October 28, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 32  

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Tribute to "Misery": remembering Elliott Smith

By Arianne DiNardo
Gazette Writer

Gazette file photos
A SAD DAY IN THE MUSIC WORLD. Elliott Smith took his own life last Tuesday at the age of 34.

Musician Elliott Smith was found dead last Tuesday of a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest. He was 34-years-old.

Smith rose from obscurity when 'Miss Misery,' his musical contribution to the film Good Will Hunting, was nominated for an Academy Award. Prior to this, Smith had secured himself in the world of indie-rock with three intimate, brooding albums that spurred comparisons to '70s folk mogul Nick Drake.

Smith's music was characterized by soft, whispery vocals, simple melodies and honest lyrics. His earliest album, Roman Candle, was self-recorded on a four-track in his basement and each subsequent record accumulated more artistry and experimentation, ultimately leading to the baroque chamber-pop of his final release, Figure 8. It was well known Smith battled with drug addiction and depression, as his lyrics clearly documented his demons.

The most obvious reason for Smith's underground cult-following was his sincerity. In 1997, he told the magazine Rocket, 'You gotta get out there and show what it's like to be a person. That's what I'm gonna do. It might be good or it might be bad, but I'm gonna show what it's like to be a person.' And he did.

Over the past few years, Smith had been working on a new album called From A Basement On The Hill. Though 15 tracks were recorded, there is no word yet on any posthumous release.

Smith will be sorely missed.



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