A little less than a month ago, I posted an Elliott Smith song on a Random Weekend and pointed out that, with 11 Random Weekend posts, Smith was far outpacing the number pure chance would suggest. Now I’m back with the 12th.
Random chance, of course, predicts that clusters like this will appear. Smith is the beneficiary of a phenomenon that was bound to happen to somebody. I’m glad it was him.
A month ago, the Random iTunes Fairy served up Elliott Smith songs on back-to-back weekends. Now she’s back with another one, the 11th from his catalog to appear on Random Weekends.
The RIF must really like Elliott Smith. He is outperforming the percentages considerably. The law of averages would predict about half as many Smith posts as we’ve gotten.
The Random iTunes Fairy chose an Elliott Smith song exactly one week ago, and now she’s back with another.
Hearing those songs back-to-back gives a great glimpse at how much Smith’s sound evolved over the three years between his acoustic self-titled 1995 album and XO, the expansive album featuring today’s SOTD. His Figure 8, released in 2000, went even further down a path of baroque instrumentation and production.
Like pretty much every song on Elliott Smith’s self-titled 1995 album, ‘Single File’ is about heroin. Or at least it is using heroin as both a subject and a metaphor.
In this case, the lyrics describe a visit to a methadone clinic, where you wait in a “single file” line to receive your treatment for heroin addiction.
This is the penultimate song on Elliott Smith’s great 1998 album, XO, and stylistically it’s a nice microcosm of the album.
XO was the album where Smith started broadening his musical palette from his lo-fi beginnings. Similarly, ‘Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands’ starts in a quiet, acoustic style before blowing up at its midpoint into a fully orchestrated coda.