Top Five Tuesday :: Elliott Smith
My love for Elliott Smith’s music runs deep and wide within me, and is an everlasting love that I will carry with me until I can no longer hear music. I regret never seeing him play live, but to be honest, I thought I would have more time. There are days when I listen to his music and think if I could go back in time to have a moment with him I would so want to say something to help keep him in the world, or maybe just make him a batch of cookies, or take him out for coffee, something.
His music impacts me so deeply, and means so much to me. I am grateful for what of it is out there, thankful for the art he created, for the songs, and the feelings they evoke. I just cannot help but wish he was still around.
Following are my top five favorites, and a three-sentence by song ode to my choices:
5. Miss Misery (Early Version)
“But it’s all right,
because some enchanted night,
I’ll be with you.”
This version seems more hopeful to me, heartaching, but still that light of a future of some kind, or perhaps it is just a dream of a wish for some kind of unrequited love. Sometimes we all get lost from ourselves, and from each other, and in the late night moments of sleeplessness we review it in our heads, and our hearts, and hope there will come a time when we can be found, and find each other, again. In the meantime, we stumble and stall, and persist in our everyday kind of living, even if we find ourselves feeling invisible, and miserable.
“You don’t deserve to be lonely,
but those drugs you got won’t make you feel better.”
The push and pull of someone who is broken and full of need, a need that hits on a need in me, it has happened more than once to me. Sometime the tug on my heart, and on my self-esteem, is too heavy to bear, and parts of me begin to break in the process. I know how to patch people up, to help heal them, to shower them with love and smiles and all that I have, but eventually it empties me of everything, leaving me hollowed out and alone, and their needs start the pull on me, again, sometimes endlessly.
3. Say Yes
“But now I feel changed around,
and instead falling down,
I’m standing up the morning after.”
One of my favorite love songs, though I know that it is not full of happy endings throughout, still it is a love song, to me. There is this feeling of embracing something genuine, something hopeful, something good for you, which in my life has often been rare, if at all. To me, the “still around the morning after” line feels like a for better or worse kind of vow, heartfelt and real, to me.
“I could make you satisfied in everything you do,
all your ‘secret wishes’ could right now be coming true,
and be forever with my poison arms around you.”
This is the Los Angeles I know, the one I grew up in, the one I spent my rite of passage years running through, and the one I still try to make a living, and live, in. There is a kind of sadness, a kind of self-loathing, and a kind of lost that comes with being here, in this city, and yet there is a magic there, too, an addictive haze of promise and brilliance that keeps you going. I have such a deep love, and hate, for this city, and also a deep attraction to music, cinema and writings that hit on that dicotomy, that reveal the Los Angeles that I know, to me.
1. Waltz #2
“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.”
One of my all-time favorite songs ever, this one, it gets to me deep in my soul, and often has me in tears. It hits on disappointments and let downs, expectations never met, and the terrible feeling of never being good enough for anyone that has been a shadow following me, and wrapping around me, for my entire life. This is so full of beauty, and heartbreak, to me.