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Elliott Smith Well Worth Checking Out

'Miss Misery' songwriter releases new album.

by Steve Schwarz
November 5, 2000

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Elliott Smith Well Worth Checking Out_Steve Schwarz-'Miss Misery' songwriter releases new album. Elliott Smith is not your typical mainstream artist. His new album, "Figure 8", however, is getting a lot of critical praise.

He started as a member of the Portland-based band, Heatmiser. While he was in Heatmiser, he began recording solo tracks in 1994 - his first CD was recorded on a four-track in his basement. By 1997, he was asked by director Gus Van Sant to contribute 5 songs for the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack, including the Oscar-nominated song "Miss Misery." It was a strange moment at the 1998 Oscars. This shy, unknown guy in a white suit playing solo acoustic guitar and singing in a quiet, beautiful voice, was up against Trisha Yearwood, Michael Bolton, and eventual winner, Celine Dion (for the song from "The Titanic"). It brought Elliott from relative obscurity into the limelight for one evening. Check out elliottsmith.com. This site has video clips, audio clips and information to introduce you to this talented songwriter. Though his first three CDs on the independent label, "Kill Rock Stars", are very good, be sure to check out "Figure 8" and the one prior to that, "XO" (both are on the SKG Dreamworks label). They are filled with rich, melodic songs and beautiful progressions that, dare I say, remind one of some Beatles' gems.

I have seen him live, twice, once alone with an acoustic guitar and once with a backing band. Elliott is the antithesis of a rock star, at times asking the audience things like, "Do you want to hear a sad song with a happy ending or a happy song with a sad ending?" You won't regret getting to know Elliott Smith's music.

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Music Dude from Chicago writes:
November 5, 2000
I appreciate Steve's article. I loved Miss Misery immediately when I saw Good Will Hunting, but never caught the name of the artist or the song title.

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