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Elliott Smith Gets His Blank On Blank Animation


Elliott Smith is hot again, because there’s this new and delightful animation posted on YouTube by Blank on Blank, the PBS series that makes an animation for a 5-minute interview, and suddenly I see him everywhere. Even Rolling Stone had an articles about him on Wednesday, including a few mistakes by the way, like ‘In 2003, at age 34, Smith passed away from a stab wound to the chest that was suspected to be self-inflicted.’ Don’t they even know there were two stab wounds and not one? These things are very easy to check and really matter to me for a good reason. I won’t even touch the ‘suspected to be self inflicted’ part as it depends whom they are talking about, there was no definitive conclusion on the autopsy report so I wonder if this was just a personal opinion…

Anyway the video is awesome, the animation so nicely done, as all the ones they have done before, Elliott speaks about listening to Elvis Costello records and feeling like ‘a freak among other freaks’, about be given the ‘Folk music tag’ (which really bothered him) and about calling the addicts in his songs ‘the dependents’, a better term not necessarily referring to drugs. It is so weird and moving to hear his voice again, and especially to hear him explaining so well and so cleverly his art and the role of songwriting: ‘People are so… seem so chaotic internally, but being filtered through some form, like making a record, sort of filters it down into something that can be understood’.

This is an interview Elliott did with journalist Barney Hoskyns in 1998 (apparently in a street café), the same year he got nominated for an Oscar and made the big jump to Dreamworks Records… they say the interview had never been heard, but it nevertheless sounds very familiar, may be because Elliott has said similar things about being happy and sad, or about depression in other interviews. This is a little gem, his interviews were always profound in the most unassuming way, and this makes us miss him even more… I am happy to see him everywhere again, although we never stop to write about Elliott at Rock NYC.

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