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Elliott Smith 

New Moon

Elliott Smith
New Moon
(Kill Rock Stars)
Compared to Kurt Cobain, Biggie Smalls and so many other prematurely dead rock stars, Elliott Smith’s talent and body of work has remained in relative obscurity despite its critical acclaim and praise from fellow artists. His suicide in 2003 was the final exclamation mark on a life that shied away from such attention seeking. He was quiet and introspective, leaving his work to speak for itself, and himself. In his best songs, Smith laid down sweetly deceptive melodies that hid, like a veil, both treasured memories and terrible anguish. Perhaps best known for his mournful lyrics, Smith also wrote beguiling love songs, such as “Angel in the Snow,” that defied comparison. It’s great to see that the same attention and care was taken in putting together New Moon, two-dozen tracks recorded between 1994 and 1997. It’s an achingly beautiful listen. The music is golden—Smith’s castaways are better than most artists’ best material. But this disc also reaffirms how deep his talent was as a poet and guitarist. “First Timer” and “Fear City,” which both saw the light of day under different titles, are near-perfect. “Going Nowhere,” a haunting, beautiful melody, will only leave you mourning again the loss of an irreplaceable talent. Knowing these two discs represent a fraction of what he left behind, New Moon leaves us satisfied for now but ultimately wanting more.
Dave Hayden
categories: Coast pick

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