15. "Lover I Don't Have to Love"
Album: Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground Year Recorded: 2002
While "Lover I Don't Have To Love" is one of the more lyrically aggressive offerings from Bright Eyes, it's also one of the best examples of Oberst's narrative abilities. A dark story showcasing Oberst at his most vulnerable, the song drops pearls of emo wisdom like, "Love's an excuse to get hurt," but does it over what is one of the band's most immediately gripping musical backdrops. Instead of acoustic guitars and brushed percussion, this one mixes orchestral elements with ill-boding electronic touches and heavy-handed drums that pull it all together.