Elliott Smith Song of the Day

“Miss Misery (Early Version)” by Elliott Smith

Today is rough. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, or maybe a speeding train. Lack of sleep and too much upset lately is taken a toll on me. I’m trying so hard to make this a good month, and a good holiday, but I don’t know that I have it in me anymore. I just want it to be behind me now. I’m so tired of feeling this way.

My anxiety hasn’t been this bad in more years than I can count. Its a big part of what’s fueling my insomnia, and my panic attacks. I’m trying to remember all my old coping skills. The breathing techniques, the routines, counting numbers in my head, music, lists, being outside, driving, walking, finding someplace or someone that feels safe.

Nothing is helping today. And all I can really do at work is keep playing music.

“Miss Misery” has always been one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs. I’ve often felt like Miss Misery myself. In 2007, New Moon was released and with it a new, or really an old version of “Miss Misery”, and I loved it even more. The song had this hope to it that the released track never did, and I clung to it at first listen. I’m always looking for hope to hang on to. Today I really need hope.

Song of the Day Lyriquediscorde

The originally released version of “Miss Misery” was featured in the closing credits of the film Good Will Hunting, and was included in the film’s soundtrack. It was nominated for Best Original Song in the 1997 Academy Awards. 

New Moon Elliott Smith

The version I prefer, “Miss Misery (Early Version)”, was recorded in Jackpot! Recording Studio in early 1997 and appears on the 2007 posthumous collection New Moon. The Good Will Hunting version was re-cut at Jackpot! (from Wikipedia

Though I do love the version I knew first, from the film Good Will Hunting, it is the original that I love the most. There’s that hope in it that I mentioned before, the hope that is missing in the later soundtrack version that I think needs to be there to add to the complex emotional landscape of the song. It reminds me of how hard it is to make it through life, but that there are things that pull us through, a someday to work toward, whether that someday is real, or imagined.

That said, sometimes I listen to the “early version” and think that the chorus of “some enchanted night I’ll be with you” refers to death, instead of a lost and/or unrequited love that may be seen again.

“Miss Misery (Early Version)” by Elliott Smith
from the album, New Moon (2007)
Song of the Day

“Next door the TV’s flashing blue frames on the wall.
It’s a comedy from the seventies,
with a lead no one recalls.
He vanished into oblivion.
It’s easy to do.
And I cried a sea,
when you talked to me,
the day you said we were through.
But it’s alright,
some enchanted night,
I’ll be with you.”

For me, both versions touch on isolation and loss of love. Addiction feels weaved through the song, as well, though not on the surfaces, but as a part of the framework, and subtext. It feels at times like a break-up song, but something about it seems further out than most break-up songs sing to. This feels like years have passed and that this loss was a catalyst that led the singer, or character of the song, into a darkness that he/she can’t seem to escape from.

I guess that may defeat any hope I claim to feel. Yet somehow, in the “Early Version,” I feel it. The hope. Or maybe I just want to feel it.

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