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A.V. Club

Music Review: Conor Oberst is stuck inside of Omaha with some serious snowbound blues

Whether he’s going aggro-punk, as on last year’s Desaparecidos re-up Payola, or playing indie Paul Simon on lush Americana albums like 2014’s Upside Down Mountain, Conor Oberst might as well be strumming solo. The longtime Bright Eyes leader sings every song like he’s shivering on your doorstep, unburdening himself of whatever’s on his mind. No matter what he wraps his voice in, that warble is pretty naked.

Ruminations is Oberst unfiltered. He wrote these 10 songs on piano, harmonica, and acoustic guitar last winter, while passing time in snowy Omaha. He later recorded the material in the no-frills fashion it came together, getting everything down in one 48-hour pity-party that wasn’t without justification.

As discussed in a recent New York Magazine profile, the rape accusations Oberst faced in 2013 have left the one-time wunderkind emotionally and physically wrecked. His accuser recanted her statements in …

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