Review: Salutations by Conor Oberst

Salutations by Conor OberstWell, the clue was in the title. Salutations is the partner album, more or less, to Ruminations, Conor Oberst’s moody and occasionally claustrophobic release last year. That one embraced you with a feeling of being alone that, while completely different from the rest of his oeuvre, made enough sense for you to go with it. And then, with Salutations, Conor proceeds to recontextualize the entire album: its ten tracks were rerecorded with a full band, its order mixed around, and seven new songs added. Perhaps the point is the duality: how different the same thing can be when dressed differently, presented differently, perceived differently. Perhaps the point is a clever subversion – not denial, I hope – of everything Ruminations went for, a jubilant “up yours!” achieved by taking one thing, shattering it, and putting it back together, cracks and all. Perhaps it is I who’s missing the point. But since we’re talking about perceptions here: I don’t see the point. It feels shallow, whatever the intention is, and its length tests my patience to boot. [NB]3/5

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