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Music / Silver Jews

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The Silver Jews were a lo-fi indie/alternative country band from New York City (and later Virginia, and later Nashville). Though poet David Berman was the leader and songwriter of the band, and its only constant member, the Silver Jews unfortunately became best known as a side project of hugely more successful band Pavement, due to its members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich being part of the band's earliest lineups.

The Silver Jews disbanded in 2009, but remains a Cult Classic, largely due to David Berman's poetic lyrics. After a long hiatus from music, Berman had started to work with a new band called Purple Mountains at the time of his untimely death in 2019.


  • Starlite Walker (1994)
  • The Natural Bridge (1996)
  • American Water (1998)
  • Bright Flight (2001)
  • Tanglewood Numbers (2005)
  • Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (2008)

Tropes represented by Silver Jews:

  • Album Intro Track: "Introduction II" on Starlite Walker.
  • Badass Boast: "In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection".
  • Bittersweet Ending: "I Remember Me" is about a man who is hit by a truck and falls into a coma from which isn't expected to wake up. He does wake up (and even buys the truck that hit him), but by this time his girlfriend has found someone else.
  • Breakup Breakout: Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich with Pavement.
  • Cover Version: A few interesting choices — George Strait's "Friday Night Fever", The Rolling Stones' "Cocksucker Blues", Maher Shalal Hash Baz's "Open Field", R.E.M.'s "Good Advices", and even a musical rendition of Walt Whitman's poem "O Captain! My Captain!".
  • Epic Rocking: "San Francisco, BC" and "The Farmer's Hotel" are both humorous storytelling songs which clock in at over six and seven minutes, respectively.
  • Revolving Door Band: Aside from DCB, his wife Cassie, and Stephen Malkmus to some extent, the Joos' lineup very regularly changed. The band's article on The Other Wiki counts at least 27 members over the band's run.
  • Sexiness Score: "Tennessee" references this trope with a pun on the title: "Come to Tennessee 'Cause you are the only 10 I see."
  • Vocal Tag Team: DCB and Malkmus on earlier records, and DCB and his wife Cassie on later records.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: DCB's more abstract lyrics (i.e. "The Wild Kindness", "Pan-American Blues") can occasionally read as this.