To All the Lights in the Windows

Album: Outer South (2009)
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Songfacts®:

  • Conor Oberst was the lyricist for "To All the Lights in the Windows," though the song is partially credited to The Mystic Valley Band. It's a churning, folksy number that evokes at an almost Western atmosphere, a crunchier version of the "Omaha sound" that colors much of Oberst's lyrics.
  • The songs lyrics are almost entirely Biblical references. For example, Oberst mentions "Jesus off in the water, standing on his feet" and "Moses up on the mountainside." However, the song is not religious in nature. Instead, Oberst uses the Biblical verses as context for the several personal verses contained in the song, all of them pertaining to a woman he's in love with who may or may not love him back. The Biblical references serve two purposes. First, they give his own ordeal an epic, grand feel. Secondly, they point toward the importance of faith in this wavering relationship, and how, as hard as he's been trying, it's starting to slip away.
  • This is considered one of the "pure Oberst" songs on Outer South, since many of the others (even a few written by Oberst) are sung by his bandmates. This was done in attempt to widen the spotlight and downplay his role as creative frontman for a band that he felt assisted him on a significant level.
  • While Outer South garnered mixed reactions from critics, numerous outlets praised "To All the Lights in the Windows" as one of the strongest examples of Oberst's songwriting to date.

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