Everyone loves a good pun, don’t they? Hurrah for Conor Oberst then and his brilliantly titled new single ‘Souled Out!!!’ (exclamation mark overdose obligatory). Taken from his fourth solo record, it’s very much what you’d expect from the infamous American troubadour – a lifting, folky affair that leaves you begging for more.
‘Souled Out!!!’ is a rousing lead single, the perfect bait tempting you to buy the full-length record, which has you hooked after the first two lines of “The barrio starts two streets over/Miguel was a friend of mine.” Oberst’s ability to weave stories into his songs is widely renowned and here it’s no different. Imagery is his weapon as he paints vivid pictures in the listener’s mind with lyrics like “flying kites in the winter time” and “magic carpet is the transportation/went to the moon in a soda can” making for imaginative listening.
With takes of Conor and his Mystic Valley Band talking mixed into the song, ‘Souled Out!!!’ feels rough and raw, like it’s still got some traces of dirt from the Mexican desert left on. And like that, it’s perfect. To polish it up entirely would take away some of the magic and the charm, something Oberst seems to understand.