Two day ago, five new Elliott Smith’s songs suddenly appeared on YouTube, and they were confirmed as really his on the SweetAdeline message board, although it was not always very obvious. The songs are probably very early material and the recordings are not the best of course, but you can already recognize some parts of his style here and there. Unfortunately, the videos have been taken down yesterday, but I had the time to listen to them:
‘She won’t look at me’ sounds a little like from an ‘Angel in the Snow’ period, slowly moving with a delicate guitar:
‘Shiva opens her arms’ is surprising, as his tough singing does not sound at all like his usual soft delivery, but because of the lines ‘Shiva opens her arms’ and ‘I may talk in my sleep tonight’ also figuring in the 2000 ‘Son of Sam’, the track sounds like a precursor of this Figure 8 era song
‘Like a cop’ has more drama, and an anxious guitar like many of the songs from his self-title album, but his voice is almost unrecognizable at time, partially because of the quality of the recording but also because he may have been trying something different:
‘Where I get it from’ has some familiar riffs at the beginning, right straight from ‘Roman Candle’s No Name #2’, but the tired folky-countrish delivery is a little unusual for Elliott. According to Charlie Ramirez, who runs the SweetAdeline.net site, this song was recorded later on, under the new title ‘I don’t give a fuck’, when Elliott was working on his last and posthumous album ‘From a Basement on the Hill’ with Interscope.
‘I’m Gonna get crushed’ is in a hurry with some repetitive lines, ‘Last Call’ style, but sung with a weird falsetto vocals at the end, and unfortunately cut a little bit too early:
These songs are probably very early work, with just a guitar and a voice, may be songs that Elliott had judged not good enough to be included on his future albums, except for ‘Where I get it from’.
We cannot listen to them anymore, but they exist and may reappear eventually, as any work from someone who has passed away is too precious to disappear completely.
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