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Elliott Smith — Waltz #2
Album: XO
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3097









Released: 1998
Length: 4:34
Plays (last 30 days): 3
First the mic, then a half cigarette
Singing "Cathy's Clown"
That's the man that she's married to now
That's the girl that he takes around town
She appears composed, so she is, I suppose
Who can really tell?
She shows no emotion at all
Stares into space like a dead china doll
I'm never going to know you now
But I'm going to love you anyhow

Now she's done and they're calling someone
Such a familiar name
I'm so glad that my memory's remote
Because I'm doing just fine hour to hour, note to note
Here it is, the revenge to the tune
"You're no good,
You're no good, you're no good, you're no good"
Can't you tell that it's well understood?

I'm never going to know you now
But I'm gonna love you anyhow

I'm here today and expected to stay on and on and on
I'm tired
I'm tired

Looking out on the substitute scene
Still going strong
XO, Mom
It's ok, it's all right, nothing's wrong
Tell Mr. Man with impossible plans to just leave me alone
In the place where I make no mistakes
In the place where I have what it takes

I'm never going to know you now
But I'm going to love you anyhow
I'm never going to know you now
But I'm going to love you anyhow
I'm never going to know you now
But I'm going to love you anyhow
Comments (360)add comment
 lemmoth wrote:
Brillian commentary. Thanks 

 

 Stuff_n_Nonsense wrote:
After a quick glance at the more recent comments, I wonder if people are more into Elliott Smith as a tragic figure than an artist.  I know I used to be when I first started listening to him, but I feel confident in saying that he was extraordinarily expressive for a pop musician.  His life difficulties no doubt informed his expression enormously, but his ability to bring out human emotion in music was unique.  From what I understand, he worked very hard at what he did.  He wrote his accompaniment first, and then, from those chord progressions, chiseled his melodies free as if from stone, creating songs that organically emerged from his harmonies.  He also played with our ears, able to make a song written in a major key sound like it was written in minor.  Talk about expressive.  He was able to take a sound that is strongly associated with happiness, joy, and triumph in our culture, and then turn it into something that sounded sad, anxious, and dark, as though it were in a minor key.  No small feat.  He then added lyrics that aptly complimented the emotions already presented perfectly in his music.  He deeply thought about what he was doing and, it seems, went at it with a strong eye for purpose and deliberation.  The man was a true artist, working in a medium he loved.  Despite his many sad songs, I often experience joy when listening to him because I find his work so beautiful.  Just wonderful stuff, in my thinking anyway.       
 

Great lyrics again guys
This guy made some superb music in the 90s. I
always wondered why he never got much airplay
on the Alt-Rock stations at the time. Like Nick Drake
he decided to leave us in his prime...
What a waste of a talent
such a wonderful tune, thank you for improving my Saturday AM, RP!
 CaptainConnector wrote:
Pity about the production quality. 

 Actually his recording quality is quite good on many songs...(said from an audiophile) 

This song always grabs me...STILL!

 michael46 wrote:
played much too often ...
 

No, you're wrong!
fans might enjoy madison cunningham covering sweet adeline
 Stuff_n_Nonsense wrote:
After a quick glance at the more recent comments, I wonder if people are more into Elliott Smith as a tragic figure than an artist.  I know I used to be when I first started listening to him, but I feel confident in saying that he was extraordinarily expressive for a pop musician.  His life difficulties no doubt informed his expression enormously, but his ability to bring out human emotion in music was unique.  From what I understand, he worked very hard at what he did.  He wrote his accompaniment first, and then, from those chord progressions, chiseled his melodies free as if from stone, creating songs that organically emerged from his harmonies.  He also played with our ears, able to make a song written in a major key sound like it was written in minor.  Talk about expressive.  He was able to take a sound that is strongly associated with happiness, joy, and triumph in our culture, and then turn it into something that sounded sad, anxious, and dark, as though it were in a minor key.  No small feat.  He then added lyrics that aptly complimented the emotions already presented perfectly in his music.  He deeply thought about what he was doing and, it seems, went at it with a strong eye for purpose and deliberation.  The man was a true artist, working in a medium he loved.  Despite his many sad songs, I often experience joy when listening to him because I find his work so beautiful.  Just wonderful stuff, in my thinking anyway.      



steeler wrote:


One of the best song comments I have read.  Thanks.

 
beautifully put.
Thank you both.
played much too often ...
Love this song.  And as I write this comment, it ends and Bill masterfully segues to Sam Phillips’ Five Colors.  Life is good when listening to RP!
Still lovely.
Can you play Waltz #1?
 CaptainConnector wrote:
Pity about the production quality. 

 
The production quality sounds fine to me; I guess it could've been more "professional" or "slick" sounding if that was what he wanted.  
very nice!
Too much "Fine-fine-fine" {#Arghhh}
 DJ_BellsEye wrote:
More Elliott Smith, please.

{#Clap}

 
I have some sad news for you then...
Pity about the production quality. 
More Elliott Smith, please.

{#Clap}
reminds me of Badly Drawn Boy.
 steeler wrote:


One of the best song comments I have read.  Thanks.

  Agree


 steeler wrote:


One of the best song comments I have read.  Thanks.

 
Agree
Can't stop humming along! {#Good-vibes}
 Stuff_n_Nonsense wrote:
After a quick glance at the more recent comments, I wonder if people are more into Elliott Smith as a tragic figure than an artist.  I know I used to be when I first started listening to him, but I feel confident in saying that he was extraordinarily expressive for a pop musician.  His life difficulties no doubt informed his expression enormously, but his ability to bring out human emotion in music was unique.  From what I understand, he worked very hard at what he did.  He wrote his accompaniment first, and then, from those chord progressions, chiseled his melodies free as if from stone, creating songs that organically emerged from his harmonies.  He also played with our ears, able to make a song written in a major key sound like it was written in minor.  Talk about expressive.  He was able to take a sound that is strongly associated with happiness, joy, and triumph in our culture, and then turn it into something that sounded sad, anxious, and dark, as though it were in a minor key.  No small feat.  He then added lyrics that aptly complimented the emotions already presented perfectly in his music.  He deeply thought about what he was doing and, it seems, went at it with a strong eye for purpose and deliberation.  The man was a true artist, working in a medium he loved.  Despite his many sad songs, I often experience joy when listening to him because I find his work so beautiful.  Just wonderful stuff, in my thinking anyway.       

 

One of the best song comments I have read.  Thanks.
Gone to soon.  Melancholy songs that bring a smile.  Thats not easily done.
 more-more-more wrote:
To me, voice and style is very close to Badly Drawn Boy.

 
Totally - only heard this for the first time a month or so on BBC 6Music radio. Maybe BDB got his inspiration from here..
 Stuff_n_Nonsense wrote:
After a quick glance at the more recent comments, I wonder if people are more into Elliott Smith as a tragic figure than an artist.  I know I used to be when I first started listening to him, but I feel confident in saying that he was extraordinarily expressive for a pop musician.  His life difficulties no doubt informed his expression enormously, but his ability to bring out human emotion in music was unique.  From what I understand, he worked very hard at what he did.  He wrote his accompaniment first, and then, from those chord progressions, chiseled his melodies free as if from stone, creating songs that organically emerged from his harmonies.  He also played with our ears, able to make a song written in a major key sound like it was written in minor.  Talk about expressive.  He was able to take a sound that is strongly associated with happiness, joy, and triumph in our culture, and then turn it into something that sounded sad, anxious, and dark, as though it were in a minor key.  No small feat.  He then added lyrics that aptly complimented the emotions already presented perfectly in his music.  He deeply thought about what he was doing and, it seems, went at it with a strong eye for purpose and deliberation.  The man was a true artist, working in a medium he loved.  Despite his many sad songs, I often experience joy when listening to him because I find his work so beautiful.  Just wonderful stuff, in my thinking anyway.       

 
Very well said, kudos for sharing your very interesting insights.  I watched Good Will Hunting with my (grown) kids a few weeks ago and some of his soundtrack tunes were so compellingly emotional and appropriate for the complexities of the characters that I was a little awestruck.

I have just read the comments with interest, I don't know the body of his songs, but on first hearing, the beginning of this song evinced an "oh no, not another Dylan wannabe", then it was wait a minute, that just could be Sonny and Cher.

Nah, it's better than that.


After a quick glance at the more recent comments, I wonder if people are more into Elliott Smith as a tragic figure than an artist.  I know I used to be when I first started listening to him, but I feel confident in saying that he was extraordinarily expressive for a pop musician.  His life difficulties no doubt informed his expression enormously, but his ability to bring out human emotion in music was unique.  From what I understand, he worked very hard at what he did.  He wrote his accompaniment first, and then, from those chord progressions, chiseled his melodies free as if from stone, creating songs that organically emerged from his harmonies.  He also played with our ears, able to make a song written in a major key sound like it was written in minor.  Talk about expressive.  He was able to take a sound that is strongly associated with happiness, joy, and triumph in our culture, and then turn it into something that sounded sad, anxious, and dark, as though it were in a minor key.  No small feat.  He then added lyrics that aptly complimented the emotions already presented perfectly in his music.  He deeply thought about what he was doing and, it seems, went at it with a strong eye for purpose and deliberation.  The man was a true artist, working in a medium he loved.  Despite his many sad songs, I often experience joy when listening to him because I find his work so beautiful.  Just wonderful stuff, in my thinking anyway.       
 jtomato wrote:
This song makes me think he must have felt so alone and without any self esteem. RIP Elliot  {#Cry}

 
ditto
This song just breaks my heart. 
In response to those who think he is beloved because he is gone, I can say this - I never knew a thing about his life and death until long after I fell in love with his music.  
This song makes me think he must have felt so alone and without any self esteem. RIP Elliot  {#Cry}
 Johnny_Wave wrote:
Can't get into this guy's music at all.   A 3 at best

 
I'm with you.  Known a lot of people who loved his stuff but it never did it for me.  This one is particularly annoying since it is getting so much play on RP lately
Can't get into this guy's music at all.   A 3 at best
 casey1024 wrote:
Great, great song.  What a loss.



 

Question:

Did Smith become more popular after his death?

I must admit - and I dislike it - tha I had never heard (much) about him, before he left!

I like his voice, I like a handful of songs, but I could not agree with those who seem to make him bigger than he actually was!

Am I (totally) wrong...?


Well said. The grip of his music and tragedy will never leave me. 


tiare wrote:
Elliot Smith was a musical god, if troubled, and so it was. Sad that he is gone, still his music lives on and perhaps so, we are blessed to have known his essence at all.

 


 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:

..... VERY good stuff
 
Indeed. I like it more and more every time I hear it. 
 hencini wrote:
Good stuff.  

 
..... VERY good stuff
 RosieRedfield wrote:
This was fine the first 50 times, but now not so much.
 
I agree, this song is decent, but I liked it much more some time ago.  Now I find myself asking what I liked so much about it. 
Great, great song.  What a loss.


Classic RP. 
This was fine the first 50 times, but now not so much.
Good stuff.  
To me, voice and style is very close to Badly Drawn Boy.
 window wrote:

Agree completely.  I haven't heard anything else by him that reaches this peak, but I'm still hoping that it happens.  

 
Really?

Have you listened to Either/Or ?

For me, almost every song on that LP is as good or better than this one.  Maybe you just like 3/4 ?!?!?!?!?!

{#Drummer}
 tiare wrote:
Elliot Smith was a musical god, if troubled, and so it was. Sad that he is gone, still his music lives on and perhaps so, we are blessed to have known his essence at all.

 
I guess it is a personal shortcoming that I can't get passed being pissed off at the mother offing himself.  Although when he was alive I thought he was far from a god.

Besides, I think alternative/rock/indie musicians can seldom carry off 3/4 without it being overly heavy-handed on the beat. 
 AMEN!!!!!!

kimschoice wrote:
Normally would not post a negative comment.  But it's not about the quality but rather the quantity. 
Let's lessen the rotation please

 


Normally would not post a negative comment.  But it's not about the quality but rather the quantity. 
Let's lessen the rotation please
Really not my cup of tea. I find it trite - but maybe the lyrics make up for it. I can't get past the music, which annoys me, to hear the lyrics, though. Ick. See you all later...
 britoboy wrote:
overplayed

 
Not possible


overplayed
ive started to find his voice boring
 aspicer wrote:
This song really grabs me - it's one of those magical songs where it ALL just comes together - the voice, music, words...powerful!

 
Agree completely.  I haven't heard anything else by him that reaches this peak, but I'm still hoping that it happens.  
This song really grabs me - it's one of those magical songs where it ALL just comes together - the voice, music, words...powerful! An excellent album overall.
 Deadwing wrote:
Such a beautiful song. I'm sad beyond words that I never really heard him until after he was already dead.
{#Sad}

 
Ditto. (Well, maybe not "beyond words," but certainly sad when I reflect on Elliott's life and potential, given what he did already.)
Elliot Smith was a musical god, if troubled, and so it was. Sad that he is gone, still his music lives on and perhaps so, we are blessed to have known his essence at all.
very pretty song.  popular for jazz arrangements, too: brad mehldau, chris o'riley (if you call him jazz), jeff d'antona, . . .
Ah, what a lovely Waltz:-)
A big favourite!
  Shesdifferent wrote:
I feel like I hear this song every time I turn on RP
  
Lucky you
 Shesdifferent wrote:
I feel like I hear this song every time I turn on RP
 
Agree
Such a beautiful song. I'm sad beyond words that I never really heard him until after he was already dead.
{#Sad}
Geez how I love this guy's music.
Breaks my heart to know that what we have today is all that he'll ever produced.
One of the most underrated musicians over the last 20 years or so

RIP.
Now we know where that teethy Gotye guy got inspired from
 Shesdifferent wrote:
I feel like I hear this song every time I turn on RP
 
I wish I heard this song every time I turned on RP
The great ones steal. ;)


  rdo wrote:
One of America's great national treasures, Jacques Barzun, passed away last week.   Barzun was America's greatest commentator on culture and a fierce critic.  In the 1950s he was on the cover of Time for this reason (those were the days).  He theorized on music among many other things.

In his magnum opus From Dawn to Decadence, I learned from Barzun that theory always comes after the creation of great art. 

In other words, and here is my own personal take on this, a great musician does not learn a music theory and then go out and create based on what they have learned from other musicians.  That kind of thing is for second-rate talents.  The great ones change the rules of the game entirely and do what has never been done before, then the new theories will follow after.
 


9 —> 10
I feel like I hear this song every time I turn on RP
One of America's great national treasures, Jacques Barzun, passed away last week.   Barzun was America's greatest commentator on culture and a fierce critic.  In the 1950s he was on the cover of Time for this reason (those were the days).  He theorized on music among many other things.

In his magnum opus From Dawn to Decadence, I learned from Barzun that theory always comes after the creation of great art. 

In other words, and here is my own personal take on this, a great musician does not learn a music theory and then go out and create based on what they have learned from other musicians.  That kind of thing is for second-rate talents.  The great ones change the rules of the game entirely and do what has never been done before, then the new theories will follow after.
love this song.  well done.
These kind of songs are one the main reasons I listen to this wonderful station.. :)
Thanks Bill&Rebecca!

(as I said at the previous song (Radiohead - The Daily Mail))
Perfection. RIP, Elliott... Hopefully you're not dating any more psychopaths wherever you are now... ;)
 LongGoneDaddy wrote:
post grunge 90's version of an American Morrissey.  "and though he keeps his eye fixed upon Noah's great rainbow, he spends his time peeking into Desolation Row"...

 
{#Cheers}   very nice 
Wonder what Jennifer Chiba is doing these days?
 ShockwaveRider wrote:
You know, every comment on Elliott Smith seems to be about his untimely death. I think it's been long enough now that we should just think about him with gratitude, more like the way we think about Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Janis Joplin, or Stevie Ray Vaughan (or many many others). Enough dwelling on the negative.
 



I agree. Thank you Elliott, you passed too early ...
You know, every comment on Elliott Smith seems to be about his untimely death. I think it's been long enough now that we should just think about him with gratitude, more like the way we think about Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Janis Joplin, or Stevie Ray Vaughan (or many many others). Enough dwelling on the negative.
 RoelantSiekman wrote:
Great singer-songwriter. Too bad we won't be hearing anything more of him..
(8/10)
 
Ditto, Rest in Peace Elliott
 ziakut wrote:
He is missed by me.
 

{#Yes}
Love this song.  And Elliot's work, in general.  Such a loss.
He is missed by me.
8>9
 Xstar wrote:
From Wiki: "Smith suffered from depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, and these topics often appear in his lyrics. At age 34, he died in Los Angeles, California from two stab wounds to the chest.<2> The autopsy evidence was inconclusive as to whether the wounds were self-inflicted.<3> At the time of his death, Smith was working on his sixth studio album, From a Basement on the Hill, which was posthumously released."  {#Clap}
 
Stabbing yourself, twice, in the chest (or anywhere) seems an unlikely method of suicide. Just my opinion, it's the twice thing that makes me wonder. Regardless, it's a darned fine tune and I wish he wasn't dead.


Great singer-songwriter. Too bad we won't be hearing anything more of him..
(8/10)
This is the best day on RP...EVER!!!   {#Music} Thanks Bill!
take it out of my head! take it out! {#Frustrated}
I'm a sucker for a waltz - I'll second the thanks for playing this!!
post grunge 90's version of an American Morrissey.  "and though he keeps his eye fixed upon Noah's great rainbow, he spends his time peeking into Desolation Row"...

 The Shins sound very Smith-like at times - Smith was making songs as Heatmeiser for a decade before the Shins got together in ABQ.
gemtag wrote:
He sounds very Shins-like at times. Very nice sound. 
 


 mcullers wrote:
This is the song that first turned me onto ES. Heard it on the local college radio station and bought the album the same day. Loved it so much that I bought the rest of his albums as well.

This is one of the few songs that make me happy and sad at the same time. Thank you RP for playing it. 
 
i'm with you.
This is the song that first turned me onto ES. Heard it on the local college radio station and bought the album the same day. Loved it so much that I bought the rest of his albums as well.

This is one of the few songs that make me happy and sad at the same time. Thank you RP for playing it. 
From Wiki: "Smith suffered from depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, and these topics often appear in his lyrics. At age 34, he died in Los Angeles, California from two stab wounds to the chest.<2> The autopsy evidence was inconclusive as to whether the wounds were self-inflicted.<3> At the time of his death, Smith was working on his sixth studio album, From a Basement on the Hill, which was posthumously released."  {#Clap}
 sirdroseph wrote:


Good lord, I don't think that is normal for any suicide!{#Eek}
 

 sirdroseph wrote:


Good lord, I don't think that is normal for any suicide!{#Eek}
 

I interpret Byronape's comment to mean that he does not agree with the conclusion that Smith's death was a suicide, but  instead a murder.
 Byronape wrote:

Oh, didn't you see the reports?  He was a drugie and killed himself by stabbing himself twice in the chest.  That's normal for a druggie suicide... 

 

Good lord, I don't think that is normal for any suicide!{#Eek}
I hope Elliot is somewhere out there clean, at peace, and making music.
"In the place where I have what it takes...."
 terrapin52 wrote:
I love this song.  Too bad he was stabbed to death.
 
Oh, didn't you see the reports?  He was a drugie and killed himself by stabbing himself twice in the chest.  That's normal for a druggie suicide... 

That was egregious.
I love this song.  Too bad he was stabbed to death.
He sounds very Shins-like at times. Very nice sound. 
great song by a great singer/songwriter.  XO is good - Either/Or is absolutely perfect.

Near perfect in my view
 lsfeder wrote:
My roommate in college turned me on to Elliot Smith... I believe it was this song he played for me the 1st time.  Been hooked ever since.
 

{#Yes} Dude could write/play songs.
My roommate in college turned me on to Elliot Smith... I believe it was this song he played for me the 1st time.  Been hooked ever since.
Really grows on you with repeated listening.
10
His backing band must have influenced Calexico no end
 ladron wrote:
I always get happy when I hear this song start up. 7 -> 8.
 

me too. bumped 8 -> 9
I always get happy when I hear this song start up. 7 -> 8.
Love 9
 arserocket wrote:
Reminds me of bit of Badly Drawn Boy who I also rate highly
 
Hear, hear.

 Cynaera wrote:  RIP, Mr. Smith. Dammit.

Yes.  Too sad.
 


When he sings "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good..." I keep wanting him to finish with "baby, you're no good."
Reminds me of bit of Badly Drawn Boy who I also rate highly
 Pharlap wrote:

FWIW....he won an Academy Award! 
 

He was nominated, but unfortunately lost out to that treacly crap, "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic.
Bill just played two of my favorite songs by two of my favorite artists back to back (Paolo Nutini followed by Elliott Smith). I think he is supernatural. Well done!
that one line is a great hook - you know the one...