Purple Mountains
Purple Mountains


5.0
classic

Review

by kukimonge USER (2 Reviews)
January 10th, 2020 | 31 replies


Release Date: 07/12/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The heartbreaking final statement of a truly great songwriter

It never seems easy to write concisely about what truly matters. The reason behind it may vary, but it is always hard for us to take a step back in order to process our feelings and indifference openly and without complicating ourselves with elaborate metaphors and allegories. In some circumstances, we are not even sure about what actually matters or not.

The "Why?" behind life and death seems unmanageable and inaccessible to us, and to confront ourselves in the midst of our existential ramblings and uncertainties towards being alive seems sometimes impossible. Existing is complicated and beginning to describe existence is even more so.

It isn't easy either to write about ourselves in an honest and conscious manner, or to pay attention to what the world wants from us (and vice versa), and yet, trying is sometimes the most appropriate way to deal with the vastness of oblivion occasionally appearing behind us.

David Berman, an artist renowned for both his poetry and music, spent his entire career trying to cope with this endless task of simply trying, writing introspective, sensible and emotionally charged songs and poems that, in addition to establishing him as one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of the past few decades, gave way to the development of the legendary band Silver Jews, along with Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) and Bob Nastanovich.

Ten years after the separation of Silver Jews, and after dealing with addiction, depression, debt, friction with his controversial father and the separation from his wife, Berman finally breaks his silence with one of the most heartbreaking albums of recent memory, Purple Mountains, an immediately memorable and melancholic project that, after the tragic death of the artist just a month after its release, would become his last legacy, a painful last goodbye loaded with the most sarcastic, brilliant and bittersweet songs of his career.

Purple Mountains is, without hesitation, the most accessible, simple and introspective project from Berman, which represents the musical heritage of an expert composer who speaks deeply and concisely about the emotional ups and downs, failures and successes of his life, through a sweet and sour laconic speech that impeccably summarizes his experience through the years, and that, in hindsight, works as the final statement of a person who undoubtedly belongs to the select group of artists who somehow manage to combine suffering, wisdom, love and uncertainty in a few words, writing effortlessly about everything that really matters in life.

"The dead know what they’re doing when they leave this world behind", sings Berman in "Nights That Won't Happen", one of the most lacerating moments of the album. We all hope you do. Thank you, David Berman, for one of the most humane, thoughtful and devastating albums of 2019 and recent years. May you find presidency wherever you are now. Goodbye, you will certainly be missed.


user ratings (195)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DANcore
January 11th 2020


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review

kukimonge
January 11th 2020


7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@DANcore thank you so much for reading!



it's been a while since i've written anything, especially in english, but i felt this one deserved a proper review so here we are.

bigguytoo9
January 11th 2020


825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Some of them we're people I was once, happy to know.

XXMurdaBeatzXX
January 12th 2020


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos great review. This album desperately needed a rev and I dig the philosophic take

Digging: Fleet Foxes - Shore

tom79
January 13th 2020


3762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Finally someone reviewed this, great job. I was thinking of doing it since he passed but I really struggled getting down what I wanted to say/how I felt about it. Those few weeks where I first heard this and then when he passed was just a whirlwind of emotions. I was so happy David was back and making great music again, but the lyrics were so troubling that I had reservations about it. And then it happened and that was that.



This is a powerful send off from one of the great singer songwriters of our time, but I find I have to be in a specific mood to listen to this now.

Digging: Bright Eyes - Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was

notagenius
January 13th 2020


360 Comments


listened to it immediately after reading the review.
feeling sad in the cold monday morning for the heartbreaking songs.

oltnabrick
January 13th 2020


39895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love this i think

Digging: 7candystars - Cherish

kukimonge
January 14th 2020


7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you all for reading!



I know it is a rather short text considering it is one of the most important albums of the past year for a lot of people. I really struggled to put everything into perspective and sit down to write about it, but I think there are still lots of thing to be said and talked about.



@tom79 feel you man. took me months of re-listening to finally decide to do it, and writing about it was a hard task for me. I guess everything seems easier to put into words if your name is David Berman.

Pangea
January 15th 2020


4704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good to see that this finally has a review. this is very good and nights that wont happen is among my favourite songs of the year

Digging: The Flaming Lips - The Terror

theBoneyKing
January 15th 2020


19453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see this get a review. I was of half a mind to do it myself but never got around to it.

"nights that wont happen is among my favourite songs of the year" [2]

Digging: The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

Nrap
March 1st 2020


445 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

crushing killer album front to back

Pheromone
April 1st 2020


8226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

songs build little rooms in time

and housed within the song's design

is the ghost the host has left behind

to greet and sweep the guest inside



Digging: The Growlers - Hung at Heart

theBoneyKing
April 1st 2020


19453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anyone else noticed that the opening of this album (“Well I don’t like talking to myself” starting out with just Berman singing and the instruments coming in on “don’t”) is remarkably similar to the opening of The Natural Bridge (“No I don’t really want to die”)?

tom79
April 2nd 2020


3762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I never made the association but now that you mention it. But I feel like there's a difference in the tone of delivery between the two. The Mountains song has a certain momentum going for it while 'How to Rent a Room' is more resigned or restrained, like the songs are going in different directions. To my ears anyway. I miss this man.

tom79
April 25th 2020


3762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"a setback can be a setup

For a comeback if you don't let up

But this kind of hurtin' won't heal

And the end of all wanting

Is all I've been wanting"



This crushes me every time... goes from promising and optimistic to resignation in one line.

Ryus
April 25th 2020


20200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

david berman is the man

Digging: Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Nrap
June 16th 2020


445 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

There is so much genius on this album. I mean theres a god damned song titled Storyline Fever.

theBoneyKing
June 16th 2020


19453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Plenty genius indeed, though not without weak spots (of which “Storyline Fever”, ironically, is one).

tom79
June 18th 2020


3762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Whaaat I love that song. Classic Berman lyrics and a much needed upbeat song (at least upbeat instrumentally).

theBoneyKing
June 21st 2020


19453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Every song here except “All My Happiness Is Gone” and “I Loved Being My Mother’s Son” seems to no longer be available on Spotify.



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