Sunday, September 29, 2013

Artist of the Day: Elliott Smith

Be warned: this article will tell you absolutely nothing you don't already know about Elliott Smith. Since you're here, it's a fair bet you've already heard, bought and adored each of his six records. You'll also more than likely rank him among the most gifted songwriters of modern generations, and almost certainly be familiar with the circumstances surrounding his tragic passing. In the past week, you may even have heard Madonna's butchered rendition of 'Between the Bars' - not a particularly welcome addition to his legacy, yet one which proves he and his music are perhaps more relevant than ever.

You may, however, learn something from Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith, a new biography William Todd Schultz, set to be published next month to tie in with the 10th anniversary of his death. Schultz, of course, is by no means the first to undertake the task of encapsulating Smith's life in text, yet his piece promises to shed more light than previous flawed efforts - most notably Benjamin Nugent's oft-maligned Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing, which frankly reads like the rushed, cobbled-together shambles it was. Let's hope this account proves more definitive, and finally grants Smith and his music the balanced, insightful volume they deserve.


Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith is published on 10 October.

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