Indie Rock

Bright Eyes – Mariana Trench

A new single from Bright Eyes (his fourth this year) from his upcoming album Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was.

Mariana Trench doesn’t do anything different to what Bright Eyes has always done, but as the old idiom goes, if it ain’t broke… It’s heartfelt, intelligent Indie Folk with pessimistically apocalyptic lyrics, unusual instrumentation & a semi-improvised, jam-like quality to it. It’s what Bright Eyes fans want & expect from him & presumably why he’s switched back to using the Bright Eyes moniker. For the past several years he has been operating under his given name, Connor Oberst.

As well as being a great tune, Mariana Trench has a sad & beautiful animated video to accompany it. It’s a wonderful stop-motion watercolour film which seems to express regret at colonialism & the extinction by hunting of the American Bison. This feeds naturally into a lot of the debates currently raging in politics, especially in light of the impending environmental collapse & rise of populist nationalism which celebrates (& idolises) the horrors of colonialism.

Lyrically, this seems to be about the ongoing collapse of late stage capitalism which we are currently living through. This connects to the imagery in the video & the pessimistic apocalyptic vibes mentioned above. I don’t mind admitting that I’m sharing a lot of that pessimism myself & that automatically aligns me to this work & reminds me why I love the guy so much in the first place. Recent events have reminded me of his Old Soul Song (For A New World Order). It’s interesting to note that the protests he discusses in this were against the new puritanism of the George W Bush regime & the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq. Without downplaying the horror & death of those times, they almost seem like the ‘good old days’ compared to 2020.

Well they’d better save some space for me
In that growing cottage industry
Where selfishness is currency
People spend more than they make

So I wrapped my head in bandages
From the string of happy accidents
I guess maybe I asked for it
But who am I to say

The closing bell death tolls
Hear the market crash
A crying trader swears he’ll get out of the game
The cowboy drinks himself to death
Fresh out of rehab
While they’re loading all the rifles on the range

Look up at that Everest
Look down in that Mariana Trench
Look now as the crumbling 405 falls down
When the big one hits
Look out for the plainclothes
Look out for what the wiretap knows
Look out on the ever-widening money trail and where it goes

It takes a lot of gall
To try to please
These dehumanizing entities
I befriended all my enemies
They had my back against the wall

Oh a coward is
What a coward does
I suppose maybe I always was
But I’m sick of it
I’ve had enough
And now I’m ready for the war

The lion bows his head down
To the ringmaster
With the tightrope stretched so high
Above the crowd
All these faces are contortionists
It must have hurt
Because they all looked as unhappy
As a clown

Look long at that Stonehenge
Look quick is it something you missed
Look in to that smoldering building’s bombed out fog
Until it finally lifts
Look up at that big wave
Look down at your other brother’s grave
Look hard for a harder something to sacrifice
That’s what it takes
That’s what it takes

Look up at that Everest
Look down in that Mariana Trench
Look now as the crumbling 405 falls down
Oh when the big one hits
Look out for the plainclothes
Speak soft what the wiretap knows
Look out on that ever-widening money trail
And where it goes
Where does it go?

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