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Elliott Smith Part 1

Having dealt with clinical/manic depression, alcoholism, and substance abuse nearly my entire life, it's
a wonder I haven't done up an Elliott Smith profile/post in all the time I've done this blog. Smith's songs SCREAMED of those topics, his tortured soul bared for all to see.....I admire him, and also sympathize with him, especially when his tormented life came to an end supposedly by a self-inflicted stab wound (I say 'supposedly" because that method is so hard to fathom).

It's really amazing. I recall a poll once, on WOXY-FM online, which asked for the "saddest song ever?"......out of, say, 100, maybe 20 belonged to Smith. Excellent songs, just numbingly sad, and with how I've been feeling of late, maybe I need to listen to some Smith just so I can see that at least once, someone was more miserable than myself.

OK, today we will deal with his early efforts. After playing in the band Heatmeister for a while, Smith released "Roman Candle" in 1994, a set of accoustic material....I don't know how many enjoyed the Nick Drake stuff, but there is a connection here, as this album is VERY sparse, mostly with just Smith's acoustic guitar and, for effect, an occasional electric guitar riff/drum roll.....pretty powerful actually. Four of the songs are titled "No Name", and the whole thing sounds like a throwaway project which somehow found the right audience.

His 1995 self-titled release is much better, MUCH darker and scarier.....the cover alone (see below) is a grim one, and there are tons of references to drug dependancy all over the place....."Needle in the Hay" is the highlight, also "The Biggest Lie" and "The White Lady Loves You More", but a classic and overlooked album of the 1990'2.

"Either/Or" was released in 1997, similar themes continue (see: "Speed Trials", "Ballad of Big Nothing"), and a bit of the album was used on the soundtrack of one of my favorite films of the ear "Good Will Hunting", which seemed a perfect fit to me, but which few seem to recall. Another fine album.

In between somewhere here, Smith recorded an album of cover tracks, which I happen to like as well, as he lends his own melancholy interpretation to songs like "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Walk Away Renee" to name a couple.....not a huge success, but I enjoy this one as well.

"XO" is from 1998, and will wrap up part one of this here thing......it's another tremendous disc, his songwriting continued to approve, and again he certainly wears his issues on his sleeve....this is a classic of the 1990's as well, please, if you are not aware of the work of Smith, become so, it's worthwhile.

He  released a few more LP's in his time, and a few were released after his passing as well, and we'll touch on those next time......but let me know what you think of these, and anyone who has suffered from serious depression might appreciate the effort.

ROMAN CANDLE-01 Roman Candle/02 Condor Ave/03 No Name #1/04 No Name #2/05 No Name #3/06 Drive All Over Town/07 No Name #4/08 Last Call/08 Kiwi Maddog 20/20

ELLIOTT SMITH-01 Needle In the hay/02 Christian Brothers/03 Clementine/04 Southern Belle/05
Single File/06 Coming Up Roses/07 Satellite/08 Alphabet Town/09 St. Ides Heaven/10 Good to Go/11 The White lady Loves You More/12 The Biggest Lie

COVERS-01 Thirteen/02 Harvest Moon/03 Jealous Guy/04 Nighttime/05 Waterloo Sunset/06 I Me Mine/07 All My Rowdy Friends/08 Care of Cell 44/09 Chelsea Girls/10 Don't Fear the Reaper/11 For No One/12 Isn't it a Pity/13 Revolution/14 A Place to Stay/15 Give Me Love/16 Lost Highway/17 These Days/18 Trouble/19 Walk Away Renee/20 When I Paint My Masterpiece/21 They'll Never Take Her Love Away From Me

EITHER OR-01 Speed Trials/02 Alameda/03 Ballad of the Big Nothing/04 Between the bars/05 Pictures of Me/06 No Name #5/07 Rose Parade/08 Punch and Judy/09 Angeles/10 Cupid's Trick/11 2:45 AM/12 Say Yes

XO-01 Sweet Adeline/02 Tomorrow Tomorrow/03 Waltz #2 (XO)/04 Baby Britain/05 Pitseleh/06 Independence Day/07 Bled White/08 Waltz #1/09 Amity/10 Oh Well, OK/11 Bottle Up and Explode/12 A Question Mark/13 Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands/14 I Didn't Understand

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