Release Date: Nov 2, 2010
Record label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Sadcore
There’s something brilliant about hearing music where you’d least expect to. At least, there is for me. Off the top of my head: Ryan Adams competing with the thudding house and techno of neighbouring bars on a crowded beach in Thailand; a Mogwai tune propping up a particularly dramatic moment in Sex and the City; The National filtering from a supermarket sound-system here in Barcelona.
Elliott Smith's tragic death in 2003 left a gaping wound in the indie rock community. There weren’t many singer/songwriter/producers around who could make music so raw and honest, so personal and universal, that it could touch you no matter how it was presented. Just Smith and a four-track in his bedroom or sitting behind the piano at Abbey Road, it didn’t matter.
A number of seminal musicians emerged in the 1990s and died prematurely, and sadly most of their fates were heavily foreshadowed. Both Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur spent much of their waking lives being their own best eulogizers; the Notorious B.I.G. named his debut album Ready to Die; and Jeff Buckley, to many, seemed fragile and vulnerable throughout his life.
Historically, “hits” packages like An Introduction to Elliott Smith are enough to make the fans go apoplectic. “What possible purpose could this serve?” the devotee might derisively ask. Well, face it, pal: There was a time when you didn’t know who Elliott Smith was either. Another fellow troubled troubadour, Nick Drake, had his previous work compiled numerous times posthumously, with the greatest critical and commercial success 1994’s Way to Blue.
On March 23, 1998, a frail man in an ill-fitting white suit took the stage in front of Hollywood's biggest stars (James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks), to perform at that year's Oscars. Fifty-five million Americans watched that broadcast -- the event's highest ratings, ever -- and, to the vast majority of them, that vulnerable performance of "Miss Misery" was their first introduction to Elliott Smith. Twelve years later -- and six years after Smith fatally stabbed himself in his girlfriend's apartment -- comes An Introduction to Elliott Smith, a compilation that maybe would have made some sense in 1998 but has no place in 2010.
A retrospective which reinforces Smith’s status as an intriguing but flawed artist. Chris White 2010 It’s now seven years since American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith was pronounced dead in a Los Angeles hospital shortly after apparently stabbing himself twice in the heart. Those familiar with Smith’s music were saddened but not surprised that this troubled individual chose to end things this way.