Saturday, October 25, 2003


“They took your life apart
And called your failures art
They were wrong though
They won’t know til tomorrow”

The man told me this:

I remember the first time I heard an Elliot Smith song. It was the song “Needle in the Hay”, and I heard it at the movie theatre while I watched “The Royal Tannenbaums”. It played in the background of the scene where Luke Wilson shaves off his beard then attempts suicide. I didn’t know who wrote the song and I didn’t care, but I did feel an immensely powerful reaction to that moment of the film. I can’t think of a moment during a movie where every aspect of the sequence expressed such intensity and despair and beauty and ache. I was stunned by how incredible and amazing it was. Afterwards my friend Mark was so excited about it because he knew the song and that he’d already found out about Elliot Smith, which didn’t surprise me because Mark’s purpose in life is to inform us about any possibly astounding music that might exist in the world. This time I was grateful because all I wanted to do upon embarking from the theatre was download that song as quickly as possible and listen to it about twenty times straight. I wanted to see that shot over and over in my mind and remember what I felt in my heart.

Elliot Smith had that way about him. He expressed simple and sad emotions and helped us feel them, but the songs don’t leave you empty or depressed. They sit inside you and make you think about how you feel when you feel that way. So much of our life is trying to avoid any possible bad feeling or moment that may eventually happen some time in our life. We hide in our blue caves and drift down into whatever aid that may help us escape ourselves. When I listen to the soft soul of Elliot Smith it feels good to understand the part of me that I may never be able to express. It could be locked inside my heart forever but that doesn’t make it any less important, that doesn’t mean that I should turn my back on something that is so naturally me, so desperately me.

Sometimes we need to sit on the couch and watch the sun fade the horizon and hear our hearts beat underneath our chest. That’s when I listen to Elliot Smith and let my tears well forth from within me for no special reason except for the fact that I am an emotional being and I fucking appreciate that. I let the goosebumps break out on my arms and I thank the universe that there are creative people out there who can help me feel this way.

Elliot Smith was a wonderful tortured soul that was winked out of existence. I am sad he’s gone and I am happy that he was here. He was a true artistic creature and he will be missed.



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