Elliott Smith’s Fond Farewell
In the wake of Elliott Smithâ€šÃ„Ã´s tragic suicide, the singer/songwriter not only left behind many grief-stricken fans, but also an unfinished album. A year later, those fans get From a Basement on the Hill, an effort comprised of Smithâ€šÃ„Ã´s final recordings. Because he died before the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s completion, family and friends oversaw the final production and track list. Though unavoidably it may diverge from Smithâ€šÃ„Ã´s intent for the record, From a Basement still serves as an appropriate finale to a career defined by a sadness so readily accessible to his listeners.From a Basement recalls all the Smith moments you want to hear one last time. Tracks like â€šÃ„ÃºLetâ€šÃ„Ã´s Get Lostâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºA Fond Farewellâ€šÃ„Ã¹ reflect the intimacy found on Smithâ€šÃ„Ã´s 1998 release, XO while the recordâ€šÃ„Ã´s elaborate centerpiece, â€šÃ„ÃºKingâ€šÃ„Ã´s Crossing,â€šÃ„Ã¹ taps into the ambitious aspects of 2000â€šÃ„Ã´s Figure 8. Throughout are Smithâ€šÃ„Ã´s fragile vocals expressing his turmoil while channeling his 60â€šÃ„Ã´s rock sensibility. Musically, From a Basement is a more buoyant record than might be anticipated. â€šÃ„ÃºMemory Lane,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a track where Smith praises isolation as an alternative to â€šÃ„Ãºself-hatred, guilt and shame,â€šÃ„Ã¹ plays like an upbeat Django Reinhardt recording. However, if at any moment you forget that Smith killed himself while working on this album, he abruptly reminds you with the title of the aforementioned â€šÃ„ÃºA Fond Farewell,â€šÃ„Ã¹ or with lyrics like â€šÃ„ÃºI canâ€šÃ„Ã´t prepare for death anymore than I already haveâ€šÃ„Ã¹ from â€šÃ„ÃºKingâ€šÃ„Ã´s Crossing.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Perhaps it is because his work is characterized by his remarkable ability to articulate his misery that his suicide seemed troublingly expected. And if thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s the case, then From a Basement on the Hill truly is a fond farewell.