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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