31. Silver Jews, "The Wild Kindness"
"I'm perfect in an empty room," indeed.
Even longtime Silver Jews fans got our juleps spilled by the greatness of American
Water – David Berman's ultimate testament as a poet, crooner and prankster,
the kind of genius that could only flourish in bourbon-drenched slack-ass Southern
boho towns. Pavement's Stephen Malkmus plays the madcap sidekick on guitar and
back-up vocals, the Ghostface to Berman's Raekwon. It's torture to pick just
one highlight from such a flawless album – the universally beloved saloon
ballad "Random Rules?" The ramshackle Al Green/Willie Mitchell jam
"Blue Arrangements"? The stupidly titled "Like like the the the
Death"? But "The Wild Kindness" makes a fittingly ceremonious
finale, as Berman gets somber in his Leonard Cohen mode ("It is autumn and
my camouflage is dying") and Malkmus plays that bottomlessly sad guitar