An intimate, fully authorized biography of Conor Oberst, and the indie/emo rock scene he helped build, from the only writer to have gained full access to him.
By the time Conor Oberst turned 18, in 1998, the indie rock musician had already transformed music: he had released several records, launched the iconic Saddle Creek Records label, helmed multiple bands with the Midwest’s most promising talents, and became the face of an emerging post-punk genre popularly known as “emo.”
In the twenty years since, indie rock has expanded in similar fashion, shaped indelibly by Oberst’s pioneering albums as a solo act and with his band Bright Eyes. Yet while Oberst’s prolific output and poetic, emotionally frank lyricism have earned him comparisons to Bob Dylan, he remains an elusive figure within the music world, until now.
Emma Kemp, the first and only writer to have gained full access to Oberst, has broken the barrier. Based on scores of interviews with him, his family, and collaborators, Our Modern Joy considers Oberst’s singularity in the indie music scene and the social forces that contributed to his rise. With illuminating detail and the stark intimacy of a close confidant, Our Modern Joy is a wholly unique take on the indie rock landscape of the past two decades.