Elliott Smith – From A Basement On The Hill

The dead sure do like to leave behind reams of mostly-finished songs, don’t they? Nobody ever offs themselves right after releasing an exhaustive double album.
Also, am I the only one who thought the Before Sunrise was complete garbage? An hour and a half of two people – very good looking people, I’ll grant you that – wandering around Vienna having pseudo-intellectual conversations and having run-ins with stereotypical European things. Why do I want to watch two backpackers talking about how they believe in reincarnation, and why in the thousand hells does it have a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes? I hate those people.
This is the ol’ posthumous collection of half-finished songs that others tried to finish, so there’s a lot of problems here. like songs where there’s unnecessary electric guitar and/or strings piled over four minutes of basic chord changes, or songs that haven’t got their mood figured out properly, or songs where nothing much happens. But this is still Elliott Smith and you’d better recognize. The youngins will go crazy for “A Fond Farewell” and “A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity,” but the real hero here is “King’s Crossing” (once you get past the unnecessarily long intro), a terrifyingly stark three-minute suicide threat. You’d have to be a bit dead inside not to feel choked up by a guy who killed himself contemplated the same thing, in song. Heavy stuff, man. Still, it’s no “Elliott Smith” the album (though it’s mostly Elliott Smith the person).
Also, which hill, guy?

7 / 10


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