33 1/3 book about elliott smith’s ‘xo’


I love XO. Being one of my favourite albums ever, I’m so pleased that it’s this Smith album that the 33 1/3 folks decided to feature. It’s surprising as well. I guess since it was arguably Smith’s most commercial release (out on Dreamworks, hitting mainstream radio and earning a Saturday Night Live appearance) I would have imagined Either/Or being the record of choice for this project. Music critics tend to be purists and Either/Or is certainly the best of lo-fi Smith, whereas XO clearly marks an era of tighter production and a wider variety of instrumentation, most notably piano. Both releases are incredible, however XO is the better record.

One commenter at the 33third blog says it best:

At least one song from that album (mostly Baby Britain, though) has been in my head at some point just about weekly since 1999. And that includes year-plus periods when I didn’t even listen to it.

So… my newest Elliott Smith pursuit is on its way and I can’t wait to immerse myself in it. George Orwell, your 1984 will have to wait. (I know, can you believe I’ve never read 1984!? And I only just saw Bladerunner in the last couple of years. I’m filled with shame.)

p.s. If you’re an Elliott freak/geek like me, check out the recent Glorious Noise interview with Larry Crane, Elliott’s official archivist. Did you know there were alternate lyrics for Miss Misery?

Hat tip: sweetadeline.net

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2 Responses to “33 1/3 book about elliott smith’s ‘xo’”

  1. seizuresalad says:

    Have you read it yet? What do you think?

  2. lilydustbin says:

    I finally finished reading this and my first thought is that it’s a great antidote to Benjamin Nugent’s book “Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing”. I’m left thinking about lyrics, production techniques and Smith’s art as opposed to his addictions and personal life.

    My favourite parts of the book follow the evolution of Smith’s lyrics – the author Matthew Lemay has carefully and painstakingly transcribed demos and live performances to trace the history of several songs. It’s really interesting and well-researched.

    The latter half of the book deconstructs the “‘tortured singer-songwriter’ stereotype” and paints a broader (and balanced) picture of Smith.

    Definitely recommend!

    BTW – I just found out that there’s a new doc out about Smith called “Searching for Elliott Smith”. So far I’ve only been able to find two screenings (already past) but I’m on the lookout for a Toronto showing…