Friday, February 13, 2009

Elliott Smith

So, I'm officially obsessed with Elliott Smith. I listen to him every single day. I don't know what it is about him, but his sound really fits who I am right now and how I'm feeling lately. And I'm not depressed.

Smith's sound is lighter, slower, and can be a bit mellow or depressing. Even though he was extremely depressed, his music has a soft, uplifting tone to it. It's not as dark as he really was, which is kind of interesting. Maybe his music made up for the feelings he didn't have inside. Something to think about.

For those of you who don't know Elliott Smith, he used to be in a band called Heatmiser, and then he went solo. He came out with six albums from 1994 until his death in 2004, the last album coming out after his death. Smith is known for drug and alcohol addiction. Smith is also known for being extremely depressed and mellow, eventually committing suicide by stabbing himself in the heart. Someone really wants to die if they kill themselves in that manner.

I just find his music fascinating. It's so different from other stuff out there. His voice is so unique and mesmerizing... It has this pitch to it that is kind of eerie and intriguing all at the same time. You can hear some of his pain when he sings, but his music sounds much more upbeat and happy than the lyrics. Even before I saw what he looked like, I was not picturing him to the look the way he did. He looks much more like a rock star for the sound he puts out. Not that it's a bad thing, but he just looks differently than his sound.

What I didn't know was that his real name is Steven; he changed it to Elliott because Steve sounded to jock-ish and Steven sounded too bookish. He is now forever known as Elliott. I also didn't know that he had supposed abuse from his stepfather as a child. This might have caused some of this inner turmoil Elliott faced later on in life, turning to drugs, alcohol, and music as a means of escaping and coping.

Details on Elliott's death: "Elliott Smith died on October 21, 2003 at age 34 from two stab wounds to the chest. According to girlfriend Jennifer Chiba, with whom he was living at the time, the two were arguing, and she locked herself in the bathroom to take a shower. Chiba heard him scream, and upon opening the door, saw Smith standing with a kitchen knife in his chest. She pulled the knife out, after which he collapsed and she called 911. Smith died in the hospital with the time of death listed as 1:36 p.m. While Smith's death was originally reported as a suicide, the official autopsy report released in December 2003 left open the question of possible homicide. A possible suicide note, written on a Post-it, read, "I'm so sorry—love, Elliott. God forgive me."

After Elliott's death, many fans mourned. They even made a memorial wall for him in Los Angeles that is absolutely gorgeous. It's modeled after the cover of one of his albums, Figure 8. Fans come there to leave him messages. You can see an awesome video of it here.

I highly recommend his music. If you are interested in getting into Elliott, try these two albums: Figure 8 and From a Basement on the Hill.

Try these songs: "Color Bars," "Wouldn't Mama Be Proud," "Coast to Coast," "Son of Sam," "Junk Bond Trader," "Can't Make a Sound," "Pretty (Ugly Before)," "Happiness," "A Fond Farewell," "Twilight," "A Passing Feeling," "Miss Misery" (from the Good Will Hunting Soundtrack), "Tomorrow, Tomorrow," "Waltz #2," "Amity," "Say Yes."

So, what do you think of Elliott Smith?

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