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elliott smith

October 24th, 2003 by isaac · No Comments

A musical genius of this generation killed himself a few days ago. Elliott Smith’s music is the soundtrack to my high school and college years. He made sense of my feelings when I didn’t have words to speak. Go buy “either/or” and listen to “angeles” (track 9).
My friend Drew remembers Elliott here.
The following is something another friend wrote about him. She gave me permission to share her thoughts with you.

“crooked spin can’t come to rest” (the memoir of a figurehead in modern music) by Tacy Jane (if you want to recieve more of her writings, email her at twilliam@westmont.edu).

“Elliott Smith was perhaps this generation’s most gifted songwriter,” said his dreamworks record label Wednesday. The 34-yr-old music icon, known best for his contribution to the soundtrack for “Good Will Hunting,” died of a knife wound to the heart, apparently by his own hand.
...another messy day of heartbreak for music.

I know it’s not always appropriate. heartbreak over a famous person? Maybe on a Friday. You can look out at the rain and it will be a backdrop to whatever plans you have been making for the week’s end, instead of the backdrop for “another day.” Can you look out, see it as a backdrop for a tragic death today?

last night, Wednesday night, I stayed up late reading articles online when I learned of Elliott’s death. I felt a little bit sick, the numb of shock pressed on my heart, like he might have been my friend… the confusion of memories whirling without order… memories of shared humanity over a good cup of Elliott Smith, or a speeding interstate saying yes. I feel much closer to a creator of beautiful music, and selfishly, a sadness different- more potent- over his death than I felt on 9/11/01. Call it the proximity of the artful… at any rate this sad story is a part of me. For many reasons. It’s not fair not to respond, or by just listening. his music is deceitfully upbeat most of the time, though I did go driving to Elliott’s live CD today and I painted in small, white letters “XO” on my black tshirt, the title of his second to last album.

October 22nd was a relatively good day. I started thinking, at 3 yesterday, when (my time) Elliott was found dead, I was hanging out with some neighbor kids outside. I didn’t feel the darkness from a distance. I am trying to think of the hours before that, when perhaps the wound happened, the wound of hubris… My mind was preoccupied after reading all those stories past my bed time. How are kids making sense of the mess? However ironically, his song, Needle in the Hay was played during the suicide attempt depicted in the Royal Tenenbaums.

At that point I didn’t know how it happened, but it is hard to not imagine things when you hear about a suicide. our frenzy over emo as humans (not only as a culture) gives us a little fascination with such vast mismatch with hope. Today, we assign it as “the day the drugs caught up with him.” But there is something more shattering, not least in his Romeo-and-Juliet style of death.

The shattering source…the blubbering demon, the romance of music. We want to pin you down, we want to worship an object of our idealistic dreams. And we become fans. But the person of our minds, it is enough and we are content to characterize that person with the fame, talent, and honesty, a real human, as this icon. But the icon of art is as mystified and outdone by his own reputation as all who look on from a distance; he is searching for his icon. His dreams of enlightenment are dreams, too. We are all looking up at the artist. We looked up at Virginia Woolf, we looked up at Sylvia Plath, we looked up at Hart Crane. Keep making movies about them, but they were not above us; there is only One there…......

Tags: life