I’ve been so moved by Elliott Smith’s music this week. I can’t put my finger on it. I haven’t been affected by an artiste in this manner in a very long time. The last time I felt this way was when I heard The Beatles for the first time in the summer of 2005, when I was 18.
Until last month, I had only ever heard one song by Elliott Smith and knew that he had died a mysterious death. Last month, I heard Sara
play his music aloud as she cooked. I was intrigued by the chord changes that were so strikingly similar to The Beatles’. I loved the first song I heard and we covered it last week
I have since gone down the Elliott Smith rabbit hole. And all I can say is I am infatuated, smitten, in love.
His singing is in complete contradiction to the ethos of Hindustani music, the tradition I grew up with; सुर से समझौता नहीं which roughly translates to no negotiation with pitch-accuracy.
It has always been one of my biggest dreads: pitchy singing. And I had always kept that as the focus of singing for most of my musical life. I’m turning the corner from this idea that pitch-accuracy is the be all and end all in music; maybe it’s not and maybe ‘emotion’ is.
His songwriting and melody pierce through. There is something so subversive about him singing songs he wrote in his bedroom, way before the internet in the 90s, in his own peculiar voice without giving—excuse my Sanskirt—a fuck, about what anyone had to say about it, with a quiet abandon, with no care for fame and money.
I think I’m heading in that direction, where I find myself going further and further away from caring about what others think/feel/say. I am living life on my own terms.
He speaks to me.
I’ve often doubted if I’m having a delayed teenage angst. Falling madly in love with Elliott Smith in my thirties, only confirms those doubts.❖
Some of my favourite tracks:-