Conor Oberst - Salutations
What will it take to get Conor Oberst out of his own way? Everytime He pulls some magic out He finds a way to mess it up quickly and almost completely. Six months ago Oberst released Ruminations and it was a real delight. Recorded alone in a cabin and with very little in terms of production We got a clear look into Conor Oberst like we never had before. It was rich, beautiful and concise with an honesty that we had not heard from Conor in a long time. Now this new record Salutations comes to run roughshod over Ruminations legacy. Salutations features ten tracks from Ruminations however instead of recording with the minimalists of production Conor has brought in a full band and tons of Guest Stars. However instead of taking something that was small and delicate and making it big and bold this record just clutters up those songs and takes what was really great about them and throws it away. Oberst hangs with the folksy Americana sound for the full band record, but it doesn't have anywhere near the honesty or beauty. Perhaps an attempt to turn Ruminations into a live show this record just falls incredibly flat right from the start. At almost 70 minutes the record also meanders it's way to any kind of real point before actually getting there. This record feels like Bright Eyes at his most self indulgent, the time where He felt He could do no wrong and people would just eat up damn near anything He would put out.
This however was supposed to be grown up Conor. This was supposed to be the Conor who saw the mistakes He made in the past and moved forward. This record just seems like a total backslide for him. "Napalm" is one of the most egregious tracks on the record in that it sounds more like a huge jam sesh than an actual song. It even sounds like a rock band trying to fool around with a Honky Tonk song, the talent is there but you just have to ask why? The comparisons to Bob Dylan are obvious; weird voice, singer songwriter, but you never felt like Oberst was really trying to be Dylan actively. On this record it reeks of Conor attempting to take the mantle of America's Singer Songwriter and he just fails miserably. This is not the follow up that Ruminations deserved, nor the path that Conor should be taking in the first place. We can hope this is just a misstep, or a bump on the road, but for an artist who seems to always step in the pitfalls He sets for himself I'm sure we will have another Salutations before we get another Ruminations.
4.1 out of 10