Rolling Stone (12/26/02, p.104) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Rolling Stone (11/14/02, p.86) - "...Best indie-rock record of the year..."
Spin (1/03, p.71) - Ranked #20 on Spin's list of 2002's "Albums of the Year" - "...[Conor] Oberst stages an epic folk-rock musical scripted from his tortured diary."
Q (9/02, p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Intense and good....His gift lies in melding explosive lyrical candor to folk-rock melodies that heave with incongruous levity, like Prince collaborating with Robert Smith."
Uncut (1/03, p.97) - Ranked #69 in Uncut's "100 Best Albums of the Year"
Uncut (10/02, p.101) - 3.5 out of 5 - "...steamhammer profundity and arrestingly magical backdrops..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/03, p.74) - Ranked #28 in Mojo's "Best Albums of 2002"
Mojo (Publisher) (9/02, p.96) - "It's the most accomplished of the four Bright Eyes albums...a record brave enough to place content over style."
NME (Magazine) (8/10/02, p.32) - 8 out of 10 - "...Confused, touching and idiotically ambitious: hard work that, undoubtedly, repays the effort."
Bright Eyes: Conor Oberst (vocals, arranger, guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ).
Additional personnel includes: Todd Baechle (vocals); Andy LeMaster (electric guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Maria Taylor (piano, organ, background vocals).
Recorded at Presto Studios, Lincoln, Nebraska between December 2001 & January 2002.
Audio Mixer: Mike Mogis.
Recording information: 12/2001/01/2002.
Nebraskan singer/songwriter Conor Oberst began combining troubadourism with emo rock at a ridiculously early age, inspired by the older, more literate Nebraska cult hero Simon Joyner (whose huge influence is somehow always overlooked by journalists). Recording prolifically for local indie label Saddle Creek, Oberst (as Bright Eyes, with or without accompaniment) gradually refined his Neil Young-with-ADD sound over the years. LIFTED OR THE STORY IS IN THE SOIL...is his most ambitious outing to date, featuring keyboards, horns, woodwinds, strings, etc., all laid out in a panoramic manner that stands in marked contrast to Oberst's decidedly lo-fi beginnings. The songwriting seems to have jumped up a notch too, and for what's stil essentially a singer-songwriter record, that doesn't hurt a bit.