10. "Nothing Gets Crossed Out"
Album: Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground Year Recorded: 2002
One of the more unique qualities of Oberst as a writer is his ability to be sure of everything and nothing all at once. He firmly stands behind his beliefs about America, politics and war; yet when it comes to his personal relationships he transforms back into this unconfident and shy 13-year-old. But this isn't a bad thing, to be clear. Instead it's this uncertainty that makes him relatable and real, an essential vulnerability that becomes tangible with the sound of his wavering vocals.
This rawness is propelled to the forefront on "Nothing Gets Crossed Out," a track which starts with Oberst worrying about almost every aspect of his life, from his friends and romance to his future and even his music. It stays with Bright Eyes' signature gorgeously somber tone until the end, when it crescendos into a defiant blend of strings and percussion, as Oberst sings "Don't wanna lay here no more," his first explicit desire to change. It's a carousel of emotions that we've all experienced, and no one documents it more beautifully than Oberst on this track.