Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill (Cover Artwork)

Elliott Smith

From a Basement on the Hill (2004)


Singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, dead at 34 from a knife wound to the chest. Tabloids will tell you that it was a suicide, but I say murder. I'll spare you the details of the investigation because they are sketchy, at best.

Elliott was one of the best songwriters of our time. His lyrics were intelligent. They were heartfelt. At times, downright depressing. From a Basement on the Hill was released shortly after Elliott's untimely death. I should make it clear that this album is not a compilation. These were new songs that Elliott was still tweaking at the time of his death. What you have are 15 tracks that were picked out by Smith's closest friends and producer Rob Schnapf. No one really knows what, if any, changes Elliott would have made, but regardless, this post-humous album shows how truly talented Elliott was, and unfortunately, reminds us of what could have been.

Most of the songs on the album are acoustic/folk rock. The acoustic guitars and Elliott's whispery voice really help set the somber tone in all of Elliott Smith's albums. Yes, I realize ‘whispery' is not an actual word, but it's the only thing I can come up with to describe it. Elliott's voice is nothing special, but not many brilliant songwriters actually do have great vocals. From a Basement on the Hill is not for everybody. It's emotionally draining and a little cumbersome, but I do highly recommend it to any fan of acoustic rock.

Quote from my favorite song on the album, "Fond Farewell:"

A little less than a human being
A little less than a happy high
A little less than a suicide
The only things that you really tried
This is not my life
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm like
It's just a fond farewell to a friend