Elliott Smith - XO (Vinyl)

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RESTOCKED: Elliott Smith - XO

XO is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. It was recorded from 1997 to 1998 and originally released on August 25, 1998, by record label DreamWorks; Smith's first solo album on a major record label. Two singles, "Waltz #2 (XO)" and "Baby Britain", were released.

Early sessions for the album began at Larry Crane's Jackpot Recording Studio after the release of Either/Or in 1997. These sessions would yield early demos of several album tracks, as well as outtakes later released posthumously on New Moon. Work began in earnest on the album in early 1998, after Smith traveled to Los Angeles to work with producers Rob Schnapf and Tom Rothrock. An early working title for the album was Grand Mal.

The title of the first track, "Sweet Adeline", was inspired by Smith's recollections of his grandmother singing in her glee club, Sweet Adelines International. "Amity" is believed to be named after a friend who can be seen in photographs from Smith's 1997 tour. "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" is based on a true story of an intervention that saw Smith check into a rehab facility in Arizona. Smith's original lyrics bear this out further, with references to 'the desert', a 'dream-killing doctor', and a 'twelve-stepping cop'.

'I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow.'

Elliott Smith's songs often feel like rehearsals for eulogies. The sense of despair in his music is such a palpable thing, with an almost physical weight, yet there is a communal sense to it as well, a friendly misery. Those who have little history with depression may not understand it, but there is something comforting in depressive art, a shared experience that makes it all a little easier to take. I feel like Elliott Smith is these days the patron saint of loneliness and the isolation that his music communicates is richly affective. At my lowest moments, for years now, his music is always the best comfort. Unlike, say, the claustrophobic, crushing despair of Joy Division, Elliott's music is companionable, like an embrace.

XO represents the moment when, unaccountably, Elliott Smith became something close to a pop star, thanks in no small part to Good Will Hunting featuring several of his songs. Musically, the album is sweeter and brighter than his earlier work, nothing like the raw nerves of "Needle in the Hay" but with more of a sighing resignation underneath everything. This is especially manifest in "Sweet Adeline" as it transitions from the shuffle of acoustic guitar with an enormous Beatlesque roll. "Waltz # 2" (essentially the title track) is practically definitive, a quiet character sketch, dancing back and forth on the idea of knowing someone and at once their being unknowable, of the unfathomable distance between people, always hiding behind a facade that things are going well. Much of this album seems to track fleeting moments of personal connection with strangers, clutching to them. I know too well that feeling of placing great importance in the warmth of chance encounters while being unable to reconcile with the hollowness of shielded interaction with all the people who know you well. That honesty of emotion is what makes this slickly produced breakthrough album still deeply intimate.

It wrecks me, every time.

By: Jshopa.

A1 Sweet Adeline
A2 Tomorrow Tomorrow 
A3 Waltz
A4 Baby Britain
A5 Pitseleh 
A6 Independence Day
A7 Bled White

B1 Waltz #1
B2 Amity 
B3 Oh Well, Okay 
B4 Bottle Up And Explode!
B5 A Question Mark 
B6 Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
B7 I Didn't Understand


Arranged By [Strings, Horns] – Elliott Smith, Shelly Berg, Tom Halm
Artwork By [Sleeve By] – Johnson And Wolverton, Portland, OR
Bass Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Flute – Bruce Eskovitz
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Monique Rozendaal
Engineer [Assistant] – Alan Sanderson, Doug Boehm, Richard Barron
French Horn – R. James Atkinson*
Mastered By – Stephen Marcussen
Photography By – Eric Matthies
Producer, Mixed By – Elliott Smith, Rob Schnapf, Tom Rothrock
Recorded By – Elliott Smith (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B1, B3 to B7), Larry Crane* (tracks: A4, B2), Rob Schnapf (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B1, B3 to B7), Tom Rothrock (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B1, B3 to B7)
Strings – Farhad Behroozi, Henry Ferber, Jerrod Goodman, Pamela DeAlmeida, Peter Hatch, Raymond Tischer II*, Russel Cantor*, Waldemar DeAlmeida
Trumpet – Roy Poper
Written-By – Elliott Smith

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