Bright Eyes will release their new album Down In The Weeds Where The World Once Was, on August 21st, via Dead Oceans. Tonight they’re back together to play their brand new single “Mariana Trench” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
The video for “Mariana Trench” was created by Art Camp. Speaking on the creation of the video, Art Camp states: “The production of the video started at the beginning of quarantine and finished as people came back out of their homes and took to the streets together. In 18 different bedrooms across the world, listening to Bright Eyes, keeping each other company, we got the chance to collaborate on a story about embracing and celebrating change. The animation is composed of 2,200 hand-illustrated ink paintings based on original 3D animation and archival footage. We hope it makes you excited to imagine that everything could be new.”
As a title, as a thesis, Down In The Weeds Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable. For Conor Oberst, coming back to Bright Eyes was a bit of that. A symbol of simpler times, vaguely nostalgic. And even though it wasn’t actually possible to go back to the way things were, even though there wasn’t an easy happy ending, there was a new reality left to work with.
The end of Bright Eyes’ unofficial hiatus came naturally. Oberst pitched the idea of getting the band back together during a 2017 Christmas party at Walcott’s house. The two huddled in the bathroom and called Mogis, who was Christmas shopping at an Omaha mall. Mogis immediately said yes. The resulting Bright Eyes album came together unlike any other of its predecessors. Down In The Weeds is Bright Eyes’ most collaborative, stemming from only one demo and written in stints in Omaha and in bits and pieces in Walcott’s home. Radically altering a writing process 25 years into a project seems daunting, but Oberst said there was no trepidation: “Our history and our friendship, and my trust level with them, is so complete and deep. And I wanted it to feel as much like a three-headed monster as possible.”
The recording sessions took place between between Omaha’s ARC Studios, Los Angeles’s Electro-Vox, and LA’s Capitol Studios. Aside from the surprising rhythm section made up of Jon Theodore (Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age, One Day as a Lion) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, the compositions expand the expectation of what Bright Eyes’ sound is.
Down In The Weeds Where The World Once Was
1.) Pageturner’s Rag
2.) Dance And Sing
3.) Just Once In The World
4.) Mariana Trench
5.) One and Done
6.) Pan and Broom
7.) Stairwell Song
8.) Persona Non Grata
10.) Hot Car in the Sun
11.) Forced Convalescence
12.) To Death’s Heart (In Three Parts)
13.) Calais To Dover
14.) Comet Song