A recent post by good chap Leo got me thinking about Elliot Smith again. My Ipod playlist (I only have one) contains three groups of music:

  1. The constants: The songs that simply never come off the playlist.
  2. The new stuff: full albums that I’ve recently downloaded and need to explore
  3. The revolving doors: songs that come off and go on the playlist from month-to-month

For years and years, Elliot Smith was on the constants list because I couldn’t shake it. Finally, about two years ago I had to take a break if I wanted to continue to appreciate it. I am currently in that phase with Sloan and Anders Parker. Anyway, Leo’s post got me poking around the Elliot Smith library again. So I am starting to work his music back into my playlist.

At a time when everything from Seattle, “alt-rock,” and boy-bands were absolutely dominating the airwaves, Elliot Smith’s rich, full-sounding “XO” came out. It was a treasure of an album in a time when nobody knew exactly how to classify it. The uber-general term is “college music.” But anyone who is a fan of the phychedelic sound of the ’60s, the glossy pop of the ’70s or the singer-songwriters of the ’90s will easily appreciate Elliot Smith. His music slowly works his way in and just never seems to get out. It is, much like the demons that took him down, just addicting as all hell.

So here’s a sampling from two of my favorite albums (Facebook readers, you can access song samples by going here:

From the album XO, here’s “Baby Britian”


From the album Either/Or, this is “Rose Parade”


They asked me to come down and watch the parade
To march down the street like the Duracell bunny
With a wink and a wave from the cavalcade
Throwing out candy that looks like money
To people passing by that all seem to be going the other way
Said won’t you follow me down to the Rose Parade?

Tripped over a dog in a choke-chain collar
People were shouting and pushing and saying
Traded a smoke for a food stamp dollar
Ridiculous marching band started playing
Got me singing along with some half-hearted victory song

Won’t you follow me down to the rose parade?
Won’t you follow me down to the rose parade?
Won’t you follow me down to the rose parade?

The trumpet has obviously been drinking
‘Cos he’s fucking up even the simplest lines
They say it’s a sight that’s quite worth seeing
It’s just that everyone’s interest is stronger than mine
When the clean the streets I’ll be the only shit that’s left behind

Won’t you follow me down to the rose parade?