My Long Take On The Natural Bridge, My Favorite Silver Jews Album


There’s always going to be something defensive about naming a somewhat neglected, in-your-eyes masterpiece as one of your “favorites”. It’s sort of like calling the physically underdeveloped ballplayer “scrappy”. If you can’t point to some crusty vestiges of the canon clinging to it, a Billboard Hot 100 Heatseeker rating, or at least YouTube plays, then you can always confer the notion of objective goodness by picking something out as your “favorite”. And that act is just as transparent as it sounds.

Well, but still. The Natural Bridge is my ‘favorite’ Silver Jews album. (At least until I get to thinking about American Water.)

First things first. The Natural Bridge is a geological formation now located in a town named after itself, Natural Bridge, VA. Natural Bridge, VA is about three hours west of Williamsburg, VA, where Dave Berman was born. The Natural Bridge was apparently “a sacred site of the Native American Monacan tribe”. The Natural Bridge is the first album where the Silver Jews shook off their Pavement stink, though it’s also the first album where all reviews of it mention this fact, thereby sort of negating that point.

On the other hand, I’m disinterested in historiography, so let’s ‘look at’ some songs.

“How To Rent A Room” is just one installment in a series of perfect opening songs written by Dave Berman, and one installment in a slightly smaller series of perfect opening songs with perfect opening lines.

No I don’t really want to die.
I only wanted to die in your eyes.


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