It’s hard to believe that Bright Eyes’ “Fevers and Mirrors” was released almost 20 years ago. It’s even harder to believe that upon revisiting this album we braced ourselves… and felt nothing. What the fuck is going on?
“Fevers and Mirrors” begins with a recording of a child reading a short story by Marjorie W. Sharmat, a stylized choice that we once thought set the perfect tone. Imagine our surprise when, upon revisiting, we found ourselves skipping over that part of the track immediately, muttering “Yeah yeah, I get it” to ourselves.
Tracks 2 and 3, “A Scale, a Mirror and Those Indifferent Clocks” and “The Calendar Hung Itself” were anthems to us during the most emotionally turbulent times of our lives. Today, they do nothing. It’s not like we thought it would hit us the same way it did in our late teen years. We weren’t expecting a compulsion to grab some whiskey and a pack of cigarettes and sit in the park at night in a fog of melancholy like the good old days. But nothing? Seriously?
Track 4 is titled “Something Vague” which is exactly what we would settle for. Even the faintest hint of emotion, if only out of respect to how important this music once was to us, would totally help us sleep tonight, but it didn’t deliver.
Deciding it was time to break out the big guns we skipped straight to track 7, “When the Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass,” a song so gut-wrenchingly sad that Conor Oberst refused to play it live. Surely this would give us all the feels again, right? Wrong. It might as well have been a commercial jingle.
Seriously, didn’t this song once cut us to our core? Or was it just the ambient piano and the fact we were high a lot?
Have our tastes changed or is our capacity for emotion just diminishing more and more as time goes on? Is this how death starts?
We didn’t even bother with the rest. We got up and went for a long walk. After that song failed to move us we tried to remember the last time we were moved by anything and drew a blank. We feel numb and apathetic. And feeling that makes us feel alone and sad.
And feeling that makes us want to listen to “Fevers and Mirrors” again!