Elliot Smith-classic or dud?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Whiny vocals + acoustic guitar + Portland indie rock misery + nice melodies = Classic or dud?

turner, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Christ turner, you make him sound so appealing.

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I was trapped in a car for 4 days with a mad lesbian who was obsessed with Elliott Smith, and listened to almost exclusively nothing but his albums the whole time. We had to see him perform about 4 or 5 times on her mad stalkerquest for "her identity". To this day, I cannot listen to Elliott Smith.

Yes, this was also the trip during which I was stranded in Detroit which made me hate "Boy With The Arab Strap" for years and years. Funny how bad experiences can drive you from being indifferent to an artist to utterly loathing them.

Kate the Saint, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Dud. I've never even heard him, and dud. (No wait, I heard him play the Oscars...does that count?) Elliot Smith was one of the things that I remember making me think KRS had lost the plot back when I was young and militant.

Jess, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Sterling: All the ingredents for genius are there, yet I find the music, and the persona, totally irritating/contrived. Why? How can Elliot Smith seem like such a good idea--and be so hard to listen to?

turner, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yawncore does not impress me. Dud.

Cryosmurf, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Oops. Guess I forgot my <DIV STYLE="IRONY"> tags.

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Pretty melodies = classic. Not sure if Elliot Smith warrants "classic" status, though. And he has really bad skin and hair.

Sean, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I read in interview with said musician recently in which he stated confidently that he was NOT influenced by Nick Drake. Nope. Not even a little bit. As much as I would like to beleive this (being a huge Nick Drake fan), I don't think Elliot Smith could exist without his influence. Is there another obvious influence I am missing?

turner, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

read an interview.

turner, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

'Between the Bras' = CLASSIC!

All else = Nyah. Can take it or leave it. He's okay actually. I wouldn't buy another ES album though. I have one, that's enough.

DavidM, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

err... "Between the BARS'. Ahemm.

Although... Between the Bras sounds... interesting.

DavidM, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Right, Between the Bars is a great song. Now if only he'd never written another song.

Melissa W, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Also, what he did to Big Star's Thirteen should be a crime punishable by death.

Melissa W, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Sadly he is a dissapointment, becasue he looks so scragly

Mike Hanle y, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Kate - I know a lesbian who loves him too, weird. He sounds like George Harrison to me sometimes.

Lesley Higgins, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I went on an Elliott binge after hearing his songs in Good Will Hunting. Always mistrust music cravings acquired in a movie theatre. I still like his earlier solo records. The clenched-teeth Simon & Garfunkel vocals, the spare sound suggesting a fuller pop arrangement. Not a folk sound, and I've never heard the Nick Drake similarity, nor the whininess compared to every other singer from the Northwest. "Needle in the Hay" is a good song. I never bothered to follow the words or find out why he's so angry. I assume the answer is insipid. I just like the sound. However, the actual full band on his albums for Dreamfuckingworks are is a complete letdown. Maybe the fleshing out exposes the weakness in his songs, but isn't it supposed to work the opposite way? All I know is his arranged pop rock band sound is ho-hum, and it just deflates all the intensity I liked before.

So pre-Oscar Elliott = classic. Post-Oscar = dud.

Except Heatmiser was dud, too. Including that other guy. Same goes for the solo album Elliott Smith produced of that other guy, No. 2's No Memory, and the one he produced of the guy from Hazel, Pete Krebs. All Elliott Smith associations are dud on arrival. Quasi, anybody? No thanks. Talk about whiny.

Curt, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, those Lucasfilm production values hollowed what was an otherwise decent acoustic sound - and turned it into regrettable whiny pop. (Van Sant, you will pay for this...) Mind you, I wouldn't subject anyone in a moving vehicle to OD on PDX indie rock misery (and is there really that much of it? most Rose city bands are more perky than anything lately) but I do like 'Roman Candles'.

Jason, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Based on one experience, dud. The experience: a couple years ago I was in a Seattle restaurant with a woman I was seeing, at a table with some of her friends, one of whom didn't like me. This dumbass fucking song came on the speakers and I casually remarked that it sounded like it was made by some loser who was affecting a Peter Brady striped shirt to make himself feel even more retro-hip. Guess who. (The topic of conversation, appropriately enough, had at one point before been everyone at the table's lamenting their lack of E.S. tickets--he was playing in town that night.)

M. Matos, Wednesday, 8 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Pretty which i always thought was good.

anthony, Wednesday, 8 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I don't understand you people sometimes. No, Elliott Smith isn't as GRATE as the press makes him out to be, but he's pretty damn good. I'm partial to _Either/Or_, though _XO_ and _Figure 8_ certainly have some choice moments. His earlier stuff (well, the eponymous solo album) is harder to get into, but definitely worth the effort. A bit despondent, though. And samey. The George Harrison / Beatles comparisons can't be helped by his cover of "Because" on the _American Beauty_ soundtrack. But he's good at what he does, image & personal hygiene be damned.

I'm not sure that I'll be around to get his next album, tho - the professionalism and super-production he's strived towards in his Dreamworks work has been subtly off-putting. And, for whatever reason, his lyrics always seem to be at once superficial and highly personal - I can't get a grip on them.

And his cover of "Thirteen" is superb - nice to hear someone besides the Posies give Big Star a shout out without sounding like Power P!O! P! Sacred cows aren't always turned into hamburger. (Now, Garbage's rendition - um...)

David Raposa, Wednesday, 8 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Dud. Bad background music for cafes.

Lindsey B, Thursday, 9 August 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

fifteen years pass...

i found this looking for a drake thread lol. good historical document

flappy bird, Monday, 20 March 2017 00:10 (one week ago) Permalink

It's too bad Dave Q didn't see fit to weigh in.

Got Your Money Changes Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 March 2017 00:32 (one week ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.