48. Bright Eyes
Years active: 1995 - present
Influenced: Pedro the Lion
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Jam: "First Day of My Life." A song for when it feels like love might actually be real this time, cracks and all.
Conor Oberst and his emo band Bright Eyes were the rallying flag for a whole group of confused, fucked up emotional teenage music lovers. The years of Bright Eyes adoration have retrospectively come to an end for most of their initial fanbase, but this was one of those groups that really got inside the mentality of their audience and brought those emotions directly into the music. Oberst's quavering, pining voice echoed the many concerns and qualms of teenagers (or just emotionally unstable adults) scattered across the country, stuck in their own lonely nights and diary-thoughts. His confessional narratives and bony guitar work are vertebrae in the back-bone that became the "emo" genre. Oberst later split off for his own solo career into myriad other groups, but Bright Eyes was a foundational part of his own fame, and it seems, self-awareness.