Hearts And Thoughts They Fade, Fade Away

I will apologize in advance for any half-assed posts in the next couple of weeks.  As I’ve mentioned about 5,000 times, I’m getting married … And soon.  So most evenings are reserved for last minute wedding stuff.  Sorry.

That being said, it’s still Music Monday and it’s still October … And that means one last Elliott Smith related post.

This week I’ll be sharing my top ten favorite Elliott Smith songs.  I know I’ve shared some of my favorites in previous posts, but I always stuck to one specific album.  Today’s list will open up the options to include all of his songs.  It’s definitely tough to narrow it down to only 10 favorites because there are so many amazing songs to choose from … But here goes!

10.) “Needle in the Hay” (found on Elliott Smith)

This is one of Elliott Smith’s most well known songs, and with good reason.  It’s dark (think of the attempted suicide scene in The Royal Tenenbaums) and filled with drug references … So it’s kind of the perfect song to represent much of his work.  I always get chills when he sings the line: “You oughta be proud that I’m getting good marks.”

9.) “Going Nowhere” (found on New Moon disc 1)

This is such a quiet, simple song.  The imagery is haunting, though, particularly in the opening lines: “He waved hello, silent like a mime.”  From the moment I first heard this song, I was instantly drawn to it.

8.) “Miss Misery” (found on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack)

I think a lot of fans hate (or want to hate) this song because it’s what catapulted him into the spotlight (what with the Academy Award nomination and all).  But here’s the thing … I will never hate this song.  It’s lovely … And every time I watch the video of Elliott performing this at the Academy Awards, I cry.

7.) “A Fond Farewell” (found on From a Basement on the Hill)

I know I’ve used the word “haunting” once already, but there is no other word that could accurately describe this song.   This album was released after his death, and this song has always made me think of a suicide note put to music … It’s definitely beautiful, but so so sad.

6.) “I Didn’t Understand” (found on XO)

This is perhaps an odd choice to include on the list, but I have always loved this song.  I used to listen to it on repeat and cry (and yes I realize how ridiculous that sounds) … It was just such a perfect song to describe the way I felt when I was dealing with a broken heart.

5.) “Waltz #2 (XO)” (found on XO)

This is another of Elliott Smith’s more well known songs.  It’s gorgeous, and the repeated line in the chorus: “I’m never gonna know you now, but I’m gonna love you anyhow” is just heartbreaking.

4.) “Happiness” (found on Figure 8)

Although the title suggests something bright and cheerful, the song itself is pretty sad.  The line: “Her memory worked in reverse to keep her safe from herself” was always one I could really relate to.  Even now, sometimes I’ll get a little teary eyed when I hear this song.

3.) “Last Call” (found on Roman Candle)

This is another song I would definitely refer to as “haunting.”  The first time I heard this, I was impressed by the sheer amount of emotion he conveyed through both the lyrics and the music.  This is my go to “angry/bitter” song.

2.) “Between the Bars” (found on Either/Or)

This isn’t really supposed to be an overly hopeful song, yet for some reason I’ve always interpreted the lyrics that way.  It’s another simple, quiet song … But it’s just so special.  There’s a reason this is a fan favorite.

1.) “Junk Bond Trader” (found on Figure 8)

No surprise here!  I mean, I did write an entire post about the reasons why this is my absolute favorite song of all time.  (You can read all about it here: I’m Overflowing with Ambition).  I know this isn’t everyone’s favorite Elliott Smith song, but it has always meant a lot to me.  It helped me through some really dark times, so it will always be special.


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