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Recorded mildly better than his debut (Roman Candle on Cavity Search), the self-titled second solo album is one of the most understated and incredible albums to emerge from the indie-rock scene in the 1990s. With his nimble picking fingers behind him, Smith writes sad, little songs about drugs and romantic codependence that border on the obsessed. "Needle in the Hay" and "The White Lady Loves You More" are exemplary tunes that fuse the Beatles' pop sense with Neil Young's sense of doom. Lying in his own burned out basement, Smith can rough up the gentlest love song with a few salty words of choice. --Rob O'Connor
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Top Customer Reviews
i can never decide if this album or "roman candle" is my favorite or most preferred album by elliott smith. however, this album features the most delightful and listenable tracks with much less sentimentality and a greater feel of woodburn, disgust, and ambivalence. even still, i cannot ignore my pleasure for the finely woven tracking of "roman candle" which flows from base to wick in a flicker of light. the most exceptional tracks upon this album are likely "coming up roses" with a dysfunctional chord pattern which poses as beautiful, "single file" courtesies and curtseys to neil gust (heatmiser, no.2), "st. ide's heaven" with such heavenly harmonies, and the harmonica and harmonics of "alphabet town."
this album screams the works of a blue collar worker, a steel mill, with a few references to the historical mass suicides from atop buildings in the great depression. it is top notch, with all the notched woodworking and word-workings, one man can muster.
After hearing all his other albums, "Needle in the Hay" remains Smith at his haunting best. Lines like, "drink yourself into slo-mo/ made an angel in the snow" should make "Clementine" an all time favorite(as well as bring a smile to your kiss-less lips). Drug references abound & "The White Lady Loves You More" has to be one of the most heartbreaking songs about chemical dependency I've hever heard. "The Biggest Lie" is enough to make you play the whole thing over again. While not my first introduction to Elliott Smith, this one certainly left me with a lasting impression. Melancholy to say the least, but not enough to make you want to hang yourself in a garrett. A tourniquet for the soul, so to speak.
Among Elliott's first 3 records, which fall largely under the "accoustic" label", here is the best one. Unfortunately, its lack of stand-out song and overall genius has relegated it to its weakest of Elliott LP's designation, (among "fans"). Believe not what you hear: those opinions stem from a well-guided but confused populous. Buy and enjoy "Elliott Smith."
And now that I've listened to it a few times, I must say that I think its the best music I've heard of his.. It's one of those albums that you should enjoy immediately, and probably for a long while (I've only had it for a few days, so I don't want to be presumptious). Each song is very well-crafted.. I love LPs for many reasons, but one reason is that it forces you to be patient with music.. You can't as easily move to the next song as you can with a CD player. This music deserves more than your typical video-game junkie short-attention span type listener. Sit down -- alone or with a loved one -- and LISTEN to this music unfold.. His guitar parts are simple and perfect, his voice sweet, pure, and melelcholy. His lyrics are probably great as well, although to be honest, I don't really care that much.. The more purely musical elements stand up on their own, and are wonderful with or without the aid of a good text.
I think this music should make you remember that life is meaningful.. that's about the best thing I can say about any music.
Most recent customer reviews
Perfect condition, quick shipping. Elliott Smith is one of my favourite musicians of all time so I'll be biased when I say this album is a good cause to donate your money to.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
it really is like elliott is playing just for you. on this album in particular, smith's voice is so warm and affecting you feel him holding your hand and so cool and hurt you WANT... Read morePublished on May 26 2004 by Nick Ah
If he had lived, his music would have just kept getting better. Some people call Either/Or Elliott Smith's best, but I must dissagree. Read morePublished on May 26 2004
This album is probably elliott at his rawest best. Songs about alcohol binges, self-hate, doomed relationships, and drug addiction that all manage to be darkly beautiful, and... Read morePublished on March 8 2004 by dropoutgenius
I heard "Needle in the Hay" on the radio, just after a tire exploded, driving home one night... I got home and just lost it. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2003 by Brian T. Brock
there is no one more brilliant yet less recognized in music than elliott smith. every one of his albums has touched me deeply. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2003 by James
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