Bright Eyes Seek Reprieve on “Forced Convalescence”

Nearly a decade ago, Conor Oberst, Nathaniel Walcott and Mike Mogis released their ninth studio album, 2011’s The People’s Key. It was the last of Bright Eyes for the time being, until earlier this year when the Omaha indie rockers reunited and released their first single in nine years, “Persona Non Grata.” Bright Eyes are still rolling with their second single “Force Convalescence.”

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Produced by Bright Eyes and engineered by Michael Harris and Steve Churchyard, “Forced Convalescence” was written by Oberst and Bright Eyes’ pianist Walcott and features an all-star ensemble with Bright Eyes guitarist Mogis and Walcott on piano, mellotron, synth, and harpsichord, The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass, drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age), and percussionist Kip Skitter.

Rounding out the track is a ‘Forced Convalescence” choir featuring James Connor, Quishima Dixon, Natalie Ganther, Anthony Johnson, Edward Lawson, Jennifer Lee, Sharetta Morgan-Harmon, and Marquee Perkins, all led by conductor Jason McGee.

Bright Eyes (l to r): Nate Walcott, Conor Oberst,and Mike Mogis (Photo: Shawn Brackbill)

For a year fraught with uncertainty, 2020 marks several milestones for the band, who debuted with A Collection of Songs Written 1995-1997 back in 1998. More than two decades later, Bright Eyes’ resurrection sees the band signed to a new label, Dead Oceans, and some retrospection since 2020 is the 20 anniversary of the band’s third album Fevers and Mirrors. Albums I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn also turned 15 earlier this year.

Newly united, the band felt it was the right time to regroup and confront, head on, the current tumultuous times, evident in “Forced Convalescence.”

Never straying from political angst, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning spoke to the political crises of the times, and as if no time has passed, there’s a new dawn of political upheaval, social injustice, and pandemic. 

In one beautifully bright cacophony of sound, “Forced Convalescence” explores the human condition and its struggles with an uncertain future.

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