found Oberst working with a sense of literary ambition, recurring symbols, and persistent motifs: the LP's title openly alluding to the two images its songwriter returned to again and again.

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Conor Oberst has accepted Joanie Faircloth's recent public apology for accusing the Bright Eyes frontman of rape.

"This has been extremely difficult and stressful for me personally and for those I love," Oberst said in a statement.

"I'm appreciative of the family, friends, fans and business partners who supported me throughout this and look forward to happier times as we all move forward with our lives." story in which she said Oberst had taken advantage of her fandom.

Even after a career of such tricks, it still sounds shocking —unsettling, even— to hear the 18-year-old singer literally It's an unlikely entreaty to a rousing sing-along: "I believe that lovers should be tied together! " If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, what about a teenaged songwriting wunderkind scorned?

/And thrown into the ocean in the worst of weather! What dame did young Conor so wrong that he decided to wish torture and death upon anyone who dared to be happy?

What emotional crime caused the songwriter to outlaw happiness?

Once again, you'd suspect that Oberst is joking, but hear his voice quiver and quaver over those bloody-knuckled acoustic-guitar strums and random electronic bleeps and bashed-out percussion, and the delivery could convince you of anything.

I was going to call this countdown ' Top 10 Conor Oberst' songs, but none of Oberst's recent non-Bright-Eyes tunes —in his lazy, bro-ish goof-off Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and in the alt-rock-celebrity supergroup Monsters of Folk— are worthy of a spot amongst the songsmith's best work.

Most of Oberst's most memorable musical moments came when he was still young and angst-riddled; his longplaying magnum opus, Lifted, was, after all, authored when Oberst was all of 21.

His tunes tend to be studies in self-loathing, political rage, or both; either way, they're always richly, viciously poetic.'s penultimate, climactic jam would be hilarious if it weren't for its delivery, which is so raucous with pantomimed pain that this "Unfortunate Seduction" seems hardly to be a laughing matter.

Bolstered by the nimble-limbed drumming of Jeremy Barnes (of Neutral Milk Hotel/A Hawk and a Hacksaw), chorus vocals by Kevin Barnes (of Of Montreal, and no relation), and ghostly, ghastly swipes of dangling pedal-steel by Mike Mogis, the song builds to a fever pitch, where Oberst's unrestrained, face-reddening yells swallow the stereo.