A thought on Conor Oberst's new album, Outer South. Why do bands/artists weigh albums down with something like 16 songs? This inevitably results in at least 4 or 5 throwaways, unless its a double album. And even then sometimes (cough cough, Cold Roses, cough cough...) Surely there are exceptions to the rule, but I can think of at least 5 albums I own that are bloated beyond necessity. Take last year's Drive-By Truckers effort, Brighter Than Creation's Dark. The album was nineteen songs long...nineteen! And not even a double. Had they scrapped a few of the more repetitive tracks and done away with all of Shonna Tucker's contributions not named "I'm Sorry Huston", they might have had the best Truckers album to date. But alas, those spare tracks make a start-to-finish spin of BTCD a rather laborious task.
Anyway, Conor's new album is decidedly so-so. It doesn't compare to last year's eponymous effort. You might note the song "Eagle On a Pole", which shares a title with a song on the last album. Apparently the title is taken from an overheard phrase that prompted both Oberst and Mystic Valley drummer Jason Boesel to write a song around it. As expected, Oberst's, which appears on last year's record, is about a hundred times better, but Boesel gave it a nice shot.