Listen to this track by equal-parts haunted and gifted former Heat Miser member and singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. It’s “Son of Sam”, the opening song and single as taken from 2000s Figure 8, his second major-label full-length album that took his career in a promising direction soon after his appearance at the 1998 Oscars.
On that broadcast, he’d played his “Miss Misery” which featured in the smash-hit movie Good Will Hunting, a film that featured a number of his songs. Never before had such a stark contrast been made for me, and for many others, on an Oscar show; the least Hollywood of performers on the most Hollywood of TV broadcasts. Somehow, the moody, weird kid in the high school cafeteria was offered a place, however briefly, at the cool kids’ table.
The only place to go was up, right? Well, yes and no. Read more
In listening to Elliott Smith’s XO last night, and again this morning, I was struck by the beauty of the track “Independence Day”, which has been playing in my mind rather pleasantly since.
Here’s a clip of Elliot Smith with the accompanying song to give you an idea of what I mean.
The fact that Smith died violently by his own hand makes me wonder whether or not thoughts of this affects the way people hear his music – that for all of it’s melodic charm, it is the product of a disturbed mind. In my view, that’s not the point. Sure, I think that there’s darkness lurking underneath most of the material Smith put out. But I think the beauty of it overcomes any intentions he might or might not have had when making it. I think this is true of all art which is worth considering; that the art should always be considered bigger than the artist.
What do you think, good people?