Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trailing some new kill

Rockstar suicides are supposed to make them legends. Elliot Smith's case just makes you wince. Death by stabbing is the least glamorous option possible. No gunshot, no noisy overdose, no plane crash; just a simple distillation of what suicide really is - painful and private.

Pouring over a suicidal singer-songwriter's back catalogue can be very rewarding for those parasites who are bolstered by the sad lives that some famous people lead. Unfortunately (or fortunately) these people never make it much further than wearing second-hand Nirvana T-shirts, but they would get a lot more pain out of Smith. Pain in its varying shades of grey and blue, words that seem to cut and wound the singer more than anyone else, all of it delivered in a whisper that makes one want to scream. Watch him perform 'Miss Misery' at the Oscars. He took a sad song, and made it sadder.

But for sheer discomfort and bleakness, you can't beat 'Angeles'. There's a line in it ('And be forever with my poison arms around you') which is so unnerving that every time I hear it I hope Elliot Smith is referring to the shady music biz agent this song is supposed to be about, and not to himself.

Elliot Smith - Angeles (live)


Someone's always coming around here trailing some new kill
Says I seen your picture on a hundred dollar bill
And what's a game of chance to you,
to him is one
Of real skill
So glad to meet you

Picking up the ticket shows there's money to be made
Go on and lose the gamble that's the history of the trade
Did you add up all the cards left to play to zero
And sign up with evil

Don't start me trying now u-huh u-huh u-huh
Cos I'm all over it

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
No one's gonna fool around with us
No one's gonna fool around with us
So glad to meet you

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