Friday, 7 August 2009

Elliott Smith would have been 40 Today

The above cover, posted today on Anti- Records' blog, is just one of a trillion reasons why Elliott's unique talent, silken voice and his own joyous melancholy-cum-music means/meant so much to me. Few musicians have reached, touched and tickled these parts of my emotions. Few other musicians come close. At first it was because his music felt cat-like, it was aloof and didn't seem to care if you were listening to the outpouring but the more I listened, the more I paid attention and the more it pummelled its way somewhere deep.

His honesty empathized with millions (sounds big but he hit with Grammy nominations etc just as p2p hit, so not a crazy assertion) and, for me at least, he made nearly all other music seem insipid and banal. He set the bar so high, whilst making it all sound incredibly simple but having asked questions to those who knew and met him, as well as read a lot about him since his death, it was far from easy for this humble life-broken soul to wrestle these soul-crushingly intense yet seemingly near feather-light feelings into balls of melodious wonder. Drugs and/or booze helped and hindered, in equal measure.

I love the way his records feature some of the most epic orchestral walls of sound to the slightest acoustic fireside songs and the fact that both embossed themselves upon my life with a similarly powerful impact is testament to his song-writing and his obsession with the emotional impact and texture of sound. His music could be the softest snowflake or the most dizzying Disney explosion but his genius is how it goes far beyond some instruments and vocals.

Essentially, his scuffed and ornate music nuzzles you and deep down you discover it's hungry for your love and reciprocates, in kind - just like a cat.

This is my Best of.../Introduction to Elliott Smith playlist

Elliott Smith – Bye
Elliott Smith – Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
Elliott Smith – Everything Means Nothing to Me
Elliott Smith – Thirteen
Elliott Smith – Ballad of Big Nothing
Elliott Smith – Between the Bars
Elliott Smith – St. Ides Heaven
Elliott Smith – A Fond Farewell
Elliott Smith – Angeles
Elliott Smith – Shooting Star
Elliott Smith – Baby Britain
Elliott Smith – LA
Elliott Smith – Needle in the Hay
Elliott Smith – Last Call

Listen to it on Spotify here.

Rest in Peace Mr Smith.
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