Died 9 years ago this week
I was just thinking about when I found out that he died. Oddly enough, I’d just gotten into his music a week or so before October 21, 2003. I bought the Either/Or CD from the Borders where I worked, and I remember listening to it on the way home in my car. I instantly knew, during the first song, which was never even a favorite of mine, that I loved this artist. I was looking him up on the internet and one of the websites (sweetadeline.net) was just a white page with a black paragraph, saying that he’d killed himself. I thought maybe someone had hacked in and pulled a prank, but further research confirmed it. I was deeply saddened, although at the time I’d only heard one album of his.
There are a ton of musicians I love and admire, but no one has been able to speak to my heart the way Elliott Smith does. And that’s not even touching on the incredible technical talent he had. He had an innate ability to play the perfect bass notes, the perfect drum fills, the perfect chord transitions that invoked emotions in me unlike anyone else can through just instrumentation. Then there were his lyrics, which were often dark but always honest, poetic, and filled with visceral imagery that most best selling authors are unable to achieve.
If you’ve never heard his music and are interested, look him up. There’s plenty to be found online. Here are some of my favorites:
“Tomorrow, Tomorrow” from XO
“A Fond Farewell” from From a Basement on a Hill
A version of “Angeles” from Either/Or