Elliott Smith dead, of apparent suicide, at age thirty four. First read at Alison’s, then at Pitchfork, with additional information gleaned from a recent Under the Radar article, Sweet Adeline, Rolling Stone, and the AP obit.
I don’t remember buying XO, or why i bought XO, or the first time i listened to XO, all of which is highly out of character for me. I was oblivious, i’m sure, to the fact that Elliott had been nominated for an Academy Award. All i knew of him, i think, is that Anastasia liked him. The music that went with the name was instantly familiar, drawn straight from a McCartney-like obsession with simplicitly. It made me want to play guitar and sing, sing higher than i could sing, sing fragile and delicate and about to break just like Elliott.
Elliott Smith was one of the first men that i listened to whose music i could simultaneously covet and aspire to. I only ever bought one other album of his, because i couldn’t imagine a more simple, more perfect record than XO. It was a record that did not have a skippable song; a record my mother stole from my apartment; a record whose songs represented a kaleidoscopic promise of genius, and of more to come. And now it will live eternally as the penultimate record Smith’s life, followed by Figure 8 but never by the promised From A Basement On The Hill.