Tanglewood Numbers

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Tanglewood Numbers
Studio album by Silver Jews
Released October 18, 2005
Genre Indie rock
Length 34:51
Label Drag City
Producer David Berman
Silver Jews chronology
Bright Flight
(2001)
Tanglewood Numbers
(2005)
Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
(2008)

Tanglewood Numbers is the fifth full-length album by Silver Jews, released in 2005.

Like on all of their other albums, Silver Jews' principal song writer and constant band member is David Berman. On this album fourteen other musicians are involved in the performance and creation. Tanglewood Numbers marked the return of Pavement members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich into Silver Jews. Malkmus had last appeared on American Water while Nastanovich had last appeared on the band's debut album Starlite Walker. Cassie Berman, wife of David Berman, also appears.[1]

The album's cover is a photograph by famed Southern photographer William Eggleston.[2]

Background[edit]

In the four years between Bright Flight and Tanglewood Numbers, Silver Jews frontman David Berman had suffered from substance abuse, depression and a suicide attempt.[3] However, Berman was able to rehabilitate and he became more deeply involved into his Jewish faith.[4]

During its recording, Tanglewood Numbers was nearly destroyed in a fire that burned down Memphis' historic Easley-McCain studio, where the album was going to be mastered.[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Pitchfork Media (7.9/10) link
Popmatters 8/10 stars link
Robert Christgau (B+) link
Stylus Magazine (B) link

Tanglewood Numbers has received mostly positive reviews. According to the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 81 out of 100, indicating "Universal acclaim."[6]

Giving the album a 4.5 out of 5 stars, Heather Phares of Allmusic, in references to Berman's past problem, wrote "Hopefully the circumstances around Tanglewood Numbers will never repeat themselves, but there's no denying that this is a uniquely powerful and moving set of songs."[3] Popmatters' Josh Berquist also gave the album a positive review, writing "Even if it’s not their finest work, it certainly feels like it is. There is a visceral vitality to Tanglewood Numbers that has never inhabited any album prior."[7]

In a more mixed review, Dusted Reviews' Nathan Hogan criticized Berman's less prominent vocals, writing "...Berman’s a brilliant lyricist with 30 or 40 minutes to spare every couple of years, and his voice seems oddly absent from this record." However, Hogan concluded his review with "In the end, disliking Tanglewood Numbers leaves me feeling a bit like one of the schlubs who groused about Dylan going electric... I suppose it’s possible this record’s a grower. For the time being, that’s the best there is to say about it."[8]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Punks in the Beerlight"   David Berman 3:31
2. "Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed"   David Berman 2:37
3. "K-Hole"   David Berman / Mike Fellows 2:38
4. "Animal Shapes"   David Berman 3:00
5. "I'm Getting Back into Getting Back into You"   David Berman 2:34
6. "How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down"   David Berman 2:01
7. "The Poor, the Fair and the Good"   David Berman / Cassie Berman 4:14
8. "Sleeping Is the Only Love"   David Berman 2:56
9. "The Farmer's Hotel"   D. Berman / Stephen Malkmus / Gate Pratt / Jeff Grosfeld 7:03
10. "There Is a Place"   David Berman 4:19

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to Tanglewood Numbers:[9]

Silver Jews[edit]

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Joe Funderburk - Mixing
  • David Henry - Vocal Engineer
  • Mark Nevers - Engineer
  • Roger Seibel - Mastering

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
US Top Heatseekers 43[10]
US Independent Albums 50[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Berman Untangles New Silver Jews Album. Billboard.com. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  2. ^ Lisle, Andria. William Eggleston: King of the Album Cover Photo. The Guardian. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  3. ^ a b Phares, Heather. Tanglewood Numbers - Review. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  4. ^ Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles article: "Silver Jews Singer Polishes Up Dirty Past"
  5. ^ Phares, Heather. Silver Jews - Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  6. ^ Tanglewood Numbers Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  7. ^ Berquist, Josh. Silver Jews: Tanglewood Numbers. Popmatters. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  8. ^ Dusted Reviews: Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers. Dusted Reviews. 16 October 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2011
  9. ^ Tanglewood Numbers - Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  10. ^ a b Tanglewood Numbers - Charts & Awards. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2011