Elliott Smith

Inspired by the downloadable unreleased track Place Pigalle, posted by i guess i’m floating, let’s have ourselves an Elliott Smith post.

At turns, ES’s music is simple or intricate, lush or desolate, prancing or frantic. Or, as is generally the case with either/or (pun intended) options, both. I love his whole body of work (buy), but I like the whirling and raucous album Figure 8 better than the very compelling album Either/Or, which is considered his best by most music geeks. The above download, however, fits in better as an Either/Or song (or any other album, just not Figure 8).

Short two-part aside about his album titles. 1) Either/Or is from Kierkegaard (1843); a sample K quote that speaks to ES’s mental state: “My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known–no wonder, then, that I return the love.” 2) ES says, of the Figure 8 title, though I think the metaphor extends to his songwriting in general, “I just like the idea of a figure eight, of figure skaters trying to make this self-contained, perfect thing that takes a lot of effort but essentially goes nowhere.”

Excellent use of ES’s music in soundtracks includes the following choice songs (each album is worth owning):

Good Will Hunting ~ Miss Misery (this image of him feeding meters serves as my default)

Thumbsucker ~ Trouble (this Cat Stevens song (made famous in Harold and Maude) is much covered, to good effect here and by Eddie Vedder) (read the bio on this soundtrack; ES died, and Tim Delaughter and The Polyphonic Spree filled in)

The Royal Tenenbaums ~ Needle in the Hay (this song evokes the suicide attempt scene so vividly for me, it’s nearly too much to bear)

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Filed under Covers, New, Soundtrack

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