Smith, Elliott / An Introduction To...
Album: An Introduction To...   Collection:General
Artist:Smith, Elliott   Added:Nov 2010
Label:Kill Rock Stars  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2010-11-07 Pull Date: 2011-01-09
Week Ending: Jan 9 Dec 26 Dec 19 Dec 12 Dec 5 Nov 28 Nov 21 Nov 14
Airplays: 3 1 1 3 4 2 5 5

Recent Airplay
1. Feb 16, 2016: The Library
Needle In The Hay
4. Oct 03, 2014: A Visit From Drum
Waltz #2 (Xo)
2. Dec 06, 2015: Meow
5. Jun 08, 2014: Everything.
Between The Bars
3. Oct 17, 2014: Time Traveler
Waltz #2 (Xo), Angeles
6. May 09, 2012: The Independent Mind (Special Guest MC KravKakes)
Happiness (Single Version)

Album Review
Trent Kay
Reviewed 2010-11-03
I feel weird reviewing this, and weird adding this to the A-File, but here it is, an album full of gorgeous and destructive and despairing and barren and heartbreaking and melodic songs by the artist who meant to kids my age what so few ever can or will.

To call Elliott Smith a “singer-songwriter” sort of misses the point. I could call this “folk indie”, or tell you Smith was a Beatles man, or compare him to the likes of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, but that doesn’t explain why his music is so powerful and connective to, really, everyone I know with half a heart. He saw right into everyone. He gave us ways to see into each other, and ourselves. It’s been seven years since Chelsea Palmer announced, quietly and carefully, to my stunned freshman seminar class, that he had killed himself, and I can still remember the feeling, viscerally, of wading through the months that followed, lying awake in my closet single, in a sort of hollow haze. This is not music. This is every fucking feeling I’ve ever felt.

The KZSU library proudly owns every major record put out by Elliott Smith. Last year Danny kindly (and painstakingly) edited each and every track for FCCs, so please sample freely from the collection. This isn’t a greatest hits disk (MIA: Bottle Up And Explode? Son of Sam? Division Day?), and it’s not really a retrospective either (Either/Or is disproportionately represented). In some ways a compilation of this sort is a form of blasphemy, but I suppose this will serve as an “introduction” to those of you who were still in junior high when a hush and hurt fell over my peer group unlike anything I’ve ever known.

try: 2, 4, 5, 14, 1
FCC: 3

*1. easy tempo, sticky strumming & lazy slides. slightly rocky. bang-up lyrics. ‘you can do what you want to whenever you want to though it doesn’t mean a thing.’
*2. if you have never heard this, sit the fuck down. death march waltz. downcycling piano and hangman drums. contains quite possibly the most haunting refrain in recorded music history: “i’m never gonna know you now, but i’m gonna love you anyhow.” according to itunes, this is the most-played song in my music library.
3. FCC "fucking" ~5 sec warbling intro. short staccato strums and pomp drum kit. “i’m not surprised and at all and really, why should i be?” gets progressively sharp and angry. a fine example of multiple, simultaneous vox tracks.
*4. stripped down root-fifth guitar and angerless murmurings of an aborted relationship. hands down, my favourite elliott smith track. this is the saddest motherfucking thing i have ever heard. the month after he died, over thanksgiving break, i locked myself in my cousin’s room and taught myself to play this by ear. i can still play it, but now i cry when i sing it. the crying part is new.
*5. sullen grey-sky morning stroll music. spare, shuffling instrumentation, backing open-o single-tone harmonies. “nobody broke your heart / you broke your own ‘cause you can’t finish what you start.”
6. haunting, caretaking, middle-of-the-night waltz. one guitar that sounds like three of them. whispery, cooing vox. think “exit music”. wins incredible bonus points for an evocative and crushing dire straits reference.
7. classic ruddery two-note chord progression and wavery, imperfect vox. “you oughta be proud that i’m getting good marks.” ostensibly about heroin abuse.
8. the ‘earliest’ track on this comp... so very heatmiser. progressively violent and threatening. tape-hiss waltz and slide-audible guitar. strong dark twang electric, aggressive, aggravated, loud vox. all-around intense.
9. ~7 sec to start -- rapid and mournful fingerpicking. guitar + vox. spare and beautiful. “no one’s gonna fool around with us.”
10. background nature sounds under weak high-register vox and slow strummed guitar. an apology of sorts: “i’m already somebody’s baby.” ends with 25 seconds of frogs and crickets.
11. echoey lush sustained electric, carry-the-tune piano and kit. slightly jazzy rhythm section. builds and ends big and loud. a bit of an uplift.
12. midtempo bright clear fingerpicking. just pretty acoustic guitars. part of it’s the title, but it sounds like clean cold. this is probably my best friend’s fave.
13. quiet, deep, downtrodden failed relationship in 3/4. i can’t recommend this track over the final version. it’s interesting to hear, well, how much better the lyrics are in the final cut.
*14. deliberate kit and a harpsichord (?) that sounds like a music box on a slide. slow rocky jaunt. full instrumentation and a long vocal vamp. fades out and switches tack around :45 to end.

Track Listing
1. Ballad Of Big Nothing   8. Last Call
2. Waltz #2 (Xo)   9. Angeles
3. Pictures Of Me   10. Twilight
4. The Biggest Lie   11. Pretty (Ugly Before)
5. Alameda   12. Angel In The Snow
6. Between The Bars   13. Miss Misery (Early Version)
7. Needle In The Hay   14. Happiness (Single Version)