Friends of mine have tried to discourage me by saying that a typical Bright Eyes concert looks like a Nazi youth rally. The sentiment is disturbing, sure, but, visually, I told my friends, that is so hot! Their jaws drop in horror, and I point out that, despite the fact that Ryan Gosling plays a violent skinhead in The Believer, he is still Ryan Gosling. And, c'mon, I don't know anyone who doesn't want Ryan Gosling to father their children. (By the way, Half Nelson, in which Gosling plays a teacher by day and crack smoker by night, is one of my favorite movies of all time. Rent it now. Besides, don't you want to watch the father of your children for two hours?)
I can't stop listening to the new Bright Eyes album, Cassadaga. I don't like it as much as the phenomenal and delightfully overindulgent Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground or the pretty great I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, but most of the songs on Cassadaga are infectious. Download the aching "Classic Cars," the epic "If the Brakeman Turns My Way," and the uplifting "I Must Belong Somewhere," and you'll know what I'm talking about. "Brakeman" also features some of my favorite lyrics of all time: "I try to pass for nothing/But my dreams give me away." If I ever write lyrics that great and heartbreaking, shoot me dead 'cuz there would be nothing left for me to do.
In the meantime, enjoy the music video for Cassadaga's first single, "Four Winds"...
...and enjoy reading the heated YouTube comments that present opposing interpretations of the video, as well as—truly—the state of this country.
—Reporting From Glendale, California