Better Oblivion Community Center is a duo comprising Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. The duo told NME their name is intended to conjure "the duality of impending doom mixed with a positive about all being in this together."
Bridgers and Conor Oberst wrote and recorded their eponymous debut album in secret in Los Angeles in the summer and fall of 2018 and surprise released it on January 24, 2019. This is the lead single from the project.
The rollicking track is named for the famed Welsh poet. The first line of the first verse is taken from the title of one of Thomas' works.
It was quite early one morning Hit me without warning
Thomas' 1944 radio piece Quite Early One Morning was written for the BBC. His posthumous 1954 collection of prose poetry was later titled after the work.
Oberst and Bridgers reference the poet's death in the pre-chorus.
I'll die like Dylan Thomas A seizure on the barroom floor
Dylan Thomas died in New York on November 9, 1953, after several days' prolonged drinking. His final recorded words were: "I've had 18 straight whiskies, I think that's the record."
Better Oblivion Community Center stepped out in public under their new guise for the first time to perform "Dylan Thomas" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on January 23, 2019.
The surreal, bewitching music video was directed by Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner. She tweeted that the clip enabled her to get back at a school bully.
"I'm sorry I have to say it my middle school bully was in love with Conor Oberst and so beyond getting to direct a video for two of my favorite songwriters - vengeance is also sweet."
The song was inspired by an episode of the podcast Reply All where they discussed conspiracy theories surrounding Donald Trump and the right-wing actress Roseanne Barr.
"They were talking about when Roseanne was tweeting all of those conspiracy theory things," Bridgers explained to NME, "and how they think there's a whole conspiracy around Trump playing four-dimensional chess and just fronting that he's stupid – but actually he's like a maniacal super-genius."
"That's my favourite theory," she added. "There are right-wing people who support him who literally think that his idiocy is like a crazy plan that he has always had to play dumb, and then be doing all of these genius things behind the scenes."
That's Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who performs the guitar solo. He's a friend of Conor Oberst.