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7/29/2005

You Are (And Pretty Much Always Have Been) My Sunshine

Tanglewood Numbers, the new Silver Jews album, doesn't come out until October (weird, I reflexively started to write "Cocktober," a word that has never occurred to me before). Even so, I will go slightly and unncessarily nuts in my desk chair if I don't get my thoughts out on "How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down?"

For me (and probably just about everyone who partakes), the richness of previous Jews effors has come from the lyrics. Let's not kid ourselves about the music- it's fine, but its strong suit is utility, it doesn't really make its own statement (prove me wrong, please). This is to differentiate it from other conspicuous indie reverse-trojan horse lyricists like the Mountain Goats, whose style seems to have some sort of important, discernable impact/relation to the music (but on first listen, the music comes off as a fragile shell).

Anyhow, TN is style, for miles and miles, in all its faults (which there are many), but "How Can I Love You..." explodes like some gorgeous refutation of just about everything he's done. A two-step on the edge of Columbus' map, Berman drops his guns in just-preapocalyptic bliss; the music is like Beat Happening covering Big & Rich, if the latter followed through on the "everyone's invited thing" and climaxxxed at Zappa's "there will come a time when you can even take your clothes off when you dance" utopianism. "Time is a game only children play well, how can I love you if you won't lie down?" Vocally, motherfucker's itching like I've heard few itch, the quake in his voice that once seemed like angelic sensitivity has turned into cracker insanity; de-robed, smearing his chest with butter, and brandishing a machete, this could be Bill Murray in Rushmore somewhere between stuffing the kid playing basketball on the playground and shoving airplane bottles of liquor into hospital bedsheets. Makes me want to leave work, run down to the park, and start barking at dogs.

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