Conor Oberst’s new video for “Zigzagging Toward the Light” – the first clip for a song off his most recent album, Upside Down Mountain – begins a decade into the future. There, the Bright Eyes frontman sits for an interview at an office in a skyscraper, speaking to a disembodied voice. When asked where the camera is, the voice answers, “The camera is everywhere.” When that voice cooly states, “We understand that your memories must haunt you, but the more you tell us the smarter we will become,” the video returns to the present moment, where Oberst is walking through midtown Manhattan, speaking the song’s lyrics into a digital recorder while the track plays in the background.
In a profile for the current issue of Rolling Stone, Oberst expressed a similar concern regarding the advancement of technology, picking up his iPhone and complaining about “staring into this bullshit all day.” In an earlier interview with RS the singer had said of social media, “I don’t know if it makes me an asshole to not want to talk to my fans. But I’m not going to sit on a fucking computer and try to talk to some fucking 16-year-old in wherever-the-fuck.”
Oberst’s wariness about technology is one of several subjects that leave their mark on Upside Down Mountain, a Seventies-folk-influenced LP that’s his best work in years. The album was released by Nonesuch on May 19th, and Oberst will spend the upcoming months on the road, playing venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and events like the Newport Folk Festival. Click here for his full tour schedule and grab the album via iTunes or Nonesuch.