Conor Oberst doesn’t mind if listeners find a thematic thread in “The People’s Key,” his group Bright Eyes’ first album in three years. But he doesn’t consider the 10-song set, which came out in February, to be “overtly political” — although it’s certainly an appropros soundtrack to recent events.
“There’s a certain desire for, like, common ground between people, just the idea that we’re all kind of in the same boat and are all the same as far as the way human beings go,” explains Oberst, 31. “There’s this future that’s coming that’s really trying to, I think, divide us more and in a lot of ways strip us of our human nature in the sense that now when you walk into a room it’s like 20 people all staring down at this little screen in their hands, typing away, not looking at each other.
“That’s kind of scary, and it’s going to just keep going that way. I think it’s a dangerous position to put ourselves in because our only chance of solving problems or disagreements is by talking to each other and seeing ourselves in each other.”
Oberst says he and his bandmates aren’t worried about the heavy subject matter — or the album’s less rootsy sound — has driven any fans away, though.
“It seems like everything I do musically I tend to lose a few fans and gain a few fans, and it all kind of evens out,” he says. “It’s never for shock value or wanting to alienate the audience in some way. We don’t try to do anything other than follow our interests, which are obviously a moving target”
Bright Eyes performs Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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