Can it really be seven years since Elliott Smith passed away? Every year that his anniversary rolls around, every 21st October, I’m still taken aback by how long it has been. If he were alive now, he would be in his forties. Would he still be making records? What would he be doing? We can only wonder. I like to think that he’d still be rocking out and as creative as ever. But what we do know is that during his 34 years he made some of the most vital and beautiful records we have had the joy of hearing.
Whether you’re an old fan or a newcomer to his music, it’s likely you were drawn in by the hushed vocals, the raw lyrics sung by a voice as fragile as a spider’s web. To me, Elliott always seemed like a sensitive, emotional soul, one for whom this world bore too many pains and not enough pleasures. But even when he was singing about addiction, depression, or death, he did so in a beautiful way.
His own death robbed the music world – nay, world – of a very special musician.
Here’s a mixtape I put together to mark his anniversary this week. It’s in chronological order and contains songs from his albums Elliott Smith, Roman Candle, Either/Or, XO, Figure 8, From a Basement on the Hill and New Moon. If you like what you hear, and you don’t own the albums already, why not purchase them at your local independent record store? Alternatively, you can wait until 2 November, when Domino Records/Kill Rock Stars releases An Introduction to Elliott Smith, a best-of compilation.