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New American Language

January 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2001
  • Label: Messenger Records
  • Copyright: 2001 Messenger Records, Inc.
  • Total Length: 1:00:19
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001BY7RYG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,024 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

He writes wonderful lyrics and great, catchy melodies.
I_Love_To_Read
I just feel like I want, or need, to listen to every song on the album, every word, all at once, over and over and over.
Ryan P. Dowd
Also, there is probably one of his best songs ever on this cd--New American Language.
Conor O'Sullivan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rob Damm on October 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If the only track on this album was "God Said No",and the rest of the playing time was static, it would still be a great album. Ok, that's silly, but "God said no" is one of the best songs I've ever heard. It is totally heart-wrenching rumination on the irrevesible nature of time and consequently, the indellible marks of guilt and evil. It may not be the best song Bern ever wrote, but it's probably the most ambitious and beautiful.
Oh, yeah, the rest of the album is brilliant too. The title track is another favorite, wherein the singer dreams of not just a new American language, but a kinder, bigger world in general. There isn't a bad track, and while pundits will debate if it is THE best DB album, it is easily the most consistent and listenable.
Great, smart music.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Douglas A. Storm on January 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
You can see from below that there's no need for another review of high praise for Dan Bern, but I wanted him to have another 5-stars under his belt.
A friend said the other day that he felt Bern was derivative of Springsteen, Dylan, etc...a common enough response and not undeserved on much of Bern's work, heck he courts it, even if it is ironic. Well, this album has turned all that over.
Not only does this go beyond much of the previous work, nearly every song can stand with the greats from the past like Chelsea Hotel, it proves that Bern is ready to be HEARD by the rest of the world. I don't think there's an overtly offensive lyric on this album. In the past, a song like "One Thing Real" cut itself off at the POP knees with a verse that could not be played on the radio. Not so here.
I'm a great fan of the self-titled release as a cohesive recording--rare for most albums, and Bern's other albums have songs that can clash against each other--New American Language keeps it together for the whole work. One song after another--all are worthy to be ranked with anyone's favorite by Dan Bern. This album does the work of turning over the influences so overt in the past to create an original voice and sound.
Thanks, Dan. Now get to St. Louis!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nada Adan on July 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The title song in this collection recounts a hilarious he-said/she-said miscommunication about the meaning of love, prompting Bern's idealistic dream of a new American language, "one with a little bit more Spanish." While he's at it, he also dreams of a new pop music, one that "tells the truth, with a good beat and some nice harmonies."
Well, that in a nutshell defines the brilliance of Dan Bern: He tells the truth with a good beat. And any lack of nice harmonies in the background is more than made up for by the gorgeous melodies up front.
You want catchy melodies? Then take a listen to Turning Over, or Albuquerque Lullaby, or Toledo.
You want a good beat? Listen to Sweetness, or Alaska Highway, or Black Tornado, or (especially) Tape.
And then there's the closer, Thanksgiving Day Parade -- 10 minutes and 26 seconds of stream of consciousness that culminates in an ecstasy of pure sonic bliss. It is simply breathtaking, both for the arrangement and the performance.
You want the Truth? It's right here in every song.
If you ever have the good fortune of seeing a Dan Bern live performance, you'll come away realizing that he not only has dreams of a new American language and a new pop music - he's out there living his dreams.
Lucky guy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By audra beauchamp on November 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I saw Dan recently in Asheville, NC. He performed most of the songs from "New American Language". He and the CD are incredible. I reccomend this CD for everyone. I love all of Dan Bern's work and own all of his CDs.
However, I haven't had a huge response when trying to turn others on to his music. I think his song writting is clever and unbelievable, but often, it is difficult to get my friends to pay attention to the lyrics. However, "New American Language" with the new band sound is much easier to love at first listen. Buy this for yourself and all your friends!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Dickey on November 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Dan Bern's fifth album is not only his best, but perhaps the best this year from any artist. If you know Dan Bern's music and like him at all, you should buy this right away. If you don't, it's still going to be a great purchase - I guarantee it will hog your CD player for several weeks, minimum.
Dan Bern has spent much of the last 16 years touring, and most of the shows were just Dan and his guitar. He developed a reputation as a smart, funny, irreverant songwriter who was unconcerned enough with his own fame to record songs that were, well, never going to be on the radio. He also built his reputation as a heavyweight stage presence who could hypnotize a room with nothing but a guitar, microphone, and maybe a beer.
This album, his first with indie label Messanger Records, features a five piece band that manages to bridge folk and rock quite effectively. It is his most "adult" album. He does dabble in his usual social commentary, but this time adds some very personal material, some of which almost seems to foreshadow the 9/11 attacks. "What if all the promises / You thought were broken / Were never really made?" he asks in "Toledo." In the very un-Bern-like "God Said No," he recounts a conversation with God "on the edge of town," in which he pleads for God to send him back in time to right various wrongs. God refuses, of course - when Dan wants to go back and save Jesus, for example, God replies, "You would stare / Tongue no longer working / Eyes no longer seeing / Ears no longer hearing." By the end of the song God is claiming Time as his "secret weapon, my final advantage.
Read more ›
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