69. Bright Eyes, 'Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground'
A true American original: the ghost of Walt Whitman setting up shop in the wraith-white, rail-thin frame of a acoustic-strumming Nebraska Cure fan. On his breakthrough album, Conor Oberst and a grandly shambling indie-folk ensemble turned his twenty-something angst into songs as sprawling and overwhelming as the Midwestern horizon. Oberst reaches out with stuff like "They say they don't know when, but a day is gonna come / When there won't be a moon and there won't be a sun / It will just go black, it will just go back to the way it was before," and his warbled conviction in makes it seem like some emo version of "Hands Across America" – a pity party we all can join, stretching from sea to shining sea.