Misty Water Colored Memories - XO

Posted by Miss Ess, July 10, 2007 09:32am | Post a Comment
I think I might finally be able to listen to Elliott Smith again!

I know I have posted about him before here, but really that was the first time I had talked about him at all since he passed away in 2003.  At that point I really had to stop listening, so it has been a while.

AND It's been very nearly 10 years since Elliott's fourth album XO came out!  Dang I am old.

So here I am in 2007 and this weekend I put on XO just to see what happened...and poof!

It took me right back to a very particular time in my life.  After being a huge music freak since I was a kid, it's hard to believe I can still be caught so off guard by how much one record, one assemblage of songs, can conjure.  It's so strange how  specific and deep music can make memories, and how easy it is to let it take you back right there.  Isn't it weird to realize that those memories have always been right there in your brain the whole time, and you never think about them, but hearing one particular album can access all that  once again in a flash?  It's like being completely taken away by a good, visceral dream....or a nightmare, depending! 

From the moment XO came out, I played it to death.  Like, waaaaaay too much.  I was completely into it.  I could not get enough, esp of the songs "Tomorrow Tomorrow," "Pitseleh," "Oh Well, OK,"  "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" [Elliott's version of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab"], and "I Didn't Understand" -- Geez, really the whole thing.

Over time a couple of the songs on XO were kinda naggingly overdone to me (I'm not a huge fan of lots of production), but I just couldn't put the thing away.  Some records are like that for me. 

This Sunday I couldn't remember the last time I had listened to it, which of course means, it's time to bust it out again!  What do you know, those songs I thought I could never hear again for all kinds of reasons, they sound GREAT again!  They sound fantastic, even!  Right now "Waltz #1" is the most amazing thing.  All production complaints forgiven.  Time is an amazing thing, right?!

The thing that time has given me when it comes to this record is a bit more perspective. 

Uh yeah, that's what I tell myself anyway.  When I think about who I was 10 years ago....I feel pretty much the same.  But I think I am weird in that way.  Well, one thing is different, I live in San Francisco now.  Ok maybe I am a little bit smarter, just a little.  And I have listened to a LOT more records. (Trying to give myself a little cred here.....!)

Anyway, I had such a good, bittersweet time listening to Elliott, something I wasn't sure I would have again.  Hearing XO was, potentially cheesy as it sounds, like revisiting an old friend.  I don't think there's any better way to describe it, really.

"if you get a feeling next time you see me
do me a favor and let me know
cause its hard to tell
it's hard to say
oh well

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Elliott Smith (14), Xo (1)