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Editors’ Notes

XO begins like the three albums before it—with a minimal guitar figure and Smith's delicate vocals. Then it does something different: it explodes with drums, cello, and piano, setting the tone for the indie icon's most sonically ambitious recording to date. Lushly arranged, these songs are some of Smith's most vibrant. "Waltz, No. 2 (XO)" feels like an Irish drinking tune, while "Baby Britain" channels The Beach Boys and "Amity" is pure driving rock. It's the perfect marriage of intimate songwriting and nuanced production.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely, Positively Beautiful

There is not much I can say about this album except that it is, overall, my favourite Elliott Smith album. The lyrics throughout the record, especially on tracks such as "Sweet Adeline", "Waltz No. 2 (XO)" and "Pitseleh" are some of the best that Smith has ever written, and the quality of the musical accompaniment was never exceeded in Smith's career. Every track on this masterpiece is perfect; this is not one of those albums that you will skip half of while listening. The album plays as all Smith records do; it gives off a dark, yet equally warm and loving feel to it. XO isn't nearly as depressing as Elliott's earlier work; still, it presents a number of songs that will give you that cold, uncomfortable lump in the pit of your stomach that can only be described as despair. You really have to be in the mood for Elliott Smith. I suppose it could be best described as music to listen to while getting drunk, going out and picking a fight with a stranger, and losing that fight. This album runs with that theme. Still, this is absolutely amazing work. Smith was an amazing man, and hopefully this record will touch you as much as it has touched me.

Has my favorite Elliott Smith song

Elliott smith is one of the finest songwriters of our generation, and his talent shows in this album. There is not one weak track on XO. Every song affects you at a very high emotional level, and you make it your own, identifying with it more with each listen. Although, each song can stand on its own, the album as a whole will leave you breathless. Sweet Adeline is a hard rocking opener, just like figure 8 and basement on the hill would have in Smith's later years. Tomorrow, Tomorrow envelops you in its double tracked vocal harmonies, a skill which Smith had mastered. Waltz #2 is one of the saddest love songs I've ever heard. Baby Britain is one of the saddest songs about alchoholism ever written. Pitseleh hits you like a brick wall when it gets the the break at the end and Smith gushes, "No one deserves this". Independance Day has harmonies just as beautiful and even more intriguing than Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Bled White is one of the more high-energy tracks. Waltz #1 has the sound of a long forgotten dream of pain, which finally shows itself towards the end when Smith sings, "I wish I'd never seen your face". Amity, a song about Smiths current girlfriend, is also a hard rocker and has a very welcome guitar solo. Oh Well, OK sounds like something brian wilson would have written in his prime. Bottle Up and Explode gets to you during the instrumental break, where the tortured poet that Elliott Smith was screams out from beneath the sea of music he created. A Question Mark is may have the most complex lyrics in the album, and shows Smith's growth as a lyricist. Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands is my personal favorite of the album. It begins with a simple, but rather brilliant, acoustic chord progression. As Smith sings "f*@#ing oughta stay the hell away from things you know nothing about", the song evolves into moving instrumental outro that gives you chills as the strings sweep through you. The a capella I Didn't Understand is by far one of the most heartbreaking songs every written. I highly reccomend buying this album, which you should do right now.


If you don't have this album, GET IT. There are so many good songs on here, you won't be disappointed. Tomorrow Tomorrow, Pitseleh, Indepedence Day, Bottle Up, and Everybody Cares are some of the best songs I've ever heard (yeah it's true!!) and the others are great songs as well. Elliott seems to take sad and depressing lyrics and mask them with such beautiful music that the songs actually seem uplifting. He had quite a talent. RIP Elliott Smith


Born: August 6, 1969 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The celebrated folk-punk singer/songwriter Elliott Smith rose from indie obscurity to mainstream success in 1997 on the strength of "Miss Misery," his Academy Award-nominated song from the film Good Will Hunting. A native of Portland, OR, Smith began writing and recording his first songs at age 14, later becoming a fixture of the city's thriving music scene. As a member of the band Heatmiser, he debuted in 1993 with the LP Dead Air, issuing his first solo effort Roman Candle on the tiny Cavity Search...
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