XO (album) by Elliott Smith
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Elliott Smith bestography
The best album by Elliott Smith is Either/Or which is ranked number 133 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 13,262.
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XO track list
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a mean average rating of 81.0/100. The trimmed mean (excluding outliers) is 81.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 13.7.
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August 6th 2019 would have been Elliott Smiths 50th birthday and to acknowledge this milestone a deluxe edition has been released featuring the original album plus 9 additional tracks from around that period
Personal favourites include a very early version of "Bottle Up & Explode" , "Some Song" and finally the true and correct "Miss Misery" track is available separate to the 'Good Will Hunting Soundtrack' for the very first time
For fans of the artist and in particular this album this deluxe edition is a must
To fully appreciate and understand 'XO' context is really important
The 'XO' journey really begins the year prior in 1997 with Smiths break through release 'Either/Or'as well as his appearance on the Good Will Hunting Soundtrack ("Miss Misery") and with their release the genie was out of the bottle - Smith was suddenly huge outside of the Portland area. Clearly the shy and reserved Smith struggled with his new found notoriety as his drinking , drug use and depression spiralled out of controlled around this same time , eventually friends and family would perform an intervention in Chicago resulting in Smith departing Portland and relocating to Brooklyn New York. Much of 'XO' was written around this tumultuous time in Smiths life
Fast forward to 1998 and much the much of the angst Smith was feeling the year prior comes pouring out on 'XO' most notably in "Everybody Cares Everybody Understands" questioning the wisdom of the intervention and pretty much asking everyone to leave him the fuck alone , whilst "Waltz 2" (Lyrics: " XO, mom / It's ok, it's alright, nothing's wrong/Tell mr. man with impossible plans to just leave me alone" ) explores similar themes
The title of 'XO' says it all - it's X (kiss ) O (Hug) , see ya later , all the best no hard feelings
'XO' is Smiths most accomplished work and is a diary of an artist struggling with fame and fraying apart at the seems seemingly into the abyss
Its an often over used term but 'XO' isn't just Smith's masterpiece but it's a master class in song writing by a generational artist
'I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow'
Tasked with quickly following up his burst to the mainstream after signing with DreamWorks, Smith didn't crumble to either the pressure or money. If Either/Or is balanced and melodic, this must be… I don't know. Perfection. From another universe. The abrupt explosion of “Sweet Adeline” followed by the typical acoustic ballad of “Tomorrow Tomorrow” and then the consecutive run of masterpieces from “Waltz #2 (XO)” to “Waltz #1” is just mind-blowing. Breathtaking. A miniscule dip in quality on “Amity” doesn't necessarily throw off the record, and it just keeps marching on confidently to the heartbreaking conclusion of “I Didn't Understand”. The production is all over the place, but this time the greater variety of colors and tones adds distinct power and each song is placed in the perfect spot on the tracklist.
Favorites: “Waltz #2 (XO)”, “Baby Britain”, “Pitseleh”, “Sweet Adeline”, “Independence Day”, “Bled White”, “Tomorrow Tomorrow”, “Bottle Up and Explode!”, "Waltz #1"
From the first time I heard this record, it really resonated with me. The song writing is great, as usual with Smith, and the production enhances the sound. Waltz #2 is possibly my favorite song of all time.
Elliot Smith will forever be a cult figure. Like most rock post 1995, wouldn't have received a lot more attention if he was making music in an earlier era such as the 1970's. I think this is his finest album and Waltz #5 his finest song.
This improves from Either/Or in terms of production, however the songs themselves, that's a major debate. I love both of them and I can't decide which one I prefer. Really taking a liking to Elliott's music...
The first 'slick' Elliot Smith record. Some beautiful melodies here, almost a modern take on a Dylan and Beatles combination. Smith takes his music to a more accessible level, but there is the still the dark undertow from his previous albums creeping through. Waltz #2, is a fantastic song, one of Smith's best, but there is plenty of great stuff here. Baby Britain, is an upbeat McCartney-ish track, with a hint of Lennon in the middle eight, a kind of Elliot Smith version of, we can work it out. Elsewhere, there's, pitseleh, bottle up and explode, independence day, and, amity, just a few of the many standouts here. Closing with the beautiful, i did'nt understand, clearly influenced by the fab four's, because. Excellent songwriting.
How can one not hear his pain simmering under the beauty?
Cover up the scars, put on a smile, and tell everyone you're okay. Suppress with pain with a veil of happiness.
Perhaps I need to listen to this record more. It hasn't hit me yet. I don't feel like its as intimate as the early records, nor is it as groundbreaking as Either/Or. I still enjoy it though.
Favourite Songs: Tomorrow Tomorrow, Bled White, Independence Day, A Question Mark