Most helpful positive review
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Pink, Pink Moon
on May 11, 2007
If EITHER/OR, ELLIOTT SMITH & XO are his best albums, I'd say NEW MOON is 4th in line. Longtime fans, need no persuading, but this probably isn't the best place to start. This is after all, an over-generous collection of outtakes. True, they lack the Brian Wilson-like arrangements of his last 3 albums. But the lo-fi quality here is far from sub-par. Without a doubt, the folks at KRS put this together with love & care.
For my money, Smith was undoubtedly, one of the finest songwriters to emerge from the mid 90's. In terms of angst & heartache, he all too quietly pulled the rug out from under Kurt Cobain. Suffice it to say, all the songs here are terrific. Vintage Elliott Smith. Catchy Beatleseque hooks, intimate vocals. Audio butterscotch. Smith's unique playing style is on full display, especially on "Seen How Things Are Hard".
Recorded between 1994-97, Smith was probably wise to leave these songs off his official releases. Not because the the songs were bad. But one gets the sense that his best albums would have been less so with their inclusion. Fortunately for fans, they all work so well together here. Sequencing is half the battle on things like this & folks here have done a fine job. Nothing feels particularly thrown together last minute.
Highlights include, the fragile, "Angel In The Snow" and the bleak, "All Cleaned Out". The early version of "Pretty Mary K" outshines its eventual incarnation on FIGURE 8. And it's nice to finally hear the title track of "Either/Or". Oddly enough, the last 2 tracks ("See You Later" and "Half Right") act as more of a fitting fond farewell than nearly all of FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL.
Like much of Smith's classic work, alot of the songs herein evoke a similar mood to that found on Nick Drake's PINK MOON. Comparison between Smith and Drake has never been much of a stretch though The Beatles have been cited as a major influence.
While somewhat underrated, BASEMENT felt a little stitched together and ghoulish but MOON organically captures Smith at the height of his powers. Though, there's nothing here that particlualy sheds any new light, Smith always excelled at leaving you wanting more. Well, here you go.
An essential glance back at what we all miss.