Sunday, 2 May 2010

open your parachute and grab your gun

Elliott Smith will make you sad. Not "high school" sad, like the Get Up Kids or the Promise Ring; but real sad. This is due to the fact that Smith doesn't write about being a depressed teen; he writes about being a depressed human. From a Basement On the Hill was released on the same year of his suicide (2004), and it's his sixth studio album, just posthumously released. It's mainly a mix of his original works intended to be on the album, but some B-sides have been added in.

From a Basement On the Hill is one of the few albums that's sadder than Hospice. King's Crossing is probably one of the saddest songs ever made; it's also one of the greatest. When you put it into context of his suicide, it's really tragic. "Give me one good reason not to do it/So do it" is pretty overt about suicide, but the lyrics in general paint a picture of someone that doesn't want to go on living. Even Elliott Smith's interviews are depressing. I recall an interview on MTV Live where Elliott Smith is sitting on a stool, hugging his guitar while he's being questioned about his song Miss Misery (of Good Will Hunting fame.) He's not some glamorized asshole like Kurt Cobain; he's just a dude, and maybe that's why his music is so fucking good. He's singing about something that's got him so miserable, but it's hard to say what it is. So we're left to look at the details of his fucked up life and conjure up guesses as to why he stabbed himself to death.