Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Elliott Smith 1969 - 2003


Sad news on the passing of Elliott Smith.

I first heard about Elliott's music from Mary Lou Lord singing his praises. I really admired his indie rock and singer-songwriter-artist temperment. After hearing his ’Miss Misery’ in Good Will Hunting during the closing credits, I started keeping an ear out for him. His 1998 Academy Award nomination performance was definitely a surreal experience for him - and the audience.

Last we saw him at the 9:30 Club a few years ago, he gave an intensely memorable performance of Figure 8. I recall the quietness of the club as he spoke between songs. Everyone silently strained to hear him mutter introductions to the next songs. And suddenly he'd be so alive.

Such a loss of an artist who tried so hard to keep it real and true and not selling out.

From Pitchfork:

"Elliott Smith has died at age 34, according to an obituary posted late Tuesday on Sweet Adeline, Smith's official website. Rumors had been circulating on the Internet yesterday afternoon about Smith's apparent suicide; by early evening, the overwhelming traffic from well-wishers and fans was crashing Sweet Adeline's discussion board. A handful of posts indicated that representatives from Smith's label, Dreamworks, were attempting to contact Charlie Ramirez, the webmaster for Sweet Adeline.

Within hours, Ramirez posted the following: 'As you probably realize, I'm pretty devastated about having to say goodbye to Elliott... it's never easy to put into words what someone means to you... Elliott was such a lovely man... I will always have his love, kindness, intelligence, humbleness, creativeness, greatness and so much more in me forever because that's what he was and i'll always love him for being who he was... I'll miss you so much. We will all miss you. See you in heaven, Elliott.'"

From Lisa G on Metafilter:

"I know this sounds corny, but for an indie star of our sarcastic and ironic era, his music was so sincere and heartfelt. Not that he didn't have a sense of humor or bite, but he totally lacked snarkiness. I predict his music will last a long time."

From Table of malContents:

"I don't know if it works this way for everyone, but when I'm depressed myself, putting on sad and depressing music makes me feel better, oddly enough, and I often retreated to Elliott's music when feeling down. It was always very well suited to depression, and, though I never got to see him as I so much wanted to, I've heard more than enough concert patter and read enough interviews to know he was struggling, with life, with fame, with heroin addiction, with loneliness, etc."

From slumberland"You were just a shooting star":

"The loss is impossible to quantify. Elliott had so much talent, so much ability to touch people through his songs, that it makes it all the more painful that he had to go so young, in stereotypical tormented rock star fashion. "

From Content Goes Here: Sounds Great When You're Dead:

"In exiting this way, though, he condemned himself to a worse fate. Mr. Smith has now entered the Pantheon of Sad Artists, enshrined next to Ian Curtis, Kurt Cobain, Nick Drake, Sylvia Plath, Karen Carpenter, and that really talented gal you knew in high school who offed herself. Generations of grimly satisfied depressives will play his music for their friends and say '...and he died young, and so tragically. He was just not made for this world.'
That's crap.

Suicide is a terrible thing for an artist. All sorts of people off themselves or O.D., every day, and it's a grim business. Most of them are ordinary people with extraordinary problems, and anyone with a heart feels bad for them. It's unromantic, inconsiderate, and depressing for everyone concerned. But when you make art and die by your own hand, you turn into a Suicide Artist and your entire body of work becomes raw material for immature angst. Every dysphoric teen in a suburban mall will wear your t-shirt, and every suicide-gesture livejournal will invoke your name in the daily goodbye to a thousand cruel worlds."

From PopMatters by Marc Hogan:

"'Say Yes', from Either/Or, portrays Smith at what, lamentably, was probably his happiest: 'I'm in love with the world / Through the eyes of a girl / Who's still around the morning after.' The narrator's expectations are so low that just maintaining happiness until the next morning are enough to bring him a tiny euphoria, which he expresses with a rhythm and descending chord progression that bring to mind, of all things, 'Our House' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

But in contrast with that song's blithe optimism, Smith's joy is only transitory: 'Situations get fucked up / And turned around sooner or later,' he admits. 'Crooked spin, can't come to rest / I'm damaged, bad at best.' The upbeat guitars cloak his grim self-assessment, and the result is a heart-wrenchingly complex listening experience. "

From - Mister Misery:

"With song titles like “Everything Means Nothing to Me” and “Bottle Up and Explode” and lyrics so sad they’d put Morrissey to shame, he was definitely one of my favourite songwriters. Whenever I was having a bad day I could always put in one of his CDs and know that at least I didn’t have it as bad as this guy."

From, Catherine, 18, Gainesville, FL :

"Elliott was one of the most sensitive artists I have ever listened to and he is also one of the bravest. His lyrics reflect a vulnerability that is universal, a pain that cannot be soothed."

From grabbingsand :

"his voice had an earnestness. it wasn't bombastic, made for love themes perched on the bow of a ship, but sincere and sad, full of rain and grey mornings, loss and only just so much hope. "


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