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Figure 8

4.4 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 11.90 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 18 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00004S6GL
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #736 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Son Of Sam - Elliott Smith
2. Somebody That I Used To Know - Elliott Smith
3. Junk Bond Trader - Elliott Smith
4. Everything Reminds Me Of Her - Elliott Smith
5. Everything Means Nothing To Me - Elliott Smith
6. LA
7. In the Lost and Found (Honky Bach)
8. Stupidity Tries
9. Easy Way Out
10. Wouldn't Mama Be Proud?
11. Color Bars
12. Happiness
13. Pretty Mary K
14. I Better Be Quiet Now
15. Can't Make a Sound
16. Bye

Product Description


The death of the singer/songwriter (someone for whom an acoustic gig was an everyday event, not some MTV-style special occasion) has been inevitable for some time, so releases like Figure 8 should be cherished. With no obvious singles, no clear fashion statement and nothing but a handful of melodies, a paper-thin voice and a piano or guitar for protection, it's clear that Elliott Smith is living on borrowed time. This is a shame, because--like Bernard Butler--Dallas, Texas born Elliott, after four solo albums, is only just finding his feet. Mixing peace loving folk ("Everything Reminds Me Of Her"), drugged up ramblings ("Everything Means Nothing To Me") and honky-tonk tales of serial killers ("Son Of Sam"), this makes for some pretty special listening. Figure 8, like his much acclaimed album XO before it, is a mess of beauty, ingenuity and slight insanity. If the days of the singer/songwriter are drawing to a close, this album is one hell of a way to remember them. --Dan Gennoe

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For anyone who laments the fact that Figure 8 doesn't sound like Elliott's earlier albums they should take another listen. If you still don't fall in love with the beautiful melodies under the electric arrangement, then you're likely one of those people who hated Revolver when it came out because it didn't sound like "She Loves You". Seriously, every time an "acoustic" artist attempts to bring more production into their work, they get slammed. Dylan is the obvious example, but Elliott suffered from this too. I can just hear the record execs demanding more of that "Good Will Hunting" sound that would sell units.

More than ever on Figure 8 Elliott is pouring out his heart and emotions, however they are more couched in beautiful pop melodies that would have made Lennon envious during his solo career.

Take a listen to Son Of Sam, Everything Reminds Me Of Her and In The Lost And Found and tell me this isn't a brilliant album. Considering all the sounds and textures that accompany the lyrics, it is justifiably comparable to Pet Sounds and deserves just as much respect (or more) than Elliott's earlier classics.
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Format: Audio CD
A lot of fans like to dog this album. I have a theory for why this is.
It's not that the album is bad, at all, but that it's not the Elliott that THEY want Elliott to be. They fell in love with the man behind either/or, or the self-titled, or (gasp) the barely audible Roman Candle. They swoon for the quietness, the starkness, the nakedness, bitterness, intimacy. They think "hi-fi" is a four-letter word, not to mention "production", and dare I even say it, "pop."
They were willing to accept XO as a temporary stray from the purity of their vision for his career. In their forgiving state of mind, the music was able to seep into their brains and they saw its brilliance. Hence, XO = good. And, surely Elliott will get back on track next time.
Figure 8 comes along and dashes their hopes. Their beloved tortured soulmate actually knows his way around modern expensive studio technology - AND HE LIKES IT!!! Traitor!
Man, I love E.S. and E/O as much as anyone. Love em. Love em love em love em. But I'm one of those who believe that Elliott broke through into an altogether new plane of genius with XO. And Figure 8 is absolutely a worthy continuation of the path he was on.
Put it this way - if I'm taking ten to the desert island, XO is in the bag for sure. Figure 8 will be really, really hard to leave out. The others, I'll miss a hell of a lot.
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By A Customer on Nov. 11 2003
Format: Audio CD
I've been a casual Elliott Smith fan for almost 2 years, but until recently had only listened to "Elliott Smith" & "XO". Upon hearing of his passing I immediately ordered "Either/Or" and "Figure 8". Now, "Either/Or" is a terrific album, but unfortunately I've only listened to it twice. That is because "Figure 8" has been the only thing I want to hear for the last 10 days.
If you're wary of buying this album because of what you've heard about the "more produced sound", etc., get over it. More production is only a problem when it attempts to mask uninspired songwriting. Not the case here. On the contrary, access to a higher budget has allowed Elliott to open up his songwriting. The simple, beautiful structures are still there in full force, only now they have been fleshed-out and layered with lush instrumentation and harmonies. There's more creative inspiration in one song here than in most artists' entire repertoires. And while several songs stand out to me as masterpieces (Son of Sam, Stupidity Tries, Happiness, Can't Make a Sound), you really aren't tempted to just play the highlights, since the entire album is delicious.
I'm anxiously anticipating the release of Elliott's unfinished album. But in the meantime, "Figure 8" will do just fine. I haven't fallen this much in love with an album in at least 10 years.
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Format: Audio CD
After just learning the news of Elliott Smith's passing yesterday, I felt compelled to share the fact that his songwriting is on a higher caliber than most others, and it is unfortunate that his talent will probably remain a silent wonder to those of use who have had the pleasure of being introduced to his songwriting craft. This album is simply excellent. It can play over and over without getting old. It is a significant stride from the straightforward acoustic tracks that you may have heard from past records. Each record has its own unique aspects that make them worthwhile.
Figure 8 is an excellent compliment to the other Elliot Smith song collections. If you are even a remote fan of his style, yet enjoy a bit more production than most of his acoustic songs, this is the record for you. The melodies remain strong. The balance between some electric guitars, drums, and hooks are a welcome addition to this talented songwriter's acoustic folk-like melodic, slightly pop-rock influenced style.
Elliott Smith, thank you for your music while you were with us. Rest in peace. - Dave B., Chicago.
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Format: Audio CD
I might get flamed by some hardcore Elliott Smith fans for writing this review, so let me preface myself by saying this: I am also a hardcore Smith fan, and "Figure 8" is arguably the best out of his five studio efforts. Some may say its tone is too upbeat or "pop," others may say it is an irrevocable deviation from the downbeat, sometimes angry, always guitar-driven albums that came before it. Indeed, the melancholy that characterized these older albums goes hand in hand with Smith's critical acclaim. I think what people fail to see about "Figure 8" is that its "Smithlessness" is merely due to his adoption of a band that lends so much *musical* pleasure to most of the album's eighteen songs. This does not detract from the emotional intensity of his songs; it only adds to it.
This is not to say Smith has totally abandoned his roots. There are several quiet guitar songs on the album, and they prove themselves to be perfect counterpoints to the more instrumentally involved pieces. All the songs flow together harmoniously, sometimes with the help of short interludes--a technique that had been previously unknown to his music.
It is hard to list highlights on an album that is filled with them. "Somebody I Used to Know" resurrects McCartney and the Beatles and stirs into the concoction a bitter edge, resulting in a nose-thumbing of an ex (a common theme in Smith's songs, but unique every time). His guitar and expressive voice work in tandem in the exquisite "Everything Reminds Me of Her" and "I'd Better Be Quiet Now;" the songs, both mellow and pensive and stunning in their sincerity, are Smith at his best.
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