So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
Conor Oberst spent the 2010s busier than most of his songwriter peers. He released The People’s Key, his final album with his band Bright Eyes, in 2011. He dropped an album with his other band, Desaparecidos, in 2015. He released three solo albums — Upside Down Mountain, Ruminations and Salutations — from 2014 to 2017 and also teamed up with indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers to form the folk-pop superduo Better Oblivion Community Center. “I’ve been writing songs since I was fucking 13 years old,” he told Rolling Stone in 2014. “So much of my younger life was devoted to endless tours and a frantic need to create. But maybe I don’t need to chase every ambition.”
Oberst reflects on the past 10 years, from watching Peaky Blinders to befriending legendary session drummer Jim Keltner.
My favorite album of the 2010s was: Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps
My favorite song of the 2010s was: Felice Brothers’ “Days of the Years”
The artist who had the best decade was: Felice Brothers; they made the best music
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: My iPhone playing “A Punk” every time I plug it in.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Peaky Blinders. I’m in love with Cillian Murphy.
The best new slang term of the decade was: Peng. New to me anyway.
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Rage Against the Machine at the Palladium in Los Angeles in 2010.
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: Jim Keltner. We became fast friends and he ending up producing and playing drums on my record Salutations.
The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: Thinking there was no way Donald Trump could get elected.
The best book I read this decade was: Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: Got a dog. She is precious and scruffy.
The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: Pretty much everything.
The best outfit I wore this decade was: My best black suit for weddings and funerals.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: Me filling out this survey.
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: That people can agree on reality again.