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American Water

Silver JewsAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Price: $15.90 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 1998 $8.99  
Audio CD, 1998 $15.90  
Vinyl, 2007 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Random Rules 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Smith & Jones Forever 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Night Society 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Federal Dust 4:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. People 4:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Blue Arrangements 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. We Are Real 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Send In The Clouds 5:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Like Like The The The Death 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Buckingham Rabbit 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Honk If You're Lonely 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Wild Kindness 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 

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American Water + Natural Bridge + Tanglewood Numbers
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B00000AG9W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,253 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

"All my favorite singers couldn't sing," Dave Berman of the Silver Jews idiosyncratically speak-croons on "Blue Arrangements." To make the point hit hardest, he doesn't sing so well himself, but it's well-taken: from Lou Reed to Bob Dylan, John Cale to Palace, conventionally "good" singing isn't the most necessary element in effective storyteller-troubadour music. Berman is a prose poet by day and rocker by night, and his lazy-sounding, countrified, skeletal, yet invigorating music celebrates the union of word with sound in a manner simultaneously classic and seldom heard. It's hard not to like a record that begins with the line "In 1984 I was hospitalized for reaching perfection." Thankfully, Berman doesn't trade in the wordplay he and collaborator Steve Malkmus are so expert at. If only Pavement's Brighten the Corners were this relaxed, full of melodic hooks, and cagily profound. --Mike McGonigal

Product Description

Even as an unapologetic anti-metallite, I still can't escape the call of this band's silvery gleam. Still pleasant, still clever, still all the good-great pop action David Berman and Stephen Malkmus can dream up o'er the course of an album's time. Twelve chuckle-along songs hitting red on your geekest hip-o-meter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comfortable clothing April 6, 2000
Format:Audio CD
You've just gotten a stylish, hip, cool new shirt, and you know that when you wear it you ARE the shit. But the shirt is a little uncomfortable, a little tight maybe (like fashionable clothes tend to be), maybe just a tad too trendy. So instead you put on that old beaten up flannel thing that's frayed and faded and falling apart. But it's an instinctive choice, and you make it because this shirt makes you comfortable and happy.
American Water will not blow you away at first listen. It twangs and plods along in an alterna-folky way and takes little day-trips into funk and country. And yes, D.C. Berman's croaks more than sings, but hey, all of my favorite singers couldn't sing, either. But it wears extremely well, especially Berman's stoner-absurdist-yet-compulsively quotable lyrics. I could give many many examples as no doubt other reviewers have, but quoting the lyrics (e.g. "I love your amethyst eyes and your protestant thighs" or "From the digital fountains to the analog mountains, let the mirror express the room") doesn't do justice to their deadpan, cool-as-shit delivery by Berman and his right-hand man (some guy Steve from some other band). Suffice to say that American Water is an extremely comfortable shirt. And you can wear it every day and not smell bad.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic balderdash of soundz from Old Virginia March 15, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
"American Water" is a great album in the way that it frequently creates that certain syngergy of words and music you only find in the very best rock. Berman and Malkmus crooning uh-huh-HUH in the trailing line on the chorus of "People", the band switching rythmic tactics in the background wah-to-ashuffle, that five note guitar-picked downshift on "Send in the Clouds"- great stuff. Malkmus dominates less than on "Starlite Walker", to the band's benefit, usually teaming with Berman on choruses and the music has finally caught up to Berman's lyrics. On "Walker" and especially "The Natural Bridge" the band seemed to essentially play 12 varations on the same mid-tempo backing bit while Berman panned to great effect. Here he's learned those little tricks of inflection your true Rock God needs, the band doing everything from Pavementesque instra-mentals ("Night Society") to cornpone "country" ("Honk If You're Lonely")to hi-hat Christmastime slouchrock ("Smith & Jones Forever"). Pure Gold, folks. A must for Pavement fans or fans of the unclassifiable stuff that has the masses scratching their heads thinking of categories when you play it publicly- truth be told there is no sort of sortableness to this music- just great songs that're smarter than the average bear and like to remind you of it from time to time, as you sing along, Grinning Wryly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanning the Golden Crescent December 13, 1998
Format:Audio CD
Dave Berman's constantly evolving collective has made its best album to date. Unlike "The Natural Bridge", which was so heavily infused with Berman's "Velvet Underground drops acid with Hank Williams" aesthetic that it at times became redundant, "American Water" stretches out a bit more. This tendency towards trying out different sounds is aided by Pavement frontman Steve Malkmus's delightfully skewed harmonizing. "Send in the Clouds" rocks, "People" is almost funky, and "Honk if You Feel Lonely" allows Berman to swagger through a winking Roger Miller send-up. Lyrically, _American Water_ asks the big questions, from "Why can't monsters get along with other monsters" to "why is there something instead of nothing". Owning this record will improve your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Album, Nice Lyrics July 24, 2008
By G. Ivey
Format:Audio CD
This is my favorite of album by the Silver Jews, mostly due to the wonderful interplay of Malkmus's distinctive musical style and Berman's wonderfully rich and dense lyrics. I can't wax effulgent, though as this album does have some significant flaws. Mr. Berman sometimes seems to be trying to condense his verbiage for maximum impact, but unintenionally glosses over his lyrical themes with abstract generalities. Not to detract from his skills, of course; He is a fine poet, but his poetic techniques don't always lend themselves to this medium. Aside from the lyrics, I'm at times frustrated by how weakly constructed some of the harmonies are, and bored by some of the quirky genre omage that creeps in from song to song, and takes some songs over entirely.

I would like to respond to the one low rating on this site for this album:

He's not an accomplished vocalist. We know that, everyone knows that, and every time you complain about it, you look like an ignorant jerk in front of everyone. You can't complain about a lack of virtuoso guitar solos in classical music because that's just not where you find high-speed double taps and pick sweeps. Likewise, a lot of indie music's charm is the content's ability to take front stage over the presentation, and the success of front-men who hate the limelight and tell their psychological war stories through their albums is a testament to the potency of this sort of music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silver Jews usher in a new age of seriousness. June 23, 1999
Format:Audio CD
The joke becomes serious with the new release from the Silver Jews. Born from an adolescent Pavement, the Jews have spent their early days playing games in musical daycare and now graduate with to a more stern level of discipline. Sure, D.C. Berman bounces his words off the corners of sanity, occasionally missing, occasionally hitting a bullseye, but the music seldom strays into lunacy. Pavement frontman Steve Malkmus chimes in on a few tunes, making for an added bonus. This album carried an open invitation to my cd player.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars True "Super Group" Makes Great Album
Ex-Pavement man Stephen Malkmus appears on several Silver Jews records, but only on this one -- American Water -- do we sense his collaboration with the Jews' "Semite-in-Chief"... Read more
Published 13 months ago by ChesterM
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, terribly depressing, messed up, melodic, mind wandering...
Wonderful, terribly depressing, messed up, melodic, mind wandering music. Belongs along-side my 90's heroin inspired albums. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lauren B.
5.0 out of 5 stars More stylistically varied than any of their records since Starlite...
On this album Berman sings about love in metaphysical terms and seems to reference Heidegger. Also the true belief/truth thought experiment of Smith and Jones. Read more
Published on April 23, 2012 by sportsanalogyjudo
5.0 out of 5 stars The sublime, or something like it
This is my favourite album (or, at the very least, the best album by my favourite band), so I'm obliged to write a review that is as little help as possible to somebody actually... Read more
Published on October 23, 2011 by Alex Garnett
5.0 out of 5 stars splendid stuff
1. 10
2. 9.5
3. 7
4. 8.5
5. 9.8
6. 9
7. 8.5
8. 9
9. 9
10. 9.5
11. 8
12. 9.8
Published on June 16, 2011 by KG
2.0 out of 5 stars Cashing the slacking
You could do worse if slacker rock is your thing, but eerily evoking a third-rate imitation of what you do better elsewhere for the sake of your (even more wearily witty) buddies... Read more
Published on January 11, 2010 by IRate
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, Understated, Laid Back Folk-Rock
This is an odd and highly entertaining amalgam of Lou Reed vocals, twisted lyrics, and laid-back song structures that are married to country-rock and modern rock arrangements, and... Read more
Published on May 1, 2008 by Todd and In Charge
2.0 out of 5 stars Rampant grade inflation... for bad singing...
I'm looking at the effusive reviews for this Silver Jews record and they just underscore how unreliable Amazon customer reviews are. Five stars for this album? Ridiculous. Read more
Published on August 29, 2007 by aproductofsociety
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomonal Album
This is the ultimate in laid back folk rock. The guitars are powerful but relaxed, the lyrics actually mean something, and the vocals are hollow and bold. Read more
Published on December 2, 2004 by "BLT" Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars how can.
This album is just, nice. And down to earth. Very simplistic, at best.

Berman's poetic lyrics outshine Malkmus and his wails.
Published on September 21, 2004 by Toaster
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