myself, I know that that can be really boring.  It's a rather good piece of writing, and personally I'm ok with references to Sylvia Plath and Kierkegaardian leaps of faith.  Pop is eating itself enough already.  Broader points of reference can only be a good thing.

I suppose it depends on what you expect a review to be...I like the last paragraph especially, which describes the creative process well...why it is so difficult to get to something good...Jackson Browne once described songwriting as "a way of excavating your understanding.  It's a way of talking about what matters, and eventually you can see what it is that's coming up".  You may start off not knowing what you are writing about...but you figure it out as you go...

As for reviews, they are still opinion pieces...I personally agree with the reviewer about Ryan Adams...while I like "Prisoner" pretty well, lyrically the themes are not what I liked about the earlier Ryan Adams, or perhaps they are the same but seem to be less 'authentic" at this point ...I was thinking he'd regressed lyrically rather than failed to ripen well over time...I do think the record grows on you some as you listen...but the reviewer mentions comparative records "Love Is Hell" and "29" as being examples of his melancholy and self loathing being very effective, whereas later on "Prisoner" it's a tougher sell...to that end, I'd say that I recently saw an article (in Paste I believe) where a reviewer ranked Ryan's 16 solo albums from best to worst..."Love Is Hell" was indeed very high on the list (Heartbreaker, his first solo record, was #1), but "29", whom Mr. Amen (great last name) places in the same category, was at the very bottom, 16th out of 16...I'd rather read this piece than the list piece...it's strikes me as being pretty well thought out...just me.  As for the artist selling his record in two formats, it doesn't bother me much...with the old music business model you could cynically say the record company is trying to sell me the same thing they already sold me as a money grab...given the current state or model of the "music business", if an artist is doing two versions, that comes at a cost...Conor is not selling like Ed Sheeran...I doubt there's much financial gain to be had there...some folks will want it though...

This reads like a bad college term paper. Find a reviewer who can tell us what this record sounds like please.

Me? I just came here to rag on a reviewer who wrote something he probably didn't get paid to write and I didn't pay to read!