This years best albums countdown

# 10. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga (Saddle Creek)

So if anybody wondered. This album has this years best coverart. Why, you may ask. Isn't it just a boring gray cover with a sticker on the outside? No, it isn't. You didn't find the "Spectral Decoder" inside? If you didn't, it's a shame, but boy if you did. I think I've actually listened to this album more than I would have without the special effects just because it's so damn funny to find the hidden artifacts all over the album cover. Espescially on the vinyl. Everything bigger is better isn't it?

That said, the album is on this list because of the music. I think of Cassadaga as Conor Oberst first album as a "grown up". It seems to me that there have at least been a much more grown up approach to this album. It isn't his best effort, but I think that this is an album I still will be listening to when I'm an old sorry bugger. Where other Bright Eyes albums have strayed from side to side this one stays on one track the whole way through. One of the problems I initially had with Cassadaga is that it sounds so goddamn nice. I just wasn't used to Conor singing without spitting out each syllable. His singing seems much more relaxed than before. Some would say that maybe he doesn't put as much meaning in things anymore, but after seeing him a couple of times live this year I'm not so worried about that. The best moment on the album for me is when he strains his voice on the line "..I never thought of running, my feet just led the way" from "If the Brakeman Turns My Way". It just sounds really great, and it makes me feel for him. Other highlights on the album are "Soul Singer in a Session Band", "Make a Plan to Love Me", "Classic Cars" and of course the single "Four Winds". The list actually is never ending. The songs are great. It could be his Harvest, his middle of the road album. That ain't so bad is it?