Saturday, January 22, 2011

From A Basement On The Hill

Me and the girlfriend went to Antwerp yesterday to try and score some great deals in the last week of this winter's bargain period. In doing so we stumbled upon an awesome record store.
The shop is called Vinyl Records and off course they pack a ton of vinyl, second hand and new.
The prices are right and the people know their store inside out. Which is quite an accomplishment seeing the state of the store. It is literally stocked with records from top to bottom.
Just a couple of days earlier i was talking about how great it would be to have Elliott Smith on vinyl.
Guess what we found, oh yes, a new version of Elliott Smith's "From a Basement on the Hill".

So here's what i think about it:
First off the album itself is such a presence. Inside there are scans of the original handwritten lyrics for all the songs. I admit they are hard to read but it's a pleasant bonus.
The discs are very neat looking with black labels on them.

The LP starts with Coast to Coast that is introduced by a haunting soundscape before the song explodes into the folk pop that Smith is known for.
This album is one of the most melancholic in his whole collection. The album was released a year after his death and the material has been gathered by his friends and family. Producer Rob Schnapf who worked with Smith on this album also played a big part in the song selection.
It is his studio that is the inspiration for this album. Smith was going through some of the darkest periods in his life and felt like Schnapf's studio was a sort of haven. He was becoming more and more paranoid and this shines through in his lyrics.
What always confuses is the way his cathy an cheerful melodies seem to hide the dark lyrics.
As i am writing this i'm thinking especially of "Memory Lane", where he explores the deepest and darkest places one can find in oneself and he covers this pain with such a sugary coating.
His love for the Beatles clearly shines through in this LP. "Shooting Star" is what is called his most Beatlesque song. He personally saw this as one of his biggest work and most complex one at that.

I am just in love with this record and the best thing of all is that my girlfriend gave it to me as a gift.
Just because...

I offered her "The Queen is Dead" by The Smiths. Expect a review of that soon.


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