A Challenge!: Matt edition

Elliott Smith’s album Either/Or may not be the happiest album at first look, but for me, it makes me feel something and never anything bad. After dealing with my mom’s choice of music for sixteen years, I finally got my own car and Elliott Smith was my first musical choice. My first car was a symbol of social freedom but even more so musical freedom, because it came with my first personal CD player. I started with some mix CD’s from my brother’s music collection, including an Elliott Smith mix. After trying at least five other mix CD’s, I gave up and only played the Elliott Smith CD every day for two months straight. I did get tired of some of the music, but noticed I mainly skipped to songs from Either/Or. I’d often drive with the windows cracked open in winter singing (loudly) along to “Pictures of Me” and “Say Yes”. So, soon enough I got Either/Or and fell in love with the whole album. I looked forward to the longer drive to school and could not imagine how my friends dealt with only five minutes of music in the mornings.

The album taught me that 1) I suck at singing and all things musical and 2) I enjoy depressing-sounding songs. A favorite song of mine became “No Name No. 5,” one that stresses the dreary lyric “Everybody’s gone at last.” I did not want to always be alone, but the song and the album are soothingly dark and honest. Driving to Either/Or was a refreshing change from parents “suggesting” what to do and teachers throwing pointless work at me. Nothing was fake about my rides with the album nor was there someone talking at me about preparing for the real world. It was just me in an enclosed area with something I actually enjoyed and understood. While the songs on the album are wholeheartedly dark, I never interpret the lyrics for me as overly serious or urgent. I can listen to Either/Or and be perfectly calm. As a fidgety person, listening to Either/Or is one of the few things I can do while sitting still.

Elliott Smith- Pictures of Me

Elliott Smith- No Name No. 5

Elliott Smith- Say Yes

Posted by Matt


5 responses to “A Challenge!: Matt edition

  1. I love Elliott Smith, I have to say that Pictures of Me is one of my favorite songs, and of the three albums I have so far from Elliott Smith, Either/Or is my favorite…though, the last few weeks I keep listening to From a Basement..my media player seems to like that one, especially the song “A Fond Farewell”.

    That reminds me…I have a whole bunch of B sides on my other computer, many that I haven’t even listened to yet. Downloaded them and just never got a chance to listen, then got a new computer and totally forgot about them. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. I find that Either/Or is the album I can always go back and listen to (XO is not too far off either). From a Basement… is a great album and it is eery that “A Fond Farewell” is on his last album.

    Some of his B-sides are definitely noteworthy- “Some Song” and “How to take a fall”, both of which are on my original Elliott Smith mix. A lot of his live shows include some unreleased songs like “I Figured you Out,” “Stickman” and “I’m doing okay, pretty good”

    I still am discovering some of his music and I’m glad I could remind you to check for those songs.

    http://www.sweetadeline.net still maintains to be an active fan site


  3. I have a burned cd with a show he did in sweden…have no idea when, but there’s a lot of great stuff on there…haven’t listened to it in awhile. I’ve been trying to figure out the names of the songs that I don’t have on cd yet…was trying to read lyrics but that got to be too tedious as you can imagine.

    I’ll be checking out that website.

    By the way, I love your blog, just read a bit…but like it already, I added you to my blogroll so I will be visiting often.

  4. Could this be your show? http://www.sweetadeline.net/6298.html
    I believe this is a pretty famous show. The notes say it was released on CD. And if this isn’t your show, there is only one other from Sweden.

    Glad you like this site. It was actually started by Adam, and I’m one of the guest bloggers.

    I keep a food blog at http://www.posthastetaste.com (link also in sidebar) if you’re interested.

  5. Matt, I think that that’s the show. I will have to listen to the cd I have to compare, but it seems to match up to what I remember. Thanks. :)

    I will check out your foodblog. I’ m afraid that I’m pretty ah, disasterous in the kitchen but I’ll still check it out.

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