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Marie Lynn and Iman Lababedi discuss “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning”

A month ago I asked Marie Lynn to write about the Bright Eyes masterwork I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. She chose not to complete it but last night we started talking us some Conor…

IL: I’m looking at a mix you burnt me in July 2007. Four songs from Dispatch and Bright Eyes “One Foot In front Of The Other”
ML: Yeah, it’s an alternative “Landlock Blues” -that was after Lua. After you gave me “Lua” I went I bought I’m Wide Wake It’s Morning and then started searching and found “One foot”
IL; Did you love Wide Awake? I remember you becoming a much bigger fan than I was -always pushing me to get more.
MB: You sent me “Lua” and “At The Bottom Of Everything”… I think you sent me the whole album.
IL: And that started your love of the album.
ML: Not really, loving Bright Eyes yes, but I tend to shuffle everything together. I’ll make playlist or listen to a particular artist but not by album.
IL: Wide Awake -are you aware of it as an album?
ML: Yeah because I was planning to write a post and so I started listening to Wide Awake as an album but I had too much to say about it. The themes: for instance his mentions of yellow bird. The symbolism somebody said like a canary in the mine. In the song it’s a symbol, in “Old Song” he says “how can you forget that “Yellow Bird”. I felt like it was circular. A song and then a counter song: and you can match them up. The counter to “At the Bottom Of Everything” is “We Are Nowhere And It Is Now”. “Now” is about pergotaroy… “Bottom” is about life in pergatory and “Now” is about oafterlife in pergotary. Other grouping Old Soul/Travelling Song, poison Oak/Lua.
IL; So there are overlapping themes?
ML: Nearly any song you can connect to any other song -i can circle a line from one to another.
IL: Hits me as his NYC album.
ML: That’s not necessarily fair, it’s not about New york but influenced by his living and writing it in New York. He has the feel of the city and captured thoughts without being ABOUT the city.
IL: Except for “Lua”.
ML: “Lua” is not about NY -its a love song. Lua isthe name of a girl -right? I matched Train/First day bc it seems… I just see something common.
IL: OK but “Train Under Water” is a New york song -it takes place in the Village
ML: Noooo, his songs on this album aren’t about places they are about progression, they ripple, they go from the specific to objective and have truths but they are not NY truths, but they are truths about human experience just that he starts out like… NY is one characterisation for his metaphors but not his real concern but I think you could make an argument -the deeper meaning in his songs written in Mexico is different than NYC.
IL: To me the songs occur in NYC.
ML: I love from Poison Oak he says: “I’m a single cell on a serpents tongue”…
IL: What does it mean. It seems Biblical.
ML: “Other poets sing themselves to sleep…”
IL: Let’s talk about the music. It seems very alt rocky -more so than Cassadega
ML: A little folkie too… I have no idea what he’s talking about but it sounds right.
IL: We’ve disagreed on this one… is it your fave.
ML: It’s the one I listen to most…
IL: Even more than Conor Oberst…?
ML: I always go back to Wide Wake.
IL: Is it like a first love?
ML: I guess, on every single song I can just listen to lyrics, and every time I have a fave line and I wait for it and every time I hear it something else pops out to me. I have to much to say about it but it is hard to put into words something that is important for reasons that are so hard to grasp…

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