Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You: The Soundtrack

Knowledge is cumulative; it’s impossible to unlearn once absorbed. I didn’t hear a song by Elliott Smith until sometime after he left the planet in October 2003 and I will never hear his music unshaded by death’s shadow. I will never encounter his music coloured by the hopefulness that surrounded his early success and celebration, or feel how welcome his brighter, gentler vibe was in the post-grunge context. There’s no way to recover from exposure to information. If I try to imagine Smith’s works without the shroud wrapped around them then I’m keenly aware that it’s a pretence of innocence; that I’m only pretending not to hear that pall. Intellectually I know the emotion, the mood, would be so different hearing these songs on a summer’s day in 1996, or catching Smith’s TV performance for the Oscars in 1998. In truth, music is always adulterated, impure. The double vinyl soundtrack to the documentary Heaven Adores You sits next to the DVD film on my shelves – but it was only this week, one year on from its release, that I watched the film. What scared me was knowing that seeing it would indelibly stain each note with the images or … Continue reading Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You: The Soundtrack