Early Lo- Fi to a More Lavish Multi-layered Release....
Chris G. | IL USA | 03/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steven Paul Smith was born on August 6, 1969 in Omaha. He later changed the name Steven to Elliott. He felt it sounded less "jock-like."
I do believe Elliott Smith had a really amazing if not sad and lonely kind of voice. I can feel a bit more uplifting type of mood coming from Elliott Smith's Figure 8, his best and last studio record before he died. Ever since the end of his band Heatmiser, his solo work became more personal and less abrasive. It's hard to imagine at one point he was part of just another small punk/grunge band, who not many have heard of.
Many would prefer "Either/Or." Which seems optimistic at times, but kind of sad to me. At this time few singer/songwriters could match Elliott's level of intensity through lo-fi "folk-punk" intimacy. That release sparked interest in the director of Good Will Hunting, Gus Van Sant- who used some of Elliott's songs for his picture. They met while Elliott lived in Portland. Also this exposure proppelled Elliott Smith to major-label status from Kill Rock Stars to Dreamworks. And then came XO in 1998. And Figure 8 in 2000. In my opinion this is his best. It flourishes with rich, multi-layered and more lush tracks. Not as intimate as his earlier solo works w/ the exception of "Everything Means Nothing to Me." This does seem happier though, at least compared to his other works. Definately one of the best solo albums and one of my favorites of this millenium. A wonderful timeless album from one of the better singer/songwriters after those "grunge era" days. My favorites here include: "Son of Sam"- "Junkbond Trader" -"Stupidity Tries" - "Easy Way Out" - "In the Lost & Found" -(for this song Elliott uses the same Abbey Road piano Paul McCartney played on "Penny Lane")
Elliott Smith has always been a long time Beatles fan. Even covered their song "Because"- which is on a import of Figure 8. I really do feel he approaches a kind of greatness w/ this almost perfect solo work. I just wish he was still alive creating more.
It's just really sad the way Elliott Smith died. Two stab wounds in his chest from a kitchen knife. And I believe the coroner at the time never came to a conclusion whether it was a homicide or a suicide. His death was on October 21 2003.
I give Figure 8- 5 stars. It is my favorite Elliott Smith album, if you haven't heard Elliott Smith before you really should give this a listen. Or pick up "Either/Or" if you like a softer sound, but both are essential from him."