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Elliott Smith Found Dead

 
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 10.22.2003 4:22 pm    Post subject: Elliott Smith Found Dead Reply with quote

Another great artist is now gone:

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1479869/20031022/smith_elliott.jhtml

I was a big fan and this news is a complete shock to me. Damn.

:cry:
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.22.2003 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is sad, crappy news. I wasn't that familiar with Elliot Smith's work, but I liked his songs on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack and a handful of others I downloaded. I'll probably break down and buy an album now. Any recommendations?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 10.22.2003 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you like the Good Will Hunting stuff, you'd almost certainly dig Either/Or; a few songs from the movie are from that album, and I'd say it's his strongest album overall. Here's how I'd rank all his albums:



  1. Either/Or (1997)

  2. XO (1998)

  3. Elliot Smith (1995)

  4. Figure 8 (2000)

  5. Roman Candle (1994)



His first three indie albums (Roman Candle, Elliott Smith, and Either/Or) are really stripped down production-wise. Roman Candle was recorded on a four-track in his basement and never intended for release; as the story goes, his girlfriend thought it was too good to go unheard, so she took it to a small local label. The songs on that album don't have the level of artistry apparent on his later recordings, but it's deeply haunting stuff -- made all the more so now. His two DreamWorks albums (XO and Figure 8) are much richer sonically, with fully detailed arrangements and some of the best pop songs he's written, but they also lack the intimacy of his earlier recordings. I'd say Either/Or and XO would be good starting points for anyone looking to get into Elliott Smith.

I made an Elliott Smith mix CD this morning with my favorite songs from all his albums. The tracklisting:



  1. Roman Candle (RC)

  2. Condor Ave. (RC)

  3. No Name #1 (RC)

  4. Needle in the Hay (ES)

  5. Coming Up Roses (ES)

  6. St. Idles Heaven (ES)

  7. The Biggest Lie (ES)

  8. Alameda (EO)

  9. Between the Bars (EO)

  10. Rose Parade (EO)

  11. Punch and Judy (EO)

  12. Angeles (EO)

  13. Say Yes (EO)

  14. Waltz #2 (XO)

  15. Baby Britain (XO)

  16. Pitseleh (XO)

  17. Independence Day (XO)

  18. Waltz #1 (XO)

  19. Bottle Up and Explode (XO)

  20. Son of Sam (F8)

  21. Everything Reminds Me of Her (F8)

  22. Easy Way Out (F8)

  23. Wouldn't Mama Be Proud (F8)

  24. Can't Make a Sound (F8)

  25. Bye (F8)



I never got to see him play live, but his music has been an inspiration to me and he will be missed.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.22.2003 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad day. Jack Elam as well.

http://apnews1.iwon.com/article/20031022/D7UB70400.html

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.23.2003 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Michael. When I scrounge up enough dimes I'll probably pick up Either/Or.

Too bad about Elam, but I thought he'd already died. Rolling Eyes
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.23.2003 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night the news reported that Smith had apparently died of a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest. (For some reason, I couldn't connect with the link you provided, Michael, so this was the first I heard about the cause of death.) It also said he had be wrestling with depression and alcohol for years. The guy was my age. This news just left me flabbergasted.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 10.23.2003 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His music had always explored his alcoholism, drug addiction, and loneliness in poignant detail. In The Royal Tenenbaums, his song "Needle in the Hay" plays over the attempted suicide scene. I just found some good comments from Elliott Smith in a Rolling Stone article on his death:

----------------------------

Smith, an outspoken fan of upbeat music -- from the Beatles and Kinks to AC/DC and Hank Williams Jr. -- didn't think that the excessive focus on the gloominess of his songs was entirely fair. "The 'depressing' thing is a superficial tag," he said. "Everybody gets a tag. If you listen to a Velvet Underground record, you don't think, 'Godfathers of Punk.' You just think, 'This sounds great.' The tags are there in order to help try to sell something by giving it a name that's going to stick in somebody's memory. But it doesn't describe it. So 'depressing' isn't a word I would use to describe my music. But there is some sadness in it -- there has to be, so that the happiness in it will matter."

----------------------------
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 10.23.2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elliott Smith's five CDs are all in the top 40 (sales rank) at Amazon.com now.
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 10.24.2003 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you posted this news, I've been seeking out some of his work. I've been a fan of "Miss Misery" thanks to Good Will Hunting but hadn't really heard anything else by him. As I'm listening to some of his stuff, it's becoming even sadder news. Too young, too much potential.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.25.2003 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The NPR show called New Ground this morning focused on Smith, and included interviews with people who knew him. They archive their shows, but haven't archived this one yet, last I checked, so if anyone is interested, it might be worthwhile checking on their Web page from time to time. You can find it here.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.27.2003 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Elliot Smith tribute is available now.
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