Better Oblivion Community Center is a cross-gender collaboration between folk-ish lyricist extraordinaire’s Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. It sighs, it rocks quietly in the corner, and it occasionally raises its voice a little and tries to dance, taking pages from Wilco and the Replacements as much as from Dylan and Cohen in their most poetic states of melancholy.
I wasn’t sure about this album until I was, so if this appeals to you at all, give it some time to settle in with you.
“Dylan Thomas” is probably the most accessible and gives you a feel of what Oberst and Bridgers bring to the table together. One short verse example:
If it’s advertised, we’ll try it
And buy some peace and quiet
And shut up at the silent retreat
They say you’ve gotta fake it
At least until you make it
That ghost is just a kid in a sheet
“Sleepwalkin'” is something different. The tempo changes and the conversational aspect makes this my favorite track so far. One particular moment of brilliance from Bridgers’ first solo verse goes,
You like beer and chocolate
I like setting off those bottle rockets
We can never compromise
But fighting ’til the death keeps us alive
The whole track is full of “that” feeling. The whole album is full of something more. They work well together, hopefully, there will be more where this came from.
And, because the debut was exciting,