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Elliott Smith
XO
Bong Load

I just missed Elliott Smith opening for Ben Folds Five and Beck in an open-air amusement park up-state New York earlier this year. Or, did I? I doubt Mr. Smith was there at all, because I thought I arrived early, just to reach BFF midway through their set. Which means Mr. Smith must have entered and exited stage before 6 o'clock!? Anyway, I didn't know Elliott Smith by then, except from hearing his contributions in the box-office hit movie Good Will Hunting. Elliott Smith - a name to remember.

XO is his 4th album, after releasing Roman Candle (Cavity Search 1994), Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars 1995), and Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars 1997). Now he's been signed by Dreamworks, trying to present him for a bigger audience. And he deserves it. Elliott Smith writes excellent, honest pop-songs, and it seems like he's been playing most of the instruments himself. He can be singing a quiet ballad for in the next moment being into some slightly 70's inspired pop-rock. Ben Folds Five is maybe someone to compare with. Except there isn't that much piano. Crowded House and Big Star could also be mentioned after hearing some of his songs.

XO is a varied album, but the standard is high all the way. Personally I'd like to mention songs like Waltz #1 (one of two waltzes on the album!), Bottle Up And Explode!, Tomorrow Tomorrow, and; the ballad of the year when it comes to sad love songs; I Didn't Understand.

XO stands for something special. Have a taste!

Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Elliott Smith articles/reviews: 1969-2003, La Zona Rosa, Austin TX, 06.05.2000, Seattle 28.02.00 + Portland 29.02.00, the Hamburger interview.

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