Strange Victory, Strange Defeat: Our Favorite Silver Jews Lyrics

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One of our favorite bands allegedly called it quits last week. It’s sad news, but it prompted us to dig through their catalog for our favorite lyrics. David Berman can turn a phrase, but it’s funny how many of them work as rap lyrics when they’re not in context.

American Water (1998)

In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection. (“Random Rules”)

The alleys are the footnotes of the avenues. (“Smith & Jones Forever”)

Some power that hardly looked like power said I’m only perfect in an empty room. (“The Wild Kindness”)

Bright Flight (2001)

Everybody’s going down on themselves, no “pardon me’s” or “fare the well’s” in the end. (“Slow Education”)

We’re gonna take a ride in the dirt, we’re gonna die til it doesn’t hurt, then they can bury us side by side. (“Room Games & Diamond Rain”)

Tanning beds explode with rich women inside. (“Time Will Break The World”)

I want to be water if I can, cause water doesn’t give a damn. (“Horseleg Swastikas”)

Punk rock died the first time some kid said, “Punk’s not dead!” (“Tennessee”)

Tennessee (2001)

I was 19 and dead from the neck up. She was a Christian-rock ingenue. Sentimental as a cat grave, her fuckin’ body broke my eyes, and she said, “I’m gonna love the hell out of you.” (“I’m Gonna Love The Hell Out Of You”)

Tanglewood Numbers (2005)

How can I love you if you won’t lie down? (“How Can I Love You If You Won’t Lie Down?”)

I love you to the max. (“Punks In The Beerlight”)

God must be carving the clouds in animal shapes. (“Animal Shapes”)

Like a brown bird nesting in a Texaco sign, I’ve got a point of view, and the kicker is that I’m getting back into getting back into you. (“Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You”)

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (2008)

The truth is not alive or dead, the truth is struggling to be said. (“What Is Not But Could Be If”)

You got Tennessee tendencies and chemical dependencies, you make the same old jokes and malaprops on cue. (“Suffering Jukebox”)

What’s with all these handsome grandsons in rock band magazines? What have they done with the fat ones, the bald and the goatee’d? (“Strange Victory, Strange Defeat”)

She said, “You don’t make enough to provide for me.” I said, “What about the stuff that we quote believe?” (“San Francisco B.C.”)

First life takes time, then time takes life, now the next move’s up to me. (“My Pillow Is The Threshold”)