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An Attempt To Tip The Scales LyricsArtist: Bright Eyes
Album: Fevers And Mirrors
At the wave of your hand?
Like the sunâ‚¬â„¢s just gonna drop,
If itâ‚¬â„¢s night, you demand.
Well, in the dark weâ‚¬â„¢re just air,
So the house might dissolve.
Once weâ‚¬â„¢re gone, whoâ‚¬â„¢s gonna care
If we were ever here at all?
Well, summerâ‚¬â„¢s gonna come.
Itâ‚¬â„¢s gonna cloud our eyes again.
No need to focus when thereâ‚¬â„¢s
Nothing left worth seeing.
So we trade for liquor for blood,
In an attempt to tip the scales.
I think you lost what you loved
In that mess of details.
They seemed to important at the timeâ‚¬"
Now you canâ‚¬â„¢t even recall
Any names, faces, or lines;
Itâ‚¬â„¢s more the feeling of it all.
Well, winterâ‚¬â„¢s gonna end,
Iâ‚¬â„¢m gonna clean these veins again.
So close to dying that I finally can start living.
Interviewer: Hi, weâ‚¬â„¢re back. This is Radio ---X. Weâ‚¬â„¢re here with Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes. How are you doing, Conor?
Conor: Fine, thanks. Just a little wet.
Interviewer: Oh, itâ‚¬â„¢s still coming down out there.
Conor: Yeah, I sorta had to run from the car.
Interviewer: Well, we are glad you made it. Now, your new album, Fevers and Mirrors, tell us a little bit about the title. Iâ‚¬â„¢ve noticed there is a good deal of repeated imagery in the lyricsâ‚¬"fevers, mirrors, scales, clocks. Could you discuss some of this?
Conor: Sure, letâ‚¬â„¢s see. The fever isâ‚¬"
Interviewer: First, first, let me say that this is a brilliant record, man. Weâ‚¬â„¢re really into it here at the station. We get a lot of calls. Itâ‚¬â„¢s really good stuff.
Conor: Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Interviewer: So, talk a little bit about some of the symbolism.
Conor: The fever?
Conor: Well, the fever is basically whatever ails you or oppresses you. It can be anything. In my case itâ‚¬â„¢s my neurosis, my depressionâ‚¬"but I donâ‚¬â„¢t want to be limited to that. Itâ‚¬â„¢s certainly different for different people. Itâ‚¬â„¢s whatever keeps you up at night.
Interviewer: I see.
Conor: And theâ‚¬"and the mirror is, as you might have guessed, self examination or reflection in whatever form. This could be vanity or self-loathing. I know Iâ‚¬â„¢m guilty of both.
Interviewer: Thatâ‚¬â„¢s interesting. Uh, how â‚¬Ëœbout the scale?
Conor: The scale is essentially our attempt to solve our problems quantitatively, through logic or rationalization. In my opinion, itâ‚¬â„¢s often fruitless, but alwaysâ‚¬"ah, not alwaysâ‚¬"And the clocks and calendars, itâ‚¬â„¢s just time, our little measurements. Itâ‚¬â„¢s always chasing after us.
Interviewer: It is, it is. Uh, how â‚¬Ëœbout this Arienette? How does she fit into all of this?
Conor: I prefer not to talk about it, in case sheâ‚¬â„¢s listening.
Interviewer: Oh, Iâ‚¬â„¢m sorry, I didnâ‚¬â„¢t realize sheâ‚¬â„¢s a real person.
Conor: Sheâ‚¬â„¢s not. I made her up.
Interviewer: Oh, so sheâ‚¬â„¢s not real.
Conor: Just as real as you or I.
Interviewer: I donâ‚¬â„¢t think I understand.
Conor: Neither do I, but after I grow upâ‚¬"I will, I meanâ‚¬"a lotâ‚¬"a lot of things are really unclear for me right now.
Interviewer: Thatâ‚¬â„¢s interesting. Now, you mentioned your depression.
Conor: No I didnâ‚¬â„¢t.
Interviewer: Youâ‚¬â„¢re from Nebraska, right?
Conor: Yeah, so.
Interviewer: Now let me know if Iâ‚¬â„¢m getting too personal, but it seems to me that thereâ‚¬â„¢s a pretty dark past back there somewhere. What was it like for you growing up?
Conor: Dark. Not really. Actually, I had a great childhood. My parents were wonderful, I went to Catholic school. They had money. It was allâ‚¬easy. But basically, I had everything I wanted.
Interviewer: Really. So some of the references like babies in bathtubs are not biographical?
Conor: Well, I did have a brother that died in a bathtub. Drowned. Actually, I had five brothers that died that way.
Conor: No, Iâ‚¬â„¢m serious. My mother drowned one every year for five consecutive years. They were all named Patrick, so they all got one song. Itâ‚¬â„¢s kind of like walking out a door and discovering itâ‚¬â„¢s a window.
Interviewer: But your music is certainly very personal.
Conor: Of course. I put a lot of myself into what I do. But itâ‚¬â„¢s like, being an author, you have to free yourself to use symbolism and allegory to reach your goal. And a part of that is compassion, empathy for other people, and understanding their situations. So much of what I sing about comes from other peopleâ‚¬â„¢s experiences as well as my own. It shouldnâ‚¬â„¢t matter. The message is intended to be universal.
Interviewer: I see what you mean.
Conor: Can you make that sound stop please?
Interviewer: Yes. And your goal?
Conor: I donâ‚¬â„¢t know. Uh, create feelings, I guess. A songâ‚¬it never ends up the way you plan it.
Interviewer: Thatâ‚¬â„¢s funny you would say that. Do you think thatâ‚¬"
Conor: Do you ever hear things that arenâ‚¬â„¢t really there?
Interviewer: Iâ‚¬â„¢m sorry, what?
Conor: Nevermind. How long have you worked at this station?
Interviewer: Oh, just a few minutes. Now, you mentioned empathy for others. Would you say that that is what motivates you to make the music you make?
Conor: No, not really. Itâ‚¬â„¢s really just a need for sympathy. I want people to feel sorry for me. I like to feel the burn of the audienceâ‚¬â„¢s eyes on me when Iâ‚¬â„¢m whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone.
(From the side, two teenage thugs start swearing about the music, talking over the conversation.)
Conor: When I was a kid I used to carry around this safety pin everywhere I went in my pocket and when people werenâ‚¬â„¢t paying enough attention to me Iâ‚¬â„¢d dig it into my arm until I started crying. Everyone would stop what they were doing and ask me what was the matter. I guess I kind of liked that.
Interviewer: Reallyâ‚¬youâ‚¬â„¢re telling me youâ‚¬â„¢re doing all this for attention?
Conor: No, I hate it when people look at me. I get nauseas. In fact, I could care less what people think about me. Do you feel alright? Do you wanna dance?
Interviewer: No, Iâ‚¬â„¢m feeling sick.
Conor: I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.
Interviewer: So, uh, youâ‚¬â„¢re going to play something for us now. Is this a new song?
Conor: Yeah, but I havenâ‚¬â„¢t written it yet. Itâ‚¬â„¢s one Iâ‚¬â„¢ve been meaning to write, called, â‚¬Å“A Song to Pass the Time.â‚¬?
Interviewer: Oh, thatâ‚¬â„¢s a nice title.
Conor: You should write your own scripts.
Interviewer: Yeah, I know.
(Conor says from the side, â‚¬Å“I kept singing todayâ‚¬"It would be eeeeeeasyâ‚¬â‚¬?)
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