An Introduction (or reintroduction) to Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith

An Introduction to Elliott Smith

Kill Rock Stars CD

Like countless other fans of his music, I miss Elliott Smith. Of course, like many of his admirers, I never met him, but Smith’s music was so searingly personal that I feel like, through it, I know at least a little part of him. And the part of himself that Smith chose to share with the world revealed more vulnerability and emotional resonance than nearly any other singer-songwriter I can recall. His too early death at the age of 34 in 2003 still leaves one wanting more: both from him and for him.

Sure, An Introduction to Elliott Smith just scratches the surface. Its fourteen songs, culled from all seven of his albums, provide a tantalizing glimpse of Smith’s body of work. And, likely as it’s been devised to do, this compilation will probably send you scurrying to find the rest of his back catalog for a more extended listening. Whether as a longtime fan you have the records already at hand, or as someone new to Smith’s music it requires a bit of a scavenger hunt (KRS is happy to help in that endeavor), the result will be an undeniably rich musical experience. Either way, you’ll be glad that this single disc spurred the journey.

Spinner is streaming the album this week.

MP3: Thirteen (free bonus track not on the compilation)

An offbeat but often compelling take on Elliott Smith’s songs can be found in Christopher O’Riley’s reinterpretations of them for solo piano.