PURPLE MOUNTAINS – ” Purple Mountains “

Posted: December 20, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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David Berman, the former head of Silver Jews, spent his entire 40s rarely leaving the house, barely doing more than reading and sleeping. If it’d been any other artist, I would’ve been suspicious towards those kind of press infos. But not with Berman. For everyone not familiar with his work yet: Silver Jews were the epitome of brilliant, literate, freak americana solitude – a legend for the outsider music scene in America. In 2009, Berman decided to end all that. He quit music alltogether and celebrated his retreat as relentlessly as he created his music before. The reason for him to pick up the guitar again was the death of his mother. And it culminated in one of the essential tracks of this comeback record as Purple MountainsI Loved Being My Mother’s Son. A sparse but still pars-pro-toto-track for Purple Mountains. Backed by indie rock band Woods, Berman crafted some of his best songs ever on this record and imprinted them with a new-found wisdom of the finite.

David Berman died by suicide only a month after Purple Mountains was released and it’s actually pretty devastating, that he had to remember us first how much he and his music will be missed. But then again, it feels appropriate for the way Berman approached his artistic life with. His songs have always been stubborn, sardonic observations of his own complicated depression and the havoc it wreaked regarding his relationships. Purple Mountains develops that. At the heart of it: I Loved Being My Mother’s Son: A crushing statement of helplessness in light of death.

Apart from all the witty, tattoable one-liners (if no one’s fond of fucking me, maybe no one’s fucking fond of me – a line that mirrors the dialectics of 2008s My Pillow is The Threshold: first life takes time than time takes life), Purple Mountains is Berman at his most vulnerable and can’t be unread as a final statement now that he’s dead.

When the dying’s finally done and the suffering subsides/All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind“. But, and that’s the last lines David Berman gifted us: „I’ll put my dreams high on a shelf/I’ll have to learn to like myself/Maybe I’m the only one for me/on holidays“. It is that time of the year to reflect on that. Putting on Purple Mountains once in a while might help learning.

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