August 9, 2012

Photo by Autumn De Wilde

This week Elliott Smith would have turned 43 had his junkie girlfriend not stabbed him and framed it as suicide (word to Disco Vietnam). Those are the rumors that float around Silverlake and whether you believe them or not, it doesn’t alter the fact that the most gifted songwriter of his generation was done in by a dagger nine years ago. The knife hit him straight in the heart, a bit of detail too poetic to be fiction. Same with the horse addiction. Elliott Smith’s music is mainline, it is the sort of thing that will poison your blood if you listen too much. It is sad but rarely melodramatic, riddled with the decay and misgivings familiar to those who can’t close their eyes at night no matter how much they try.

Kill Rock Stars is re-releasing his catalog along with a handful of alternate versions, many of which have been floating around the web for years.  Smith made bummer in the summer music. The sort of aorta-on-flannel laments more attuned to rain and sleet. But for whatever reason, I’ve stopped skipping his songs on my shuffle over the last 60 days. I’m not sure why. It’s the sort of music, you have to be ready for. The quickest way to make your high evaporate. It is all the way turned down. But it’s beautiful and it will be remembered as long as angst exists. So always. RIP in St. Ides Heaven.

Tracks below the jump.

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