September 14, 2004

Why I Pray for Conor Oberst

In an attempt to better prepare for my impending educational endeavors I've joined a public speaking club called Toast Masters.
I thought some of you might be interested in reading the draft for my latest speech...

Why I Pray for Conor Oberst
A while back a friend of mine introduced me to a band called Bright Eyes. This band is headed by a guy named Conor Oberst. I feel a close connection with Conor, though I’ve never met him and I actually know very little about him in the way of facts. Most of what I know about Conor comes from his music, and particualarly his latest album which is entitle “Lifted, or The story is in the soil, so keep your ear close to the ground.”

The first time I listened to this album I was deeply touched because in his highly personal lyrics I heard a bit of myself, or at least who I was through out the formative years of high school. Here are a few lines from one of his songs called “False Advertising” that really grabbed me

And I know what must change. Forget my face. Forget my name.
They are brief and false advertisements for a soul I don't have.
Something true I have lacked and spent my whole life trying to make up for.
But I found in a song and in the people I love. They will lift me up out of darkness.
Now my door stands open. I am inviting everyone in. We will drink.
We will laugh until the morning comes. That is what we are going to do.


Those lines could have been written about me at one time in my life. In those few lines you can hear Conor’s self-loathing, and you can hear his very human desire for happiness, purpose, and meaning. He sees himself and he doesn’t like who he is. He sees himself and he knows that happiness must be found outside himself, so he looks for it in his friends, in music, and in alcohol.
Here are a few lines from another of Conor’s songs: “Don’t know when but a day is gonna come”

I'll get home and meet my friends at our favorite bar. We'll get some lighter heads for our heavy hearts.
And we will share a drink. Yeah we will share our fears and they will know how I love them.
They will know how I love. They will know how I love them.
I am nothing without their love.

In these lyrics you can hear Conor’s deep, almost desperate love for his friends. I remember feeling this same way. I had a great love for my friends and I was fiercely protective of them. I remember walking through my highschool one day with a buddy of mine, and I thought I heard some jock behind us making fun of my him. This guy probably had 100 lbs on me, but I nearly turned around and punched him before I realized he wasn’t refering to my friend.
But why is Conor so devoted to his friends? Why was I? Because they were people that had accepted me when I felt no one else had. They were people that understood me and they were the closest thing I had to any sort of purpose in my life. So in hindsight I see that my devotion to my friends was fueled by something of a sincere love but also by a sense of self-preservation. If I lost them what would I have?
As much as Conor loves his friends you can hear in some of his other songs that he still wants more. From those songs you get a since of his search for not just fraternal love but also romantic love. Here are a few lines from a song called “Waste of Paint” that I believe show Conor’s desire for romantic love.

The last few months I have been living with this couple.
Yeah, you know, the kind that buy everything in doubles. They fit together, like a puzzle.
I love their love and I am thankful that someone actually
receives the prize that was promised by all those fairy tales that drugged us.
And they still do me. I'm sick, lonely, no laurel tree, just green envy.
Will my number come up eventually? Like Love is some kind of lottery,

In this song and in others you get the feeling that Conor has loved a woman, much like he loves his friends, deeply, desperately. And because he has opened his heart so wide to let another in he has been wounded in the extreme by those who would not, for whatever reasons, return his love.
I too know this desperate search for romantic love. It is a search, like the others I’ve mentioned, of purpose and meaning, but it is also a search for acceptance, and to some degree justification, of the deepest parts of who you are. You want someone to know you inside and out, good and bad, and say “I love you”. When a person gets that deep into who you are and runs away because they don’t like what they see they can take a lot with them on the way out.
So what does Conor have left? He has a great love for his friends, but he needs more. He hasn’t found the girl that he hopes will know him and tell him he’s ok. What does he do in the mean time? Life is an infinity of moments when you don’t have a goal, something to drive you, so you fall back on what you’re comfortable with, what you’re good at: for me and, I think, for Conor, that comfort is in our ability to think, to rationalize, to be right and to show others they are wrong.
To illustrate that idea here are the lines from “A Waste of Paint” that immediately follow what I read before to illustrate Conor’s search for love.

So I have been hanging out down by the train's depot. No, I don't ride.
I just sit and watch the people there. They remind me of wind up cars in motion.
The way they spin and turn and jockey for positions.
And I want to scream out that it is all nonsense.
And that their lives are one track, and can't they see how it is all pointless?
But then, my knees give under me. My head feels weak and
suddenly it is clear to see that it is not them but me, who has 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.

In these words you start to really get a sense of Conor’s hopelessness. He needs something, but he doesn’t know what it is. His friends aren’t enough, his dream girl isn’t there, his ideas and ideals seem to be of no real value. All of this appears to be what leads Conor to the point of actually trying to kill himself. The incident and subsequent recovery are documented in his song called “To Love and to be Loved”

Well, I awoke in relief. My sheets and tubes were all tangled, weak from whiskey and pills, in a Chicago hospital. My father was there, in a chair, by the window, staring so far away. I tried talking, just whispered, “..so sorry...so selfish...” He stopped me and said, “Child, I love you regardless and there is nothing you could do that would eveer change this. I’m not angry. It happens. You just can’t do it again.” So now, I try to keep up, I have been exchanging my currency. While a million objects pass through my periphery. So now I am rubbing my eyes because they are starting to bother me. I have been staring too long at the screen.

So why do I pray for Conor Oberst? Because at one point in my life I was Conor. I experienced the desperate love, the anxious wanting, the moments of terribly clear self-awareness. I’ve been where he is, and I know the hopelessness, the despair. I know the black hole that he feels within himself and I know how desperately, hopelessly, futilely he tries to fill that hole with friends, romantic love, and ideas. And I know how thankful I am to Christ for saving me from all of that, for bringing me from despair to hope, from emptiness to fullness, and from distracted misery to love. That’s why I pray for Conor Oberst. I want him to know the Jesus that I know.


Posted by amduffy at September 14, 2004 10:06 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I pray his vocal chords stop working

Posted by: James at September 14, 2004 12:54 PM

Charming, James. Charming.

Good essay.

Posted by: mesh at September 14, 2004 04:43 PM

Good indeed!

Posted by: beck at September 15, 2004 05:05 PM

lifted was the first album i heard too and now bright eyes is allmost all i listen too.

Posted by: dustin adams at September 30, 2004 12:33 PM

Idiots.

Posted by: Your Mom at November 4, 2004 08:19 AM

This essay is bullshit. You understand Conor about as well as I understand cars (not at all). If you want to pray for anything for Conor pray for Conor to find peace. As far as Conor finding Jesus...you obviously don't understand him. "There is only YOU and what YOU make the truth" think about it.

Posted by: Sammie at November 14, 2004 03:57 PM

Sammie,
This essay is bullshit. You understand Conor about as well as I understand cars (not at all). If you want to pray for anything for Conor pray for Conor to find peace.

It's quite possible I've gotten Conor wrong, but I think there's some truth to what I said. There seems to be a common thread in much of his music which expresses a want for something outside of himself.

As far as Conor finding Jesus...you obviously don't understand him. "There is only YOU and what YOU make the truth" think about it

I think (?) you're trying to say here that one of the things I've missed about Conor is that he is a relativist. I picked up on that (like you I thought that line you cited from "Don't Know When..." makes that pretty clear), but I don't think it changes my major observations on Conor:

-he doesn't like himself
-he has a desperate love for his friends, which is somewhat rooted in a search for purpose
-he desperately wants a woman to know and love him
-he has very little or no hope

These observations make me think that Conor needs love, hope, and a purpose. I believe that he can find these things in Christ. That's why I pray the way I do for him. It's not because I think he agrees with me on my ideas about Jesus (as you pointed out, a relativist obviously wouldn't), but part of me hurts for him and wants better things for him. I believe Jesus is what he needs.

Let me know if I’ve missed your point. I'd be interested to hear some more of your thoughts on how you think I've misunderstood Conor.

Posted by: aduff at November 14, 2004 09:43 PM

he says "fuck" instead of forgot.

Posted by: yah at November 30, 2004 06:58 PM

Yeah, that's true. Since this was a speech I had to edit out that. I didn't think my audience would appreciate it.

Posted by: aduff at December 1, 2004 11:00 AM

Let the record show that the person posting as "James" is a cheap imposter. Yo soy el Santiago...

Posted by: Graebner at December 6, 2004 09:58 PM

I know this is old, but even so, I couldn't resist commenting. Wow, you're an idiot! I hope you do waste your time on useless prayer for someone you don't know and obviously can't read from a distance. By the way, why'd you change certain lyrics? Did you just get them wrong, or were you too embarassed to put--oh my--curse (haha) words on your site?

Posted by: Tooty at December 23, 2004 01:42 AM

Tooty,
I don't consider my prayers to be useless. I believe that God wants us to pray for others. Nor do I think that my prayers for Conor are greatly affected by my ability to read him. I pray that he would come to know Christ. I don't have to know him intimately to know that he needs a savior.

I don't have any particular aversion to cursing on the site (unless it becomes gratuitous, but then my objection is less with the cursing than the immaturity that is driving it). The reason I edited the curse words out is because this post was originally given as a speech. One of the guidelines in public speaking (and communication in general) is to consider who your audience is and tailor your style to them. I thought that hearing me say "fuck" a couple of times would draw their attention away from the content of the speech. I wanted my audience walking away chewing on the ideas I presented, not flustered because I cursed at them.

Both of your points seem to be driven by irrational emotion rather than thoughtful reasoning. I'm not sure if that emotion is anger, fear, or what, but I'd be interested in hearing why this post brought that out in you (if you'd care to discuss it).

Posted by: aduff at December 23, 2004 10:29 AM

I liked your post. I agree with a lot of what you said. I found your site because I was about to attempt writing poetry, which was triggered in large part to listening to Bright Eyes a lot lately. I think he does a great job being symbolic, subtle, yet at the same time very precise (he writes "In a house by myself, I hear the ice start to melt, and I watch the rooftops weep for the sunlight" I would have written "I'm in my living room and it snowed"). I was looking for a few lines from his songs to give me some inspiration, so I googled "conor oberst lines" and got your blog.

When I first got "Lifted", I felt much like you did, in that I saw a lot of myself in him. I think pretty much everyone, at least some of the time, feels similar depression, hopelessness, or longing for 'something more'. There are thousands of songs discussing these things, but what I like about Conor's songwriting is how he has a clear and detailed understanding of these feelings that closely parallels my own. Also, just throughout his songs, he demonstrates consistently that he's thinking about things that I think about a lot and he thinks about them in the same way as I do.

Anyway, I probably could've expressed my thoughts more clearly, but I posted this on a whim and I have to abruptly leave the computer, I'll bookmark your page and I really enjoyed your speech.

Posted by: Mike V at December 28, 2004 10:28 PM

Mike,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's nice to hear from someone who appreciates Conor's writing. After I started listening to him I found that much of the other music I listened to sounded trite.

There's also something about his level of honesty and vulnerability that is attractive to some fundamental part of who I am. I've been working in the corporate world for a few years now, and I've noticed that most people put up a front for each other. It's like everybody picks up the same bland, vanilla, fit for mass consumption personality when they start working in a large company. There's a love for people in some part of me, so it frustrates me when people won't be who they really are or share what they really think. It reminds me of what's happening to the medium-sized towns in this country. Every town has the same restaurants, shops, strip-malls, etc. None of them have any unique personality. Similarly, all of the people at work have the same sense of humor, mannerisms, opinions, etc.

I know there's something underneath the facade. I know there is pain, and hope, and loss, and love. That's one of the reasons I like Conor's writing so much. I feel like he is being as real as anyone I've ever known.

Posted by: aduff at December 29, 2004 10:57 AM

Well, though I personally don't really agree with you, I'm not going to harp on you and throw around petty names, like that. Keep in mind, though, on 'Fevers and Mirrors' and in a few interviews, Conor says that some of his lyrics are non-autoboigraphical. Like the "brother" who drowned in a bathtub. And there are songs out there like 'Bowl of Oranges' and 'True Blue'.

PS. It's "LIFTED or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground', no "close" in there.

Posted by: Lee at February 3, 2005 05:38 PM

Lee,
Thanks for the comments. Yeah, some of his stuff isn't autobiographical. When I wasn't able to find much information on which ones were and which ones weren't, so I used my best judgement.

That being said, whether or not his songs are autobiographical doesn't really change the main thrust of my speech. There's a thread through much of his music that gives you the sense of a depressed, lonely person whether they are "about" him or not. Even some of his "upbeat" stuff communicates a lack of hope. For example, check out these lines from "Bowl of Oranges":

So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone.
And your eyes must do some raining if you are ever going to grow.
But when crying don't help and you can't compose yourself.
It is best to compose a poem, an honest longing or simple song of hope.
That is why I'm singing...
Baby don't worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel like crying,
I'm gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can't, if it just hurts too bad,
then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company
through those days so long and black.

I noticed your email address was from the UK. I'd be interested in hearing how you came to know about Conor Oberst. Is he well-known where you live?

Posted by: aduff at February 4, 2005 11:17 AM

it only feels worse when i stay in one place, so i'm always pacing around and walking away.

--yo kid, you ever think of spending a week without the pretense of christianity?

then we can trade places, play musical graves, until then walk away, walk away, walk away.

Posted by: tobias at March 6, 2005 09:35 AM

Tobias,
Yeah, I have. It's pretty scary to think about.

Posted by: aduff at March 7, 2005 09:51 AM

The only thing worse than anathematizing people is to pray for people who explicity denounce your "god." This same "god" that you pray to is invoked by millions of people to commit murder. Why don't you try to find salvation through a more original means, rather than accepting make believe.

Posted by: matt Lucz at March 11, 2005 02:52 AM

Matt,
I can’t tell if your comments were intended to just communicate a sense of frustration and anger at my speech or if you were trying to make a point. In case of the former, I’d be interested to hear what it is in my speech that made you feel angry. In the case of the latter I’ve addressed your ideas below.

The only thing worse than anathematizing people…

I had to look up “anathematizing”. It seems to mean to excommunicate or curse someone. I think I’m missing the significance of this word in your thought. Were you excommunicated? Was Conor? Do you think I'm advocating anathematizing?

The only thing worse than anathematizing people is to pray for people who explicity denounce your "god."

Why is it a bad thing to pray for someone who “denounces” my God? Even if you don’t believe in God I don’t see how you can view my prayer as anything but an act of goodwill. I want good things for Conor. I think that God can give Conor everything he needs (hope, a purpose, love, etc.).

This same "god" that you pray to is invoked by millions of people to commit murder.

I think you’re saying something to the affect of “because lots of people do lots of bad things in the name of God that faith in God is bad.” I’ve run across this idea before (see the later comments for http://aduffdelnooga.chattablogs.com/archives/018256.html), and I used a metaphor to help shed some light on it. Faith in God is like a chainsaw. Some people use chainsaws for bad purposes (hurting people). That doesn’t make the chainsaw a bad thing; nor does it make all people who use chainsaws bad. Some people use chainsaws for good purposes. Does that help?

Why don't you try to find salvation through a more original means…

Why should I look for a more “original means”? This is a new idea to me. Are you saying that it is better to “find salvation” through your own unique way? This raises some questions in my mind. What does it mean to you to “find salvation”? Why do you think that it is good to be original in this pursuit? What would being original look like?

Posted by: aduff at March 11, 2005 09:22 AM

It's interesting to me how many negative comments this speech is drawing. I keep hoping one of these guys who feels so angry about it will write back with some follow up to my questions. I don't mind someone blowing off steam in my direction, but It seems that that is all it is. Their anger doesn't seem rooted in anything real. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction. I'm hoping that eventually someone who holds this view will join with me in a real discussion.

Posted by: aduff at March 11, 2005 09:33 AM

I spent some time this weekend thinking about the responses I've had to this post. It occurred to me that it is likely that those who are responding in an angry and insulting manner are not upset that I would want Christ for Conor, but rather that I would want Christianity for Conor. I think I need to explain that statement.

I was thinking that all many American non-Christians know of Christ is what they see from those claiming to be “Christians”. I believe that the only “Christians” many people know are people who claim love, peace, joy, humility, and enlightenment but are marked by hate, worry, discontent, pride, and ignorance. In their eyes this makes “Christians” a bunch of self-deceiving hypocrites that have the nerve to think others should be like them. This, in my mind, would explain some of the ire I’ve received over my speech, and if this is the reason, I can’t say I blame them. Who wants to be a part of a religion that apparently turns people into idiots and jerks?

If this is the case, my response to a person who has had this experience with Christians and want nothing to do with Christ because of it would be “Don’t throw away Christ with the Christians”. It is true that we are often very poor examples of the man we claim to follow and that many who claim to follow him do so in ignorance and misunderstanding, but that points to how patient, forgiving, and loving Christ is to take us as his followers at all. If you read the Gospels you’ll see a man that is all of the things Christians aspire to be without being any of the bad things that we actually are.

All of that to say I don’t blame anyone for discounting Christianity because of the people that claim to be Christians. It could very well be a completely reasonable response to what you’ve seen from Christians. But I would say that in discounting what you’ve seen from Christianity don’t discount Christ. He is much more than Christians often show him to be.

Posted by: aduff at March 14, 2005 09:25 AM

Your chainsaw metaphor is silly. Most intelligent people wouldn't want to follow the same "god" that it followed by child-molesting, profiteering priests. By the by, if you are a religious zealot like you purport to be, you shouldn't have to look up the word "anathematize." And when I say look for an original means to find salvation, I'm saying it's pretty lame to buy into a pop-culture god and say you are saved. Tell me - if you were born into this world with no knowledge of organized religion, what would you have done? That is a good starting point to begin searching for an "original" means of salvation. But hey, I don't care - there are billions of people out there who claim to believe what YOU believe, so don't let me try and stop you. Just remember, when you subscribe to an institution that has been adopted by billions of other people, you where their black eyes. I just don't put much faith in make-believe.

Posted by: Matt at April 8, 2005 06:10 AM

wear*

Posted by: Matt at April 8, 2005 06:13 AM

"I had to look up “anathematizing”. It seems to mean to excommunicate or curse someone. I think I’m missing the significance of this word in your thought. Were you excommunicated? Was Conor? Do you think I'm advocating anathematizing?"
Anathematize also means: to suggest that someone is going to recieve divine punishment for not following a particular god or deity. While you never said this outright, it is implicit in your self-righteousness and it is explicit in Christian Doctrine.

Why is it a bad thing to pray for someone who “denounces” my God? Even if you don’t believe in God I don’t see how you can view my prayer as anything but an act of goodwill. I want good things for Conor.
When you say that you want "good things" for a complete stranger, you are suggesting that YOU KNOW what is right for that person. It is such a pompous and self-righteous claim that it makes me wonder if YOU have god-like powers.

Why should I look for a more “original means”? This is a new idea to me. Are you saying that it is better to “find salvation” through your own unique way?
Yes. Otherwise you are simply pacified by someone else's ideas.

Why do you think that it is good to be original in this pursuit?
Because if you live your life authentically you can find peace without having to do many oppressive things like hate gay people, condemn people who do drugs and drink, and GOD FORBID IF YOU MASTURBATE!!!! WOA!

Posted by: Matt at April 8, 2005 06:25 AM

Matt,
My response to this got pretty long, so rather than putting it in a comment I'm going to start another post. Here's the link to that post:

http://aduffdelnooga.chattablogs.com/archives/022529.html

Posted by: aduff at April 8, 2005 10:35 AM

I get what you are saying about Conor and I agree with you on many things, but what does it have to do with you praying for Conor? I mean your speech was really good and you actually used some of my favorite lines from his lyrics. However i hope you realize that there is Conor in all of us whether we admit it or not. Everyone has been hurt, everyone has been lost, so many people can relate themselves to Conor. So you might as well pray for all heart-broken emo people outthere. And yes, Conor would be number one person on my list of people i want to meet, but although you can relate to a lot of his lyrics just like many of us can doesn't mean you know Conor, i mean for all we know his lyrics might not correctly represent who he really is, or you can interpret his lyrics wrong. Well, i guess to sum things up i just want to say that don't pray for Conor because you were once him, all of us relate to him at some point, so if you want to pray, just pray for all the lost people out there.

P.S. i have 2 questions to you:
1) do u know conor's view on religion and if so than what are they
2)how would you interpret his "lover i don't have to love" lyrics
thanks, i am just curious.

Posted by: ~ at April 21, 2005 07:40 PM

However i hope you realize that there is Conor in all of us whether we admit it or not. Everyone has been hurt, everyone has been lost, so many people can relate themselves to Conor. So you might as well pray for all heart-broken emo people outthere.

I'm with you, man. I couldn't agree more. I guess Conor stands out in my mind (and prayers) because I think he possesses an intellectual honesty and integrity that is rare these days. This automatically engenders a certain amount of respect and caring for him in me.

but although you can relate to a lot of his lyrics just like many of us can doesn't mean you know Conor, i mean for all we know his lyrics might not correctly represent who he really is, or you can interpret his lyrics wrong

That's true, but I can't think of how he could write about the things he does in such a personal and real way without it being a part of who he is. It makes me think about Bob Dylan. Would anyone question that he hadn't experienced the things he wrote about? No way! His writing wouldn't have been as poignant and effective if he hadn't.

do u know conor's view on religion and if so than what are they

From what I can tell from his music (and a few interviews I've heard/read) he doesn't think there is a God, or if there is then God doesn't care about him. He also seems to think that if religion helps you then that's fine, but it didn't help him so he has rejected it.

how would you interpret his "lover i don't have to love" lyrics

It's interesting that you would ask me about this particular song. I had originally planned my speech around "A Lover I don't Have to Love", but as the speech developed I found that there was too much in this song to address in my speech so I changed my direction.

I feel like I could write a volume on this song, but you're probably not looking for that, so I'll try to keep it fairly brief. It seems to be speaking to his desires to have "easy love", that is, enjoy the momentary pleasure of hooking up with someone you're attracted to without the mess of commitment(this is really interesting when you compare it to his songs that speak more to a desire for real love ("Let's Not Shit Ourselves", "Waste of Paint", "You Will")...it's like he's aware of both of these parts of him).

In the midst of this "for pleasure only" temporary relationship he's talking about getting his hands on whatever drugs are around, so it seems that this song is ultimately an expression of hopelessness which he is trying to forget by whatever means he can.

Posted by: aduff at April 25, 2005 10:35 AM

Thanks for answering my question about lover i don't have to love, however i disagree with you. I don't think that lover i don't have to love is about what you said. This song is not about "the pleasure of hooking up" with someone random, someone you don't care about. Throughout the song Conor says how sometimes he wishes he could just make out with random people, get pleasure from it and in the end not get hurt because there are no feelings involved. That is what this song SEEMS to be about. However the last lines in "lover i don't have to love" is what the song is truly about i think. Yes, he is tired of hurting and throughout the song he just want some easy girl, no feelings involeved, but by the end of the song he gives in to his real personality...he can't enjoy random hook ups with out getting his feelings involved although sometimes he wished he could:
But you but you
You write such pretty words
But life's no story book
Love is an excuse to get hurt
And to hurt
"Do you like to hurt?"
"I do! I do!"
"Then hurt me."

"BUT" above symbolizes that whatever he was talking about in the song doesn't hold true for him. although he wishes not to get involved with feelings, he writes "a book" where his feelings are not hurt, but "love is NO story book" and he would rather hurt and feel true love than not to hurt and be like everyone else, that's his final verdict-
"Do you like to hurt?"
"I do! I do!"
"Then hurt me."

that is what i think this song is about. that is what i hope this song is about because i def. thing it's not like conor to write about pleasure of being with someone who you don't have feelings for.

Let me know what you think about my theory of what this song is about.

Posted by: ~ at April 30, 2005 01:30 AM

P.S. i think the line "I need some meaning I can memorize" from lover i don't have to love once again proves my interpretation of the song.

P.P.S. I am not saying i am right and you are wrong, or anything like that. I am just expressing my thoughts.

Posted by: ~ at April 30, 2005 01:33 AM

Interesting, insightful thoughts. I hadn't considered that perspective. I agree in part with your interpretation. I'll share more on mine.

"BUT" above symbolizes that whatever he was talking about in the song doesn't hold true for him...

I see this song differently. I see it as a dialogue between him and the groupie that he is hooking up with. Most of the song seems to be given from his perspective, but the song seems to change perspective with the line "I want a boy who's so drunk he doesn't talk". I think that this is the girl in his story talking (or thinking or whatever). I think that the following lines are all from her:

I want a lover I don't have to love
I want a boy who's so drunk he doesn't talk
Where's the kid with the chemicals
I got a hunger and I can't seem to get full
I need some meaning I can memorize
The kind I have always seems to slip my mind
But you but you You write such pretty words


She's saying that she doesn't see any real meaning in life (which is why she likes the distraction that comes with drugs), but she thinks that Conor has some sort of meaning. She thinks he "writes such pretty words". I think that she thinks she can find her meaning in Conor. She thinks this because she sees him as something special.

But Conor doesn't seem to appreciate that burden (he's looking for his own meaning afterall). He says to her "But life's no story book Love is an excuse to get hurt", in effect, saying "I might have pretty words, but they haven't brought me meaning and they won't bring you any."

that is what i think this song is about. that is what i hope this song is about because i def. thing it's not like conor to write about pleasure of being with someone who you don't have feelings for.

This is the very thing I admire Conor for. He doesn't try to hide his dark side. He seems to see himself for what he is, both good and bad.

Posted by: aduff at May 2, 2005 09:21 AM

I was unfamilier with Conor Oberst until an hour ago, when he sang "when the president talks to God" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I was so mad when I heard this song. I did a Yahoo search, and your thread came out. I am a prayer warrior, and my rage has turned to heart to pray for this young man. Thanks for your article......

Posted by: James Smith at May 3, 2005 01:25 AM


So Conor doesn't agree with Bush... What's the big deal? He's just expressing himeself. He's has the right to do it. Why are you so "angry"?

See, I think this is our bigger problem here. We like to get "mad" rather than think. I mean Conor is just one person with no proven basis of expertises in anything other than singing. Why do you put any value in it at all? I don't care what Conor thinks. I don't care what Jane Fonda, Barbara Streisand, Alan Alda, Mel Gibson or any of them think. None of them are an expert on anything and don't live in the real world with the rest of the 260,000,000 Americans that are trying to work hard and get by.

If people would stop getting "mad" and spend more time thinking - it would be a much more interesting world. Just look at "Matt" in these posts. He started out angry, assuming and irrational - after a few swats on the nose with the verbal newspaper, he settled down and had an enlightening and interesting discussion.

*THINKING IS IMPORTANT* - stop letting your emotions run away with your minds...

Sequoyah

Posted by: Sequoyah at May 3, 2005 11:19 AM

James,
I'd be interested to hear what about that song made you so angry. At first reading I'm not seeing anything that I find offensive.

Posted by: aduff at May 3, 2005 12:47 PM


I'm betting its the "can he smell his own bullshit"...

Sequoyah

Posted by: Sequoyah at May 3, 2005 06:12 PM

Hey.

I saw this because i just wanted to know if Conor believed because its difficult to know through his songs. Listening to the interview on "An attempt to tip the scales" he says he was raised catholic, How ever alot of his songs would say hes not a believer.
But for someone who doesnt believe he sure does put it in alot of his lyrics, and just so you know, alot of his lyrics do hold true, like he really did take pills and drink alcohol and nearly die. your a smart guy. I liked your speech
i dissagree with that one guy who said wanting good things for someone you dont know is a bad thing, thats ignorant to think. I agree that praying for him to find god would be good, but im still confused with if he does believe in god.

as far as the lover i dont have to love.
i got two different things out of it.

1. he wants someone to just have someone for sex, without actually having to care for them, and that hes using drugs to feel good.And he wants someone who will make him not be like this, that in the end he wants someone who will change his mind on it, someone who would be worth loving.

Do you like to hurt?
I do, I do.
Then hurt me,
Then hurt me,
Then hurt me...-
i think you can you change all the hurts to LOVE

do you like to love?
i do i do
then love me
then love me
then love me

yea so thats one.

2. i think it could be that he wants things to be different, hes always loving people and they are the ones who dont love him, and for once he wants to be loved without loving back, and he wants a girl to be sad like he was.

and then he takes drugs to be happy, but then in the end he cant help loving again.

tell me what you think

Posted by: Alex at May 27, 2005 08:36 PM

Alex,
I'm not sure if Conor believes in God or not, but I tend to think that he doesn't. That being said he seems to be someone is seeking for meaning in life with some sort of open-mindedness. I pray that he comes to know Jesus.

You have some interesting thoughts on "Lover I Don't Have to Love". I definitely agree that part of him wants a real, satisfying love and that a part of him wants to just say "screw it" and do whatever feels good. In one of his more recent songs (off of one of the new albums...I forget the name) he talks about daily working at love for a girl, rather than winning the "lottery" of love. It's interesting to see his developing ideas on love.

Posted by: aduff at May 31, 2005 10:44 AM

hey i found a interview you should read
it made me think conor isnt so sad

http://www.kittymagik.com/interviewsViewer.asp?artist=36

go there

also
tho i found some recording from when conor was like 13 one cd is called water and even at young age little conor wrote some crazy and brilliant lyrics about heart ache and depression you should try and find them and listen but read the interview

Posted by: alex at July 2, 2005 11:33 PM

Cool interview. I really wish I could sit down with Conor and get to know him.

Posted by: aduff at July 5, 2005 01:28 PM

i know this was a long time ago that you had written this, but this was absolutely amazing! i'm so glad that you came to know Christ through all your troubles. I hope he comes to know Christ too.

Posted by: Nathania at July 9, 2005 02:13 AM

i fink Conor is lyk me in every way, lyk no 1 understands me!

Posted by: robbie at August 27, 2005 06:27 PM

first of all i believe many of the people who gave this speech negative feedback knew what they where getting themselves into when they read the title ("Why I Pray for Conor Oberst").

i also came to find the same problem that always seems to come up between people who have different faiths,lack of respect.

i came across this essay,while trying to find what Conor's beliefs where.What i found was that though religion is not his choice he has enough respect to let others choose what they want to believe,and i agree with that completely.

im shure the person who wrote this speech has respect for people who arent of his religion,and maybe he made it seem as if he wanted Conor to choose his Christian belief,but i think all in all he just wants happiness for a man,who in his eye seems to be lost & helpless,but who he also has great repect for.i dont think it matters if he knows him or not,because i dont believe someone would ever wish something bad to happen to a stranger.

Posted by: Jacky at August 19, 2006 02:38 PM

I pray for Conor every day. Conor does believe in God. He just looks at Christianity how a lot of others look at it. He sees hypocrites in the church and thinks that that is what God is. Well, guess what? It isn't true. All Christians aren't hypocrites. Just because someone calls themselves a "christian" doesn't make them one. And on the other hand, everyone sins. None of us are better than the other, and we all need prayer. I love Conor. I love him because he is a child of God and hes walking around in some darkness...under some veil like all of us are until we come to know God. I'm not saying I know God perfectly or that I am better than anyone else, but I'm telling you that I've been there...in the industry around all of the open minded individuals. Open minded means self destructive. Go ahead and try everything that makes you "feel good". Guess what, drugs and friends and false love wears off. God doesn't. His love is everlasting. Believe in it, or don't. I'm not condemning anyone, nor should anyone for believing in God. I agree, killing people in Christs name is BULLSHIT. Jesus never killed anyone, he was about peace. Jesus was the rebel that went against the church, remember?? He was meek and pleasant and eloquent, his words were the most beautiful parablistic poetry, just like Conor. If you like Great art, great and beautiful words, you should read the gospel. Conor has much more in common with Jesus than he thinks...or than you think.

Inner peace, yeah, pray for that. Maybe there are many who reject God because of what a lot of ass hole Christians have done to them. The real Jesus, the original, was a peacemaker, he was a loving man who healed the sick who judged THE RELIGIOUS. He saved the Conors of the world from self distruction and self damnation, and hopelessness.

Depressed people are selfish, they focus on themselves. You know what my cure for depression was? not pills. none. no therapy. I went and started helping other people that were hurting. I was healed. We don't like to think of it that way, do we? It takes a big person to come off of their high horse (pride) and admit that the world doesn't revolve around them or what they think or what they believe. People get miserable because they believe in "whats in THEM". "Them" is human with sins, faults, and imperfections. God is perfect. If you rely on him, really trust him (and don't be a hypocrite), inner peace and happiness will come. Jesus isn't bad. "God" isn't bad. The people are bad.

Conor will be saved soon. God is working in his life, because people are praying for him.

Posted by: soulpour at January 30, 2007 02:27 PM
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