Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bright Eyes breaks out the bagpipes for "Persona Non Grata," their first new song in 9 years

Illustration for article titled Bright Eyes breaks out the bagpipes for Persona Non Grata, their first new song in 9 years
Photo: Shawn Brackbill

Conor Oberst hasn’t shared new Bright Eyes tunes in nearly a decade, occupying himself instead with solo work, Desaparecidos, and Better Oblivion Community Center, the band he started with Phoebe Bridgers. With the pulsing vein that is Fevers And Mirrors turning 20, however, a reunion of some kind was assuredly in the works for 2020, and in January Oberst began teasing new music from his old moniker. Today, with “Persona Non Grata,” we get a taste.

As in Bright Eyes songs past, Oberst’s quivering vocals cycle knot together biblical references, mundanities, and scraps of character detail inside a dry, romantic ballad of piano, drums, and, in this case, bagpipes. It’s lovely, and a good sign of what’s to come in their upcoming LP, which will arrive sometime this year via Dead Oceans.

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In a letter shared with the song’s press release, the band sends “love and solidarity” to fans in this time, promising that the album will drop no matter what but that they’re “reassessing” their 2020 touring plans. Read it in full below.

Illustration for article titled Bright Eyes breaks out the bagpipes for Persona Non Grata, their first new song in 9 years
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Here’s the letter in full:

Hello Friends,

Strange days indeed. Just wanted to send our love and solidarity to everyone out there feeling alone, frightened and isolated. You are not alone. We are all in this together. We, like so many others, had many plans for 2020. We will be releasing a new album this year no matter what. We also have lots of touring plans which we are now reassessing. We will keep you informed as things progress. We every much want to get on the road and hope to see you all in person sooner rather than later. Until then, here is a song called “Persona Non Grata.” We hope you like it. It was hard to decide which song to share first because they are all quite different, but this one seemed as good of a place as any to start. And it has bagpipes! Which is a first for us. We hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Thinking of you fondly.

Your pals,

Conors, Mike and Nate

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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