It's kinda like walking out the door to discover it's a window.

[Radio interviewer:] Hi, we're back, this is radio K[beep]x and we're here with Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes. How are you doing, Conor?
[Conor:] Fine, thanks, just a little wet.
[R:] Oh, it's still coming down out there?
[C:] Yeah, I sort of had to run from the car.
[R:] Well, we are glad you made it! Now, your new album, "Fevers and Mirrors"... Tell us a little about the title. I know there's a good deal of repeated imagery in the lyrics; fevers, mirrors, scales, clocks: Could you discuss some of this?
[C:] Sure. Let's see, the fever's...
[R:] First, First let me say that, this is a brilliant record, man, we're all really into it here at the station and we get lots of calls, it's really good stuff.
[C:] Thanks. Thanks a lot.
[R:] So talk about some of the symbolisms.
[C:] The fever?
[R:] Sure!
[C:] Well, the fever is basically, what ever ails you, or oppresses you... It could be anything, in my case it's my neurosis, my: depression... but I don't want it to be limited to that... it's certainly different for different people. It's whatever keeps you up at night.
[R:] I see.
[C:] And the, and the mirror's like, as you might have guessed, self-examination, or reflection, or whatever form. This could be vanity, or self loathing. I, I know I'm, I'm guilty of both.
[R:] That's interesting. How about the scale?
[C:] The scales are essentially our attempt to solve our problems quantitatively, through logic or rationalization. In my opinion it's often fruitless, but... always, no, not always... And the clocks and calendars it's uh... is just... time... our little measurements, it's like, it's always chasing after us.
[R:] It is. It is. Uh, How about this Arienette, how does she fit into all this?
[C:] Umm, I'd prefer not to talk about it, in case she's listening.
[R:] Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize she was a real person.
[C:] She's not. I made her up.
[R:] Oh, so she's not real?
[C:] Just as real as you or I.
[R:] I don't think I understand.
[C:] Neither do I, but after I grow up, I will. I mean a lot... A lot of things: are really unclear for me right now.
[R:] That's interesting. Ah, now you mentioned your depression...
[C:] ...No I didn't.
[R:] You're from Nebraska , right?
[C:] Yeah, so?
[R:] Now, let me now if I'm getting too personal, but there seem to be a pretty dark past back there somewhere. What was it like for you growing up?
[C:] Dark? Not really... uh... actually I had a great childhood, my parents were wonderful. I went to a Catholic school. They have... they had money, so... it... It was all... easy. Basically I had everything I wanted, handed to me.
[R:] Really? So some of the references, like babies in bathtubs, are not biographical?
[C:] Well I do have a brother who died in a bathtub. Drowned. Actually, I had five brothers who died that way.
[R: chuckles]
[C:] No, I'm serious. My mother drowned one every year for five consecutive years. They were all named Padraic, so, that's: They all got one song.
[R:] Hmm.
[C:] It's kinda like walking out the door to discover it's a window.
[R:] But your music is certainly very personal.
[C:] Of course, I put a lot of myself into what I do. But it's like, being an author you have to, free yourself to use symbolism and allegory to reach your goal and, and a part of that is, compassion, empathy for other people and their, and their situations. Some of what I sing comes from other people's experiences as well as my own. It:It shouldn't matter, the message is intended to be universal.
[R:] I see what you mean.
[C:] Can you make that sound stop please?
[R:] Yes! [a bell that has been softly ringing for the duration of the interview becomes silent] And your goal?
[C:] I don't know. Uh, create feelings, I guess. A song? It never ends up the way you planned it, though.
[R:] That's funny that you say that, do you think that...
[C:] Do you ever hear things that aren't really there?
[R:] I'm sorry, what?
[C:] Never mind. How long have you worked at this station?
[R:] Oh, just a few minutes. Uh, now you mentioned empathy for others. Would you say that that is what motivates you to make the music that you make?
[C:] No, not really. It's more a need for sympathy. I want people to feel sorry for me. I like the feel of the burn of the audience's eyes on me when I'm whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone. When I was a kid, I used to carry this safety pin around with me, everywhere I went in my pocket. And when people weren't paying enough attention to me, I'd dig it into my arm until I started crying. Everyone would stop what they were doing and ask me what was the matter. I guess, I guess I kinda...
[R:] Really? You're telling me you're doing all this for attention?
[C:] No, I hate it when people look at me. I get nauseous. In fact, I could care less what people think, about me. Do you feel that? Wanna dance?
[R:] No, I'm feeling sick.
[C:] I really just wanna be warm yellow light that pours all over everyone I love.
[R:] So, uh, you're gonna play something for us now. Is this a new song?
[C:] Yeah, but I haven't written it yet. It's one I've been meaning to write, uh, called, "A Song To Pass The Time."
[R:] Oh, that's a nice title.
[C:] [mumbles] No, it isn't. You should write your own scripts.
[R:] Yeah, I know!

There was a loophole in my dreaming, so I got out of it.

Let's just hope that is enough

Well, the animals laugh from the dark of the wilderness.
A baby cries hard in an apartment complex, as I pass in a car buried under the influence.
The city's driving me out of my mind.

I've seen a child is caught in the sad trap of gravity.
He falls from the lowest branch of the apple tree
and lands in the grass and weeps for his dignity.
Next time he will not aim so high.
Yeah, next time, neither will I.

Now a mother takes loans out, sends her kids off to colleges.
Her family's reduced to names on a shopping list.
While a coroner kneels beneath a great, wooden crucifix.
He knows there's worse things than being alone.

And so I've learned to retreat at the first sign of danger.
I mean, why wait around, if it's just to surrender?
An ambition, I've found, can lead only to failure.
I do not read the reviews.
No, I am not singing for you.

Well I stood dropping a coin into the pit of a well.
And I would throw my whole billfold if I thought it would help.
With all these wishes I make,
I should buy something real, at least a telephone call home.

Well, my teachers, they built this retaining wall of memory,
all those multiple choices I answered so quickly.
And got my grades back and forgot just as easily,
but as least I got an A.
And so I don't have them to blame.

Well I should stop pointing fingers;
reserve my judgment of all those public action figures,
the cowboy presidents.
So loud behind the bullhorn, so proud they can't admit
when they've made a mistake.

While poison ink spews from a speechwriter's pen,
he knows he don't have to say it,
so it, it don't bother him.
"Honesty", "Accuracy" is just "Popular Opinion."
And the approval rating's high,
and so someone's gonna die.

Well ABC, NBC, CBS: Bullshit.
They give us fact or fiction? I guess an even split.
And each new act of war is tonight's entertainment.
We're still the pawns in their game.
As they take eye for an eye until no one can see,
we must stumble blindly forward, repeating history.
Well, I guess we all fit into your slogan
on the fast food marquee:
Red blooded, White skinned oh and the Blues.
Oh and the Blues, I got the Blues! That's me! That's me!

Well, I awoke in relief.
My sheets and tubes were all tangled weak from whiskey and pills,
in a Chicago hospital.
And my father was there, in a chair, by the window, staring so far away.
I tried talking, just whispered, " selfish..."
He stopped me and said, "Child I love you regardless
and there's nothing you could do that would ever change this.
I'm not angry. It happens. But you just can't do it again."

So now I try to keep up, I've been exchanging my currency.
While a million objects pass through my periphery.
Now I'm rubbing my eyes 'cause they're starting to bother me.
I've been staring too long at the screen.

But where was it when I first heard a sweet sound of humility?
It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody.
How grateful I was then to be part of the mystery,
to love and to be loved. Let's just hope that is enough.

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

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