Song of the Day #3,761: ‘First Timer’ – Elliott Smith

The Random iTunes Fairy has a thing for Elliott Smith. Today’s SOTD is the seventh Smith tune to pop up on Random Weekends, and the third from the double album New Moon.

I don’t know how that stacks up against other artists. I’ve long regretted that I never kept detailed stats of Random Weekends so I could do exactly the kind of analysis I’m wondering about now. But my gut tells me Smith is better represented than most.

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Song of the Day #3,583: ‘I Better Be Quiet Now’ – Elliott Smith

My second favorite album of 2000 is the last record Elliott Smith released before his 2003 suicide. Figure 8 was Smith’s fifth album and possibly his best (though I have an even softer spot for 1997’s Either/Or).

Figure 8 was Smith’s second album with major label Dreamworks, and the baroque instrumentation on much of the record stands in stark contrast to his ultra lo-fi beginnings.

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Song of the Day #3,539: ‘Thirteen’ – Elliott Smith

As soon as I decided to blog about ’31 Numbered Songs’ I knew #13 would be Big Star’s ‘Thirteen.’ It’s one of my favorite songs, named after a number or not. The only problem is I’ve already featured it.

But that problem turned into a blessing when I discovered this cover version by Elliott Smith. Who better to capture the melancholy ache of this adolescent anthem?

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Song of the Day #3,365: ‘Needle in the Hay’ – Elliott Smith

Things turn a bit darker on Day Eight of the 30 Day Music Challenge, as we are asked to come up with ‘A Song About Drugs Or Alcohol.’ Sure, there are plenty of fun drinking songs, but my mind went immediately to more cautionary tales.

No artist in my music collection is more appropriate for this category than Elliott Smith, whose heroin addiction informed so many of his songs.

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Song of the Day #3,255: ‘Twilight’ – Elliott Smith vs. Lyle Lovett

Today’s Montauk Madness first round matchup is one of the hardest to date. The beautiful melancholy of Elliott Smith against the wry virtuosity of Lyle Lovett. One man whose career was cut tragically short by suicide and another who seems to have stopped recording new music altogether after a brilliant decade-long run from 1986-1996.

What exactly happened to Lovett after the ’96 release of The Road to Ensenada, his best album? He released seven albums over the next 20 years, almost all of them covers albums.

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Song of the Day #2,529: ‘High Times’ – Elliot Smith

elliott_smith_new_moonToday’s Random Weekend selection is a track from Elliott Smith’s posthumous 2007 release, New Moon, a collection of unreleased tracks. These aren’t songs he was working on when he died in 2003, but rather outtakes from the sessions of two of his earlier records.

As with most of Smith’s music, particularly from that era, this song is a) acoustic and b) about drugs.

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Song of the Day #2,403: ‘Big Decision’ – Elliott Smith

elliott_smith_new_moonElliott Smith’s New Moon was released posthumously in 2007 and contains outtakes and discarded tracks from the recording sessions of his second and third albums.

Given that those records, Elliott Smith and Either/Or are two of his finest, this is a solid collection, all the more effective for being released after his suicide.

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