Subject: Your compilations are fantastic.
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2007 11:04:51 -0800

Dear Rough Trade Shops,

Thank you very much for having some decent taste. You make one hell of a mix tape. Actually, it's not a tape at all. It's a two-CD compilation. Which, albeit not a mix tape, is not something to turn one's nose up at. Making a decent two-CD compilation is no easy task. Let alone to make two great two-CD compilations. The two to which I am referring are obviously "Indie Pop Vol. 1" and "Singer Songwriters Vol. 1." Really. I mean it. You have done a great job. It was damn near perfection all around. There really was just one flaw that I could find. Now, hear me out on this one. Of all the Bright Eyes songs you could have picked, why did you pick that one? I'm not the biggest fan of Bright Eyes, but I am willing to concede that when he is not busy being trite and contrived, he is quite the songwriter and more than worthy of being included on such a compilation. Alright, the problem that I have with the Bright Eyes song that you picked is that it's the one song of his that makes my girlfriend most want to kill herself. Now, I know it's not your fault that Bright Eyes makes my girlfriend want to die. It's Conner Oberst's fault. He can drive anyone into senseless acts of violence. I know this for certain because I once saw him in a music video and albeit I am not particularly a violent man, I had a sudden urge to wring his neck. Unfortunately for myself and fortunately for many fourteen-year-old girls I don't personally know Conner Oberst. Rather than being able to wring his neck, I was left with little other choice but to throw my shoe at the TV. After all, it was not my TV, it was my roommate Eric's television and he was at class. Either way, I venture to guess my impotent act did not accomplish much of anything. In fact, I do not guess at all. I know for certain that it did not accomplish anything. My impotent acts rarely accomplish anything worthwhile. These aimless gestures usually do little more than remind me that at the end of the day I may be no more of a man than Conner Oberst. This only makes me want to beat him up even more. After all, if he is my inner demon, judging by the size of him, I think I can take him. But I most likely will never even get the opportunity to try. So, on that day, realizing that I may never get the opportunity to beat up Conner Oberst and that I may be doomed to walk the Earth with him living inside me, I went for a walk. It was my resolve that maybe compulsive exercise would exorcise the pretentious, immature, inner man-boy right out of myself. Of course it did not. I returned the apartment no better of a person than when I had left. I was just tired and hungry and worried about how I would explain to Eric the mark left on the TV screen by my shoe. Which brings me to my point. I can see how, albeit a great songwriter on occasion, the phenomenon that is Bright Eyes may burrow like some exotic parasite into a person's soul. And once lodged in there, how does one really purge themselves of Conner Oberst? Do they medicate with drink or pills? Or is it through rigid self-discipline? A brisk walk? Forced starvation? Well, apparently my girlfriend seems to think that the only way to rid herself of Bright Eyes is through the action of her own destruction. Which leaves me having to regularly convince her that even if she were to die, Bright Eyes will live on in the soul of a million other partially-developed adult minds who begrudgingly listen to his well-crafted musical odes to immature angst and hopelessness. The point being, one can never purge themselves of Bright Eyes. Conner Oberst's music is just too pervasive and parasitic. With that said, even if one can never win, they can still use tactics of resistance. For instance, when making a mix of singer songwriters, you don't have to immediately start with a Bright Eyes track. You can build up to it. That way I can peacefully enjoy more than one song before my girlfriend has a nervous breakdown. And believe me, I really want to enjoy the rest of the album. It sounds great. You do good work. Really. Just keep in mind this Bright Eyes thing for next time.

Randy Sarafan
Music Fan from America