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Best Album for a Midterm Cry

I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning – Bright Eyes | Saddle Creek

I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning is a 45 minute, 41 second album of pure catharsis. Bright Eyes released the album over 11 years ago, however, the lyrics in every song still resonate deeply, making the album a true classic.

The album consists of frontman Conor Oberst’s narrative of being lost in New York City. The band creates a sound similar to the country folk they heard growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. The album achieves a balance of rowdy, electric noise and painfully uneasy vocals. Under the wake of stress, existential crises, and failure, this album alludes to all of the emotions a disappointed person feels.

Nearly every track can be caught in a playlist for the depressed or the angry-maybe the listener has 12 pages to write tonight and doesn’t think it can get done. The tracks on this album are tunes to listen to if nothing seems to be going right with those essays. The narrative moves to the darkest moment with “Poison Oak,” as a wailing pedal steel hums with Conor Oberst’s sad discourse on death’s inevitability, how it feels for a childhood to end, and how it feels to suffer through the loss of a loved one.

But at the end of the album, sunshine breaks through the window of the story with “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.” The song encapsulates the moment someone makes a decision to rebel against their intense emotional suffering, pursuing happiness with unrelenting fervor. Listening to this album is a catalyst for some good ol’ fashioned cry-fests to help cope with mid terms, finals, and all stressful moments of college.

—Liam O’Dowd-White

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