Song of the Day #726: ‘A Fond Farewell’ – Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith’s sixth album was released a year after his death, cobbled together by his former producer and his former girlfriend from a batch of recordings he’d completed before committing suicide.

It’s difficult to call From a Basement On a Hill a proper Elliott Smith album because there’s no way of knowing which of these songs, if any, he would have chosen to include, and which other tracks he might have never gotten around to recording (let alone what sequence he would have chosen, what artwork, and all the rest).

People who were closer to Smith during those final sessions weren’t consulted when the album was put together and claim that some of the choices ran contrary to Smith’s wishes. But crying out from beyond the grave, Smith sounds as good as ever on these songs and it’s a strong album regardless of the controversy surrounding its release.

Only one more album, New Moon, would be released under Smith’s name. It contained unreleased songs from the mid to late 90s recorded during sessions for his self-titled album and Either/Or.

From a Basement On a Hill contains plenty of good songs but it seems necessary to go with ‘A Fond Farewell’ as my Song of the Day. A line from the song’s chorus kind of sums up the sad finish to a great artist’s too-brief life and career: “It’s just a fond farewell to a friend who couldn’t get things right.”

The litebrite’s now black and white
Cause you took apart a picture that wasn’t right
Pitch burning on a shining sheet
The only maker that you’d want to meet
The dying man in a living room
Who’s shadow paces the floor
Who’ll take you out in the open door

This is not my life
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
It’s not what I’m like
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn’t get things right
Fond farewell to a friend

He said really I just wanna dance
Good and evil matched perfect it’s a great romance
I can deal with some psychic pain
If it’ll slow down my higher brain
Veins full of disappearing ink
Vomiting in the kitchen sink
Disconnecting from the missing link

This is not my life
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
It’s not what I’m like
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn’t get things right
Fond farewell to a friend

I see you’re leaving me and taking up with the enemy
The cold comfort of the in between
A little less than a human being
A little less than a happy high
A little less than a suicide
The only things that you really tried

This is not my life
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
It’s not what I’m like
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn’t get things right
Fond farewell to a friend
This is not my life
It’s just a fond farewell to a friend

One thought on “Song of the Day #726: ‘A Fond Farewell’ – Elliott Smith

  1. Dana says:

    This may not have been produced the way Smith would have wanted, but it sounds pretty great to my ears.

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