12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This album’s groovy, classic rock approach is attributable in no small way to the re-inclusion of Stephen Malkmus, Berman’s longtime friend and original member of the Jews. Taking a break from his own headaches as frontman of Pavement, Malkmus got to live out his fantasy of being lead guitarist while investing American Water with some of his band’s pop appeal. Many embraced the album’s lighthearted approach, while Silver Jews purists decried Malkmus’s overbearing footprint. While it's true that a few songs (“Blue Arrangements,” in particular) sound too much like refried Pavement, the album is in a larger way a successful collaboration between Berman as lyricist and vocalist and Malkmus as guitarist and musical director. (Also, the addition of a new backing band can’t be underestimated.) The partnership climaxes with “People,” perhaps the only great indie rock disco song, which brings out the best in Berman’s poetic wit: “I love to see a rainbow from a garden hose / Lit up like the blood of a centerfold / I love the city and the city rain / Suburban kids with biblical names.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

This album’s groovy, classic rock approach is attributable in no small way to the re-inclusion of Stephen Malkmus, Berman’s longtime friend and original member of the Jews. Taking a break from his own headaches as frontman of Pavement, Malkmus got to live out his fantasy of being lead guitarist while investing American Water with some of his band’s pop appeal. Many embraced the album’s lighthearted approach, while Silver Jews purists decried Malkmus’s overbearing footprint. While it's true that a few songs (“Blue Arrangements,” in particular) sound too much like refried Pavement, the album is in a larger way a successful collaboration between Berman as lyricist and vocalist and Malkmus as guitarist and musical director. (Also, the addition of a new backing band can’t be underestimated.) The partnership climaxes with “People,” perhaps the only great indie rock disco song, which brings out the best in Berman’s poetic wit: “I love to see a rainbow from a garden hose / Lit up like the blood of a centerfold / I love the city and the city rain / Suburban kids with biblical names.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
73 Ratings

73 Ratings

mrjackalope ,

One of the best of the 90s

...easily. Over the course of 12 songs the Silver Jews manage to evoke perfectly the feel of travelling across the United States in an old beat car and not a dime to your name. This is, without a doubt, the best driving album ever made (yes, it beats American Beauty at it's own game) and should have become a landmark American album. Remember, though, that all of D.C. Berman's favorite singers couldn't sing...

Altra ,

One of the best indie recordings of all time

Berman is a lyric genius. In 1984 he was hospitalized for approaching perfection. 'American Water' is a masterpiece of sound, style and poetry and should be in every collection.

Taxiderm the Pachyderm ,

Best Enjoyed In A Car

To get the most enjoyment out of "American Water," I recommend you get on the interstate, roll the windows down, and turn the stereo up as loud as possible. This album's gotten me through many long drives, and it will surely get me through many more.

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