Conor Oberst

American musician

Conor Oberst (born February 15, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter best known for his work in Bright Eyes. He has also played in several other bands, including Desaparecidos, Commander Venus and Park Ave.

You mean nothing to no one but that's nobody's fault.


  • I never fuck with Facebook. I absolutely despise social networking. I think it's truly going to result in the destruction of mankind. Sometimes I just wish I didn't live in this time. Before, there was so much more freedom and privacy, and you could truly escape places.
    • As quoted in "Conor Oberst's Mystical Awakening" by Chris Norris in Rolling Stone (25 June 2009), p. 66-84
  • The world's become a little too mean.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • And me I'm in my bedroom drawing in my notebook
    Because my hand thinks I'm an artist
    But my heart knows I'm a poet
    It's just words they mean so little to me.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • My Brother went to college
    To become a doctor
    And if he studies hard enough
    He'll end up just like papa, who hates his life.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • And me I'm in the bathroom
    crying out my eyelids because it's hard to be a man
    when you're scared, just like a little kid.
    • Saturday as Usual
  • If I die tonight, then I guess I die tonight
    Let me go on.
    • Falling Out Of Love At This Volume
  • I started to sink like the moon tends to do if you stare at it too long
    Then you blink and it's gone
    • The Awful Sweetness Of Escaping Sweat

I guess time has a way of making everything alright
it's just there is not enough of it
and so we drink and we sing and we celebrate
this lie and hope that it will last
morning is here night has passed
A celebration upon completion

but i guess fear has a way of making sleep unbearable
and the days seem cold and long
but we'll cry and we dance
and we stumble into love in awkward perfect grace
the moon is gone and the sun has took its place
A celebration upon completion

  • I swear that I'm dying
    slowly but it's happening,
    and if the perfect spring is waiting somewhere...
    just take me there.
    • If Winter Ends
  • In a coma, you don't dream,
    you just hope that someone sits with you.
    • Padraic My Prince
  • I had a brother once, he drowned in a bathtub,
    before he'd ever learned how to talk.
    And I don't know what his name was
    but my mother does,
    I heard her say it once, she said,
    "Padraic, my prince, I have all but died from the sheer weight of my shame:
    you cried but no-one came."
    • Padraic My Prince
  • I find that life is easier when it is just a blur
    With no details to confuse who or what or where I was
    So when the ending comes the full regret will be obscure
    • The Difference In The Shades
  • Well morning came, and it dressed the sky in a lovely yellow gown.
    Shopping malls are opening in that narrow hallway of downtown,
    filled with people who are shopping for their lovers and their friends,
    singing "I won't ever be lonely again"
    • I Won't Ever be Happy Again
  • There's a cat in the window, of the house of my lover.
    Well she sleeps there alone now, or perhaps with another.
    Oh I try no to think about that, I try not to think at all!
  • My parents ask if I'm alright; I say "I've just been staying up too late.
    I need to sleep" I need to do something!
    To get this awful weight up off my chest,
    keep her pretty ghost from chasing me!
  • So you say there are spaces, opening wide?
    Oh believe me, there's day longer than nights.
    And you could be happy, if only you'd try.
    But you don't try. No you don't try.
  • And you speak of a fever, that burns you inside,
    as you explain to your mother, how you've wanted to die.
    So she kisses your fingers, and says "My darling, but why?
    When there is so much more. There is so much more."
  • You could be happy, the minute you try.
    Why won't you try? Oh won't you try?
    • The Joy in Forgetting - The Joy in Acceptance
  • And the sad act like lepers
    They stick to the shadows
    They long to ring bells of warning
    To tell of their coming
    So that the pure can shut their doors.
    • Arienette
  • I drug your ghost across the country, and we plotted out my death.
    Every city and memory we whispered "Here is where you rest."
    Well I was determined in Chicago but I dug my teeth into my knees
    And I settled for a telephone, sang into your machine:
    "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine."
    • The Calendar Hung Itself
  • And I sing and sing of awful things
    The pleasure that my sadness brings.
    • Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh
  • For a sunrise or a sunset, you're manic or you’re depressed.
    Will you ever feel ok?
    • Sunrise, Sunset
  • I think it is more like a ghost
    that has been following us both.
    Something vague that we're not seeing,
    something more like a feeling.
    • Something Vague

Now I know a disease that these Doctors can’t treat.
You contract on the day you accept all you see is a mirror and a mirror is all it can be.
A reflection of something we’re missing.

And these clocks keep unwinding and completely ignore everything that we hate or adore.
Once the page of a calendar is turned it’s no more.
So tell me then, what was it for?
Oh tell me, what was it for?

    • A Scale, A Mirror And Those Indifferent Clocks

Soon all the joy that pours from everything makes fountains of your eyes
because you finally understand the movement of a hand waving good-bye.

    • The Movement Of A Hand**

You combed your hair inside that mirror
The one you painted blue and glued with jewelry tears
Something about those bright colors
Would always make you feel better.

You said you hate my suffering, and you understood,
And you’d take care of me.
You'd always be there for me
Well, where are you now?

Haligh, Haligh, a lie, Haligh,
The plans were never finalized,
But left to hang like yarn and twine,
Dangling before my eyes.
Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh

Sunrise, sunset.
Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly go the days.
Sunrise, sunset.
You wake up, then you undress.
It always is the same.
a sunrise and the sun sets.

Sunrise, the sun sets.
You are hopeful and then you regret.
The circle never breaks.

For a sunrise or sunset.
You’re either coming or you just left but you’re always on the way.

It’s a sunrise and a sunset.
From a cradle to a casket.
There’s no way to escape.
Sunrise, Sunset

Did you expect it all to stop
At the wave of your hand?
Like the sun’s just gonna drop,
If it’s night you demand.

I think you lost what you loved
In that mess of details.
They seemed so important at the time
Now you can’t even recall
Any names, faces, or lines;
It’s more the feeling of it all.
An attempt to tip the scales

But all I have for the moment is a song to pass the time.
Yeah, a melody to keep me from worrying.
Oh, some simple progression to keep my fingers busy.
And words that are sure to come back to me and they'll be laughing.
And they'll be laughing. My mediocrity. My mediocrity.

A Song To Pass The Time

  • There was this book I read and loved,
    The story of a ship
    Who sailed around the world and found
    That nothing else exists
    Beyond its own two sails
    And wooden shell
    And what is held within.
    All else is sure to pass.
    We clutch and grasp
    And debate what's truly permanent.
    • Oh, You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place
  • I sing and drink and sleep on floors
    And try hard not to be annoyed
    By all these people worrying about me.
    So when I'm suffering through some awful drive,
    You occasionally cross my mind.
    It's my hidden hope that you are still among them.
    Well, are you?
    • Oh, You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place
  • If you wanna see the future,
    Go stare into a cloud.
  • Well is it your fear of being buried
    that makes you so afraid to speak?
  • So you can try and live in darkness
    but you will never shake the light.
    It will greet you every morning and make you more aware with its absence at night
  • The hook is in deep boys,
    there is no more time.
    So you can struggle in the water
    and be too stubborn to die,
    or you could just let go and be lifted to the sky.
    • The Big Picture
  • If the world could remain within a frame
    Like a painting on a wall,
    Then I think we would see the beauty, then
    We would stand staring in awe
    At our still lives posed
    Like a bowl of oranges,
    Like a story told
    By the fault lines and the soil.
    • Bowl of Oranges
  • Ambition, I’ve found, can lead only to failure. I do not read the reviews. No, I am not singing for you.
  • The animals laugh from the dark of the wilderness.
  • I’ve seen a child, he's caught in the sad trap of gravity.
    He falls from the lowest branch of the apple tree
    and lands in the grass and weeps for his dignity.
    Next time he will not aim so high.
    Yeah, next time, neither will I.
  • Well, I stood dropping a coin into the pit of a well.
    And I would throw my whole billfold if I thought it would help.
  • "Honesty" "Accuracy" is just "Popular Opinion."
  • Well, ABC, NBC, CBS: Bullshit.
    They give us fact or fiction?
    I guess an even split.
  • And each new act of war is tonight's entertainment.
    We're still the pawns in their game.
  • As they take eye for an eye until no one can see,
    we must stumble blindly forward, repeating history.
    • Let's Not Shit Ourselves
  • Love's an excuse to get hurt and to hurt.
    Do you like to hurt?
    I do, I do
    then hurt me.
    • Lover I Don't Have to Love
  • So you think I need some discipline, well, I had my share. I have been sent to my room. I've been sat in a chair. I held my tongue. I didn't plug my ears. No, I got a good talking to. And now I don't know why, but I still try to smile when they talk at me like I'm just a child. Well, I'm not a child. No, I am much younger than that. And now I have read some books and have grown quite brave. If only I could just speak up I think I would say that there is no truth. There is only you and what you make the truth.
    • Don't Know When But A Day is Gonna Come
  • He once cut one of my nightmares out of paper.
    I thought it was beautiful, I put it on a record cover.
  • It is clear to see that it is not them but me, who had lost my self-identity. As I hide behind these books I read, while scribbling my poetry, like art could save a wretch like me, with some ideal ideology that no one can hope to achieve. And I am never real; it is just a sketch of me. And everything I have made is trite and cheap and a waste of paint, of tape, of time
    • Waste of Paint
  • My head's a carousel of pictures and
    The spinning never stops.
    • Nothing Gets Crossed Out
  • For a song I was bought
    Now I lie when I talk
    With a careful eye on the cue card.
    Onto a stage I was pushed,
    With my sorrow well rehearsed.
    So give me all your pity and your money, now (all of it).
    • False Advertising
  • But where was it when I first heard that sweet sound of humility?
    It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody!
    How grateful I was, then, to be part of the mystery,
    To love, and to be loved!
    Let’s just hope that is enough.
    • Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and to Be Loved)
  • But you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living
    Cause it's the ones with the sorest throats Laura,
    who have done the most singing.
    • Laura Laurent

  • It's not a movie,
    no private screening
    This method acting,
    well, I call that living
    • Method Acting
  • If I could act like
    This was my real life,
    And not some cage where I've been placed,
    Well then, I could tell you
    The truth like I used to
    And not be afraid of sounding fake.
    • False Advertising

  • And it's too hard to focus through all this doubt
    I keep making this to-do list but nothing gets crossed out
    Working on the record seems pointless now
    When the world ends who's gonna hear it?
  • Everything that happens is supposed to be
    And it's all pre-determined,
    can't change your destiny
    Guess I'll just keep moving,
    someday maybe I'll get to where I'm going
    • Nothing Gets Crossed Out
  • So hurry up and run to the one that you love.
    And blind him with your kindness.
    And he'll make war, oh war,
    On who you were before.
    And he'll claim all that has spoiled in your heart.
  • Because the truth is that gossip
    is as good as gospel in this town.
    You can save face but
    you won't ever save your soul.
    And that's a fact.
    • Make War
  • It was a small mistake
    Sometimes that is all it takes.
  • But, I was as helpless as a chess piece
    when I was lifted up by someone's hand
    And delivered from the corner
    my enemies had got me in
    But in all of my salvation
    I still felt imprisoned inside that holding cell
    that is myself
  • So I wait for the day
    when I'll hear the key
    as it turns in the lock
    And the guard will say to me,
    "Oh my patient prisoner
    you waited for this day and finally,
    you are free!
    You are free!
    You are free!"
    • From A Balance Beam
  • We're all too busy working, entertaining ourselves
    With forty hours, television and prescription pills
    Well, I take two a day to help my brain behave
    It never does, but who's to say? At least my doctor gets paid.
    • Loose Leaves
  • 'Cause a costume can be comfortable
    It can make you feel more beautiful
    It can even make you look like someone else
    But it's still you, so there's nothing you can do
    Like a bad habit, the one you couldn't kick, there it always is
    And it's nothing that no doctor's gonna fix.
    • We Are Free Men
  • I know you have a heavy heart, I can feel it when we kiss
    So many men stronger than me
    Have thrown their backs out trying to lift it
    But me I'm not a gamble
    You can count on me to split
    The love I sell you in the evening by the morning won't exist.
    • Lua
  • I'd rather be working for a paycheck, than waiting to win the lottery.
    Besides, maybe this time it's different, I mean,
    I really think you like me.
    • First Day of my Life

  • If you walk away I'll walk away
    first tell me which road you will take
    I don't want to risk our paths crossing someday
    so you walk that way I'll walk this way
  • I found a liquid cure
    for my landlocked blues
  • And there's kids playing guns in the streets
    And one's pointing his tree branch at me
    So I put my hands up I say
    "Enough is enough,
    If you walk away I walk away."
    And he shot me dead.
  • But greed is a bottomless pit
    And our freedom's a joke we're just taking a piss
    And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
    If you're still free start runnin' away
    'cause we're comin' for ya!
  • You'll be free child once you have died
    from the shackles of language and measurable time
    • Landlocked Blues
  • And I never thought this life was possible,You're the yellow bird that I've been waiting for.
  • In polaroids you were dressed in women's clothes
    Were you made ashamed,
    why'd you lock them in a drawer?
    Well, I don't think that I ever loved you more
  • Well let the poets cry themselves to sleep
    And all their tearful words will turn back into steam
  • The sound of loneliness makes me happier
    • Poison Oak
  • Well, I could have been a famous singer
    If I had someone else's voice
    But failure's always sounded better
    Let's fuck it up, boys, make some noise!
  • The sun came up with no conclusions
    Flowers sleepin' in their beds
    The city cemetary's hummin'
    I'm wide awake, its mornin'
    • Road To Joy
  • i keep drinking the ink from my pen
    and i'm balancing history books up on my head
    but it all boils down to one quotable phrase
    if you love something give it away
    • landlocked blues
  • a good woman will pick you apart
    a box full of suggestions for your possible heart
    and you may be offended. and you may be afraid
    but don't walk away, don't walk away
    • landlocked blues
  • we made love on the living room floor
    with the noise in the background of a televised war
    and in that defeaning pleasure i thought i heard someone say
    if we walk away they'll walk away
    • landlocked blues
  • So don't be fooled, so don't get lied to
    Love was always cruel
    And don't act strange, don't be a stranger
    It happened to me, now it's happening to you
    But if you'd take that train underwater
    Then we could talk it through
  • Yeah, I was a postcard, I was a record
    I was a camera until I went blind
    • train under water
  • I guess the best that I can do now
    is to pretend that I've done nothing wrong
    and to dream about a train
    that's gonna take me back where I belong
  • So I go back and forth forever
    All my thoughts they come in pairs
    Oh I will, I won't, I doubt, I don't,
    I'm not surprised but I never feel quite prepared
  • Now I'm hunched over a typewriter
    I guess you call that paintin' in a cave
    And there's a word I can't remember
    and a feeling I cannot escape
  • I dreamt this ship was sinkin' there was people screaming all around
    And I awoke to my alarm clock it was a pop song it was playin' loud
  • So I will find my fears and face them
    or I will cower like a dog
    I will kick and scream or kneel and plead
    I'll fight like hell to hide that I've given up
    • Another Travelin' Song
  • I want to be the surgeon who cuts you open
    Who fixes all of life's mistakes
    I want to be the house that you were raised in
    The only place where you feel safe.
  • I wanna be a shower in the morning
    That wakes you up and makes you clean
    I know I'm just the weather against your window
    As you sleep through a winter's dream
    • Ship in a Bottle
  • I hear if you make friends with Jesus Christ, you will get right up from that chalk outline. And then you'll get dolled up, and you'll dress in white all to take your place in his chorus line. And then in you'll come with those marching drums in a saintly compromise. No more whiskey slurs, no more blonde-haired girls for your whole eternal life. And you'll do the dance that was choreographed at the very dawn of time. Singing "I told you son, the day would come you would die, you'd die you'd die you'd die you'd die".
    • Arc Of Time
  • Sometimes I worry that I've lost the plot
    My twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts
    I never really dreamed of heaven much
    Until we put him in the ground.
  • There is nothing as lucky, as easy, or free
    • Easy/Lucky/Free
  • You took off your clothes and left on the light,
    You stood there so brave, you used to be shy,
    Each feature improved, each movement refined,
    And eyes like a showroom.
    • Take it Easy (Love Nothing)
  • There is no Hell when you die
    so don't look so worried
    • Light Pollution
  • so immagine what you want and hold onto that thought
    cause thats as close as it will ever come
    and believe you're were you're are
    keep acting out the part
    but at the end of the day
    the trees all get wheeled away
    and you'll be standing alone in a blank, blank space
  • so believe you're who you are
    and stay in character
    but at the end of the play the audience walks away
    and ill be shivering cold on a well lit stage
    • The trees get wheeled away
  • The drunk kids, the catholics
    They’re all about the same
    They’re waiting for something
    Hoping to be saved
    • Drunk Kid Catholic
  • And I'm sorry about the phone call and needing you
    Some decisions you don't make
    I guess it's just like breathing or not wanting to
    There are some things you can't fake
  • I'm sorry about the phone call; and waking you.
    I know that it is late,
    But thank you for talking, because I needed to.
    Some things just can't wait.
    • Happy Birthday To Me (Feb 15)
  • So I want to get myself attached to something bolted down,
    So that these winds of circumstance won't keep blowing me around.
    From when I land to when I leave
    there is enough time to sleep and sing.
    I keep running around, when all I want is to lay motionless.
    • Motion Sickness
  • It's exploding bags, aerosol cans
    Southbound buses, Peter Pan
    They left it up to us again
    I thought you knew the drill
    It's kill or be killed.
    • Clairaudients(Kill or Be Killed)
  • The squatters made a mural of a Mexican girl
    With fifteen cans of spray paint and a chemical swirl
    She's standing in the ashes at the end of the world
    Four winds blowing through her hair.
  • The Bible's blind.
    The Torah's deaf.
    The Qur'an is mute.
    If you burned them all together you’d get close to the truth.
    • Four Winds
  • On a detox loft through a Glendale Park over sidewalk chalk
    Someone wrote in red, "start over."
    • Cleanse Song
  • Oh, I've made love, yeah, I've been fucked, so what?
    I'm a cartoon, you're a full moon, let's stay up.
    • Hot Knives
  • You mean nothing to no one but that's nobody's fault.
    • Soul Singer in a Session Band
  • Little soldier, little insect
    You know war it has no heart
    It will kill you in the sunshine
    Or happily in the the dark
    Where kindness is a card game
    Or a bent up cigarette
    In the trenches, in the hard rain
    With a bullet and a bet.
    • No One Would Riot for Less
  • Everything must belong somewhere.
    I know that now, that's why I'm staying here.
    • I Must Belong Somewhere
  • I never thought of running
    My feet just led the way
    • If The Brakeman turns my way
  • I tried to pass for nothing
    But my dreams gave me away
    • If The Brakeman turns my way
  • Don't be so amazing or I'll miss you too much.
    • Lime Tree
  • You’ve been a father to me.
    Your 1960’s speak.
    Gives me comatose joy like re-run TV.
    While the mountainside was shining.
    Wild colors of my destiny
    • Cape Cañaveral
  • And in the morning when the sun rise.
    Look in the water, see the blue sky.
    As if heaven has been laid there at our feet.
    • Sausalito
  • I wanna be your happiness.
    I wanna be your common sense pain.
    • Get-Well-Cards
  • If I loved you, well that's my fault
    • Lenders In The Temple
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