Song of the Day #4,278: ‘Happiness’ – Elliott Smith

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.

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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 #1,514: ‘Easy Way Out’ – Elliott Smith

A couple of weeks ago, I singled Aimee Mann out as the poster child for melancholy music. Well, she ain’t got nothing on Elliott Smith.

At least Mann has a dry sense of humor (hell, she even had a cameo in The Big Lebowski). Smith, on the other hand, writes music just perfect for wrist-slitting.

I mean that quite literally — Wes Anderson chose the Elliott Smith song ‘Needle in the Hay’ for a scene depicting an attempted suicide in The Royal Tenenbaums. Top that, poseurs!

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Song of the Day #725: ‘Son of Sam’ – Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith followed up XO two years later with 2000’s Figure 8, which would end up as his final release before his suicide.

Figure 8 was his most baroque and expansive album yet, and perhaps his most critically-acclaimed. Smith had a larger profile now, at least by the standards of an indie singer-songwriter, and he reacted to the expanding spotlight by going to wonderful new places musically.

Personally, it was quite a different story, but with Smith, who from the start projected a tortured persona, it was never clear how truly tortured he was.

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