The comfort, familiarity, and solace Elliott Smith's music has given me over the last six years is something I can't really describe. I felt like his music was there for me when I needed it the most, and even though he has been gone from this world for over ten years now, his music will resonate forever in the hearts of those who cherish it. Just the sound of his voice, and the intricate, trademark notes he plucks at the guitar are like little pieces of me, and when I hear it I feel in tune with parts of myself only his music connects to..
There is a part of me that wants to drive alone in the rain; the sky swallowed up by nothing but gray, until the headlights of the other cars look brighter than they should in daylight. A part of me that feels isolated, yet strangely comfortable inside that solitude. Though the strangest part of me Elliott has always connected to is the part of me that feels comfortable in my own skin. Which is almost painfully ironic, seeing as how he was a man who never was. He was consumed with self-hate, until he eventually took his own life in 2003. I find it achingly beautiful that the art he created out of that immeasurable pain can somehow bring comfort and strength to other people. That concept is the only reason why I create art at all.
"Roman Candle" was recorded by Elliott in '93 while he was still in Heatmiser, though it was released in '94. This song has always resonated with me, ever since the very first time I first heard it. It reminds me of a time when I felt trapped between two separate lives I was forced to live. A life where I felt like a prisoner, a puppet - and a life where I felt free to become my own person. Elliott connected deeply with me during some of the worst moments of that time. Times where I'd never felt so hopeless in my life. His music was always like a friend, holding my hand, especially all those days where I was driving alone in the rain.. Days that somehow feel precious, despite the emptiness, because they were days I eventually left behind.
No musician has ever been able to connect with me on the same level. Maybe just as intensely, though in different ways - but in falling in love with Elliott Smith's music, there has always been a part of me that feels like I knew him. Like his soul was immortalized in the pain and beauty of the sound, and every time I find comfort in it, it somehow feels like not being alone..
I wanted to include this video for "The Biggest Lie", as it's one of my favorite songs Elliott ever made. The footage was taken at the wall featured on the cover of his album "Figure 8", after he died in 2003. The response from the people is heartbreaking, but what I connect to the most is the person who wrote, "It wasn't music as much as medicine." It couldn't be any more true. Rest in peace, Elliott. You won't be forgotten.