David Berman of Silver Jews Remembered

The lead singer of the indie rock band Silver Jews, David Berman, died last month at fifty-two, a suicide in Brooklyn. While he might at first glance appear just another icon of Gen X, an embarrassing phrase back in the day that now it seems accurate, Berman reflected that generation’s ironic, dark hunches about existence. As he put it in one song:

What if life is just some hard equation
On a chalkboard in a science class for ghosts?
You can live again,
But you’ll have to die twice in the end.

The Silver Jews’ most renowned albums, The Natural Bridge and American Water, were made during the 1990s, a decade where the shrug was a key artistic gesture, albeit an ominous shrug.

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