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.
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.
, 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
) 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.
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.