Two music videos for Conor Oberst's songs from solo album “Upside Down Mountain” tackle what is a disastrous dystopian future. In May, he dropped the visuals for upbeat and smart single “Zigzagging Toward the Light.” Part 2 arrived this week, for track “Common Knowledge.”
Watch both in succession below.
This second part of the depressing suite also takes place in New York, 10 years after some sort of cataclysm took place on Earth and knocked out all the electricity. An artificial intelligence force took control and speaks to the world's subjects like a calm and outward-interested singularity from “Her.” Oberst here is dealing with the consequences, by wandering the halls of his record home Nonesuch and fondly recalling memories from before the fall.
Here are 5 observations about his next little journey in “Common Knowledge”:
1. In a dystopian future, you can smoke indoors again. Zing!
2. In a dystopian future, record labels suffer a lot from what they suffer today: emptied cubes, abandoned office furniture, amazing views of New York City and no way to really enjoy it. Zing?
3. God, New York weather is always so sh*tty.
4. Conor Oberst is a clear liquor man, unless that was distilled a la the liquor Dozer makes in “The Matrix”: “It's good for two things, degreasing engines…”
5. I have trouble putting records on the platter when I've been drinking, too, man.
I think the emphasis on “ritual” from the first short film is being expanded and broken (like, literally) here, with the trimming of those truly foul long locks, the mazel tov in busting a bottle, the habits of vice, the burial of the old. Just be careful walking barefoot around broken glass.
“Common Knowledge” is nervous, “fatalistic” and self-destructive — not nearly as charmed as “Zigzagging,” and perhaps that's the point.
Oberst is kicking off a new leg of touring next week, dates below. He's also plotted a single release for Black Friday (Nov. 28), with unreleased “Upside Down Mountain” session songs “Standing on the Outside” and “Sugar Street.”
Here are Conor Oberst's tour dates:
Sept 14 Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre #
Sept 16 Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater #
Sept 18 Tulsa, OK @ Cain”s Ballroom #
Sept 19 Houston, TX @ House of Blues #
Sept 20 Austin, TX @ Stubb”s Waller Creek Amphitheater #
Sept 21 Dallas, TX @ AT&T Performing Arts Center – Annette Strauss Artist Square #
Sept 23 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre #
Sept 24 Aspen, CO @ Belly Up #
Sept 25 Bellvue, CO @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre #
Sept 27 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory #
Sept 28 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory #
Sept 30 Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market #
Oct 1 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom #
Oct 3 San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Oct 4 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore #
Oct 5 Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre (Co-Headline w/ John Prine)
Oct 11 Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Music Festival
# with Jonathan Wilson