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Bright EyesCassadaga

Bright Eyes - Cassadaga album cover
Label:Saddle Creek – LBJ-103
Format:
2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:US
Released:
Genre:Rock
Style:Country Rock, Indie Rock

Tracklist

A1Clairaudients (Kill Or Be Killed)
Arranged By [Orchestra]Nate Walcott
ConductorSuzie Katayama
Glockenspiel, Guitar [Pedal Steel], VibraphoneMike Mogis
PercussionClark Baechle
Recorded By [Hassan Lemtouni's Vocals]Louis Schefano
A2Four Winds
Electric PianoNate Walcott
Guitar [12-string], MandolinMike Mogis
ViolinAnton Patzner
A3If The Brakeman Turns My Way
Guitar [Pedal Steel]Mike Mogis
PianoConor Oberst
B1Hot Knives
Arranged By [Orchestra]Nate Walcott
ConductorBill Meyers
Guitar [Dobro]Mike Mogis
PianoNate Walcott
B2Make A Plan To Love Me
Arranged By [Orchestra]Nate Walcott
ConductorSuzie Katayama
B3Soul Singer In A Session Band
Guitar [Lap Steel]Mike Mogis
PianoNate Walcott
ViolinAnton Patzner
B4Classic Cars
PianoNate Walcott
C1Middleman
Arranged By [Woodwinds]Nate Walcott
Clarinet [Bass]Brian Walsh (2), David Moyer
Guitar [Baritone, Lap Steel]Mike Mogis
C2Cleanse Song
Arranged By [Woodwinds]Nate Walcott
ClarinetBrian Walsh (2)
FluteSarah Wass
Guitar [Lap Steel]Mike Mogis
OboeMyka Miller
UkuleleMike Mogis
C3No One Would Riot For Less
Arranged By [Strings]Nate Walcott
ConductorBill Meyers
Guitar [Pedal Steel]Mike Mogis
D1Coat Check Dream Song
Electric PianoNate Walcott
ElectronicsJohn McEntire
Guitar [Pedal Steel], VibraphoneMike Mogis
Recorded By [Hassan Lemtouni's Vocals]Louis Schefano
D2I Must Belong Somewhere
Guitar [Dobro], MandolinMike Mogis
D3Lime Tree
Arranged By [Strings]Nate Walcott
ConductorBill Meyers
SynthesizerConor Oberst
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Credits

Notes

A1 recorded at Supernatural Sound (Portland, OR); additional tracking at The Boat (Los Angeles, CA), Capitol Studios (Los Angeles), and ARC Studios (Omaha, NE). Mixed at ARC Studios.
A2 recorded at Presto! (Lincoln, NE). Mixed at ARC Studios.
A3 recorded and mixed at ARC Studios.
B1 recorded at Supernatural Sound; additional tracking at The Boat, Capitol Studios, and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
B2 recorded at Frosty the Studio; additional tracking at The Boat, Capitol Studios, and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
B3 recorded at Supernatural Sound; additional tracking at Presto! and The Boat. Mixed at The Boat.
B4 recorded at Stratosphere Sound (NYC); additional tracking at The Boat. Mixed at ARC Studios.
C1 recorded at Presto!; additional tracking at Soma (Chicago, IL), The Boat and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
C2 recorded at Presto!; additional tracking at Soma, The Boat, and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
C3 recorded at Stratosphere Sound; additional tracking at The Boat, Capitol Studios, and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
D1 recorded at Presto!; additional tracking at Soma, The Boat, and ARC Studios.
D2 recorded at Presto!; additional tracking at ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.
D3 recorded at Presto!; additional tracking at Capitol Studios, The Boat, and ARC Studios. Mixed at ARC Studios.

Includes a lyric insert; a lenticular "spectral decoder" for viewing the hidden cover artwork; a code for downloading the album in MP3 format.

First pressing of the album from 2007 has the song titles on the insert in NON-italic print at the same size as the lyrics. Second pressing (2009) and third pressing (2012) have the song titles that ARE in italics, and at a slightly larger size than the lyrics.

[email protected] in runout grooves

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 648401010312

Other Versions (5 of 17)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Cassadaga (2×LP, Album, Limited Edition, 7", Single, Limited Edition)Saddle Creek, Saddle CreekLBJ-103, LBJ-103-AUS2007
Recently Edited
Cassadaga (CD, Album, Super Jewel Box)Polydor1732010Europe2007
Recently Edited
Cassadaga (CD, Album, Limited Edition, Digipak)Polydor1725978Europe2007
New Submission
Cassadaga (CD, Album, Digipak, CD, Mini, All Media, Limited Edition)Saddle CreekLBJ-103US2007
Cassadaga (2×LP, Album)Polydor1726707Europe2007

Reviews

  • IndianaParkWars's avatar
    12/12

    I discovered this album after watching Phoebe Bridgers' "What's in the Bag" video and hearing her talk about this album. I also previously discovered Bright Eyes through her. After hearing "Down in the Weeds" many times and listening to various live performances, I decided to listen to this album. My initial listen was similar to that of "Punisher" or "Down in the Weeds", where I felt kind of indifferent but the more I listened, the more I exponentially adored the album. As of now, I think I've listened to this album 10-15 times.

    It is a fantastic album that strangely blends different styles, which is why I think I adore it so much. It's mostly alternative rock/indie rock, but seems to blend alternative country and folks and incorporates symphonic and experimental elements.

    Bangers: "Clairaudients", “Four Winds”, “If the Brakeman Turns My Way”, “Hot Knives”, “Make a Plan to Love Me”, “Soul Singer in a Session Band”, “Classic Cars”, “Middleman”, “Cleanse Song”, “No One Would Riot For Less”, “Coat Check Dream Song”, “I Must Belong Somewhere”
    "Clairaudients" starts off the album with tuning violins that are masked by a circular atmospheric sound that twists and turns the sound while a woman speaks over everything. It sounds like archival audio from a radio show. In love how strange this is. The strangest part is that this song sets a really strange and creepy tone for the album, as if it would be a psychedelic album; but, it's an indie rock album. What I enjoy about this set up is that it creates a sort of existential, lowkey disturbing tone that comes up throughout the album.
    Overall, this album feels very depressing and introspective. The lyrics "I thought you knew the drill, kill or be killed", "snowman built at the end of June", and "draw another bloody bath to drain" set up this cynical tone.
    "Four Winds" is one of the catchiest songs on the album but the tone switches from this eclectic symphonic song to an alternative country song. However, the creepiness subtly continues as the music video is almost a stagefright nightmare manifested out of anxiety where the band plays on stage and slowly gets booed and screamed at and things thrown at them. It's funny but the monochrome effect makes it feel like a Twilight Zone episode and the pure uncomofortability of Oberst as people heckle him feels very self-degrading, especially with lyrics like “The Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Qu’ran is mute, if you burned them all together you’d get close to the truth” and “there are bodies decomposing in containers tonight”. The point of the song seems to criticize politics, war, religion, and how evil they all are. But, it almost feels suicidal, disguised as a pop song.
    “If the Brakeman Turns My Way” turns into an alternative country ballad that’s sweet but continues that suicidal feeling in the previous song. This song seems to be about drug use with lyrics like “All your friends and sedatives mean well but make it worse”, “panic grips your body and your heart is a hummingbird”, and “gonna find myself somewhere to level out.” The creepy tone in the first song seems to intensify with each one and represent more struggles.
    “Hot Knives” is one of those immediate hits and I like how this song transitions from the alternative country feel to a symphonic indie rock song. But, the content of the lyrics are about a woman going through a bit of a crisis after being cheated on, feeling spiritually lost, and how she’s going to turn a new leaf and change her life.
    “Make a Plan to Love Me” continues that symphonic feel and the intro starts off like a song out of the Fargo soundtrack. Then, it becomes a very sweet-sounding ballad about a man begging to be loved and given attention.
    “Soul Singer in a Session Band” continues into the country feel, sounding like a song you’d hear in a western bar. Going along with every track on this album, this song continues the idea of loneliness and ostracization as per a “white elephant” scenario with the wrong type of lead singer of a band. The previous tracks cover this cynical and dark way of looking at the world and how people treat each other and how it creates a burdening sense of loneliness in your own life. This song continues this theme but in a happier-sounding way, almost satirically. Each track either comes off as a ballad or an upbeat alternative country song, but the lyrics are so deep and depressing. However, this track finds a way to turn it around into a more hopeful tone.
    “Classic Cars” is a great hit and pop song. It follows the alternative country style and almost feels exactly like a Bruce Springsteen song. With the last song bringing a humorous and hopeful tone, this song really encompasses that. It’s catchy and happy and the lyrics, while very cynical, are almost reminiscent and yearning for his memories with this woman he talks about. However, the song lyrically progresses into a breakup song that feels completely broken and hopeless. This song is almost like someone thinking about happy memories and then coming back to reality to find themselves even more sad.
    “Middleman” fascinates me because it’s completely different from the country rock or indie rock style of the other songs. The country style intensified greatly in this song, sounding more like an Americana/Roots song of the south, that you’d hear as a “journeying through the mountains” kind of song. The song really feels like a journey and transition into something new and expansive. The lyrics describe this feel in the first line saying “I traveled through the atmosphere”. In this psychological journey of depression, self-criticism, and cynicism, “Middleman” takes a new turn, as per a journey, into a new mindset and new feeling. The lyrics describe being a “middleman” and “gray areas” and “the “I don’t know”, the “maybe so”. His emotions have settled in a sort of neutrality, almost like he had an epiphany or reality check to get him out of the slump. But, he’s not in a better state of mind. He’s acknowledging that he’s just in a gray area of indifference and the pridefulness of this song describe his acceptance as he says this gray area is “fine” and “the only real, the only true, the only real reply”.
    So, if “Middleman” was a journey from a low state into a gray state, then the journey continues, towards a better state of mind and release of negative emotions with “Cleanse Song”, which is titularly a detox or cleanse of emotions. In the song he describes seeing the phrase “start over” written in sidewalk chalk. He’s now come to a new beginning in his life as he describes self-care and positivity like laughing when life is absurd, or sleeping and getting clean, talking a walk, screaming at the beach, eating fruit from a tree, etc. He adds little punches of cynicism with lyrics like “is it bitter or sweet” and “your wife gave birth to a funeral dirge”. But, the song is happier and more hopeful overall. Musically, it starts off with a sampled and atmospheric beach sound and the instrumentation moves its country-rooted Americana style to a sort of tropical Paul Simon kind of Americana that you may hear at a beach or resort. It’s carefree and pleasant, just like his newfound emotions present in the lyrics.
    “No One Would Riot For Less” follows as another ballad. Since the previous song was light and hopeful, there’s going to be a withdrawal as he comes down from this high. Now, the song feels like drained emotions and becomes depressing again. The lyrics contemplate how death can be immediate and silent and that hell is coming. With death and hell on the horizon, he says he’s leaving because no where else is safe, but all he wants is “you”, a person he calls “baby”, which we can assume is the woman he’s mentioned throughout the album. With this, we can realize all of his passion, grief, and depression comes from this woman and how he can’t have her, whether she died or dumped him. To reinforce this theme, a female voice with a reverb and echo angelically hums in the background, representing this sort of spirit of a woman that haunts him. With the sinking feeling, this can also refer to the wandering mind and atmospheric, surrounding thoughts of one laying in bed at night, thinking themselves to death. I specifically picture this to be at night because it’s almost like the previous song was spent walking around during the day and now that he’s come down from euphoria, he’s laying at alone in bed at night ruminating and sulking.
    “Coat Check Dream Song” follows this narrative of laying in bed at night into his dreams. With “dream” in the title and the swirling, whooshing sort of sound this song has, we can assume it represents his dreams. Some of these lyrics are surreal or very dense, so it makes me think these are all memories and ideas being processed throughout the rest of the album. Almost as if everything so far is just going through the sifter of his mind.
    Now, “I Must Belong Somewhere” feels like another Bruce Springsteen song with the organ and roots-sound. It feels like “waking up” and being hopeful again. He talks about leaving everything behind. “No One Would Riot for Less” talked about leaving and imminent death and “Coat Check Dream Song” seemed to process a lot of these feelings, so “I Must Belong Somewhere” is now his realization that he does have to leave. The lyrics use the anaphora of “leave the” where he talks about leaving everything behind and moving on. This may be physically moving to a new place or leaving his memories and emotions behind to take control of his life again. The title is almost another satirical one, where he’s being optimistic and negative at the same time. He’s not completely confident in himself and he doesn’t know where he belongs, but he admits that he must belong “somewhere”. And with much of this album, he presents a political cynicism within the lyrics “leave the poor black child in his crumbling school today” and “leave the hawks of war in their capitals”.
    To finalize the album, “Lime Tree” concludes this emotional journey. The previous song was satirically and cynically hopeful, and “Lime Tree” feels low, but not necessarily depressed or hopeless. It feels more bittersweet or somber. The song itself feels soft and sweet, but not necessarily too sad or dreary. However, there is a guitar or bass motif that occurs throughout, that is almost a reminder that not everything is okay. It’s a simple two-note drop but makes the song more subtly ominous than one would expect.
    With the lyrics, they’re very melancholy talking about rivers that never lead to oceans, everything good being imaginary, beautiful music being from another time, and messages saying “it’s done”. Everything he says is diminishing and dissociative. It’s like he’s stayed up all night, as he describes it being 8am, and he’s kind of lost it all, in a numbing way. He talks about missing her too much and feeling alone, which brings us back to his motivation and grief throughout the whole album: this woman in his life. But, he knows he can’t have her. He’s reflecting on this and how the more he lives in this cycle, the smaller everything in his life becomes and the less he feels and emotes.
    But, the turning point in the song is sitting under the lime tree, eponymously, as he examines the fruit. Previously he examined fruit in “Cleanse Song” when he was celebrating the joy of simply eating a fruit from the tree and pondering if it was bitter or sweet. Well, sitting under the lime tree he says “there will never be a time more opportune” as he is under the tree of a bittersweet fruit. Just as he previous mention of bittersweet fruit was a pivot, this is now the final pivot into the conclusion of the album. He says life is over and no good since his daydream is the epitome of happiness for him. Now, instead of living in this melancholy life, like the monochrome music video for “Four Winds”, with an unattainable dream of happiness, he has to leave this life and start a new one. He describes this as taking off his shoes and walking into the woods, feeling both lost and found with every step. This sense of being lost goes back to the lyrical motifs of being in gray areas of “I don’t know” and feeling lost. There’s a lot of conflicting feelings throughout the album, as the songs conflict genres and conflict happy music with depressing lyrics and conflict happy songs with sad songs, but for the final time, this dissonance feels hopeful, almost as a new beginning.

    I would consider this album a masterpiece of genre-busting indie/alternative rock as well as a psychological narrative of overcoming grief and depression in releasing the past and accepting the future, whatever it may hold as well as filling the lyrics with a cynical political subtext. It’s depressing and emotional and definitely makes me feel many different things. Plus, every song on here is a banger and re-listenable.
    I feel like this album exits in a spiritual series with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, being introspective and melancholy indie albums that have a thematic emotional apocalypse. However, I think Bridgers’ album follows Cassadaga, but masters the style of the album. Punisher is a timeless masterpiece of music and creates an incredible emotional narrative. It’s almost like Oberst and Bridgers are both lost souls in some noncorporeal realm of indie musicians introspecting their emotional and psychological lives. And of course, these musicians are frequent collaborators and have a band together.

    ALBUM ARTWORK:
    I adore everything about this cover. I love the crackling, gray fuzz of a background and I love the simple logo in the center, being kitschy and aesthetic to some sort of national park’s emblem. I love the yellow and white color, feeling extremely retro, and the depiction of pyramids, palm trees, and stars. To follow this spiritual series of albums, the background of stars is both similar to the cover of Punisher and Gregory Alan Isakov’s This Empty Northern Hemisphere.
    Also, I love the vinyl cover of this album how when viewed through a decoder, shows this beautiful layout of the artwork.
    Artwork review: 12/12
    • mynameisbroseph's avatar
      The original LP pressing description says there was a 2009 and 2012 release. I think I have one of those. Does anyone know how to distinguish between those 2?

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