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Elliott Smith Hardcover – November 1, 2007
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About the Author
Beck Hansen has collaborated with de Wilde for many years, most recently on photographs and videos for his album The Information.
Chris Walla is a guitarist for the band Death Cab for Cutie and has worked as a producer with numerous bands.
Top Customer Reviews
I don't like that de Wilde chose to interview some people who didn't even know Elliott. I also felt that she related everything back to herself much too often. Several of her comments feel awkward and inappropriate, and I feel that they should have been edited out. For instance, there is one point in the book where she brings up another book she's working on in an interview (with Chris Walla I believe it was?). She says something about how it is her best work. Whether or not this is an attempt at humor, it is clumsy and trivial. Consequently, these conversational excursions prove incoherent and messy, subtracting from the overall focus of the book.
Another example of de Wilde focusing attention on herself is when she talks about how she could've had a romantic relationship with Elliott the first day she met him. Instead, she says she used sheer willpower and resisted the temptation. It seems like she doesn't think he could've refused her. The way she states her ideas sometimes suggests that she thinks very highly of herself.
Other than these points that I found irritating, the other interviews provided some good insights. I wish she had interviewed other people though (I would've preferred an interview with Elliott's parents or his brother). The book overlooks some major topics; only one sentence is dedicated to his stint in rehab while his self injury and previous flirtation with suicide are completely overlooked.Read more ›
Tougher than looking into the blue glarestare of Elliott Smith is working through the interviews. I agree that this is for the passionate fan--this is not a rough sketch of his biography, nor does it bank on his tragic tug-of-wars with self-destruction. It does not skimp on details, but what you'll be learning is Elliott's fondness for clowns, his antics as his sister's personal hairdresser, what he requests he sent up on napkins nights Jon Brion was playing, the bar fights (yes, bar fights) he got into, his guilty pleasure artists and songs. This is the story of a person, not a persona. And as such, it relates directly back to the people talking and how he touched them. There are interviews with old friends, girlfriends, and roommates as well as one particularly moving conversation with his younger sister. These interviews, though adoring through sincere love of who he was and what he did and how that was important to everyone on a wide-spread but still entirely personal and individual scale, are not grandiose praises of the tortured artist. They are documents of memories and insightful, self-aware human reactions to somebody that we used to know: I hate you for leaving, I love you for being.
In the opening conversation between Beck and Chris Walla, they talk about the appeal of a series of photos because they tell a story. Not just the decisive moment, the perfect photo, but the collection.Read more ›
But what is most understated in this being a "photo book" is that it contains some of the most personal and heartfelt interviews ever conducted about Elliott. Autumn was great at capturing the contrast between the depth and severity of Elliott's depression, and the less-covered joy and happiness that Elliott so often shared with and brought to his friends. The Jon Brion interview was particularly touching, as he talked about Elliott both as a musician and a friend.
It doesn't provide a breadth of new information, but the first-hand accounts from those who knew Elliott best are worth reading for any fan. It was enjoyable to see how one man's genius touched so many people in different ways.
Autumn's pictures are absolutely enchanting - she captures expressions and moods that would surprise those who think of Elliott Smith as a constantly brooding, somber outsider. Although he could certainly fit that description at times, these photos and anecdotes from his friends and loved ones show another side that even his throngs of adoring fans might not recognize.
The conversations included in the book were conducted with some of his closest acquaintances - former bandmates, ex-girlfriends, past room mates, friends he spent hours discussing and playing music with, etc. Their perspectives and personal stories really add a great deal of soul to a person who was already a very deep, soulful person.
Reading the book, it's clear that Elliott's fans aren't the only ones who adored him, and they certainly aren't the only ones who miss him. Where other account's of Smith's life have fallen short (not naming any names), this very generous book succeeds in its ability to bring fans into his circle of friends, even if just for a little while. Cumulatively, it offers fans a tremendously inviting and warm atmosphere, where there is much to be discovered.
Best of all, there are moments to be found here - whether its within one small detail from a friend or a brief smile in a particular photo - when it almost feels like he's back with us again. And that's probably the most ringing endorsement I can give this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those who are Elliott Smith fans, you've already got this book, no doubt!
For those who are new to Elliott Smith's music and just falling in love, this book will... Read more
This is a unique and very frustrating book. ES was a gifted songwriter who was just beginning to tap into his potential when his life ended tragically. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love love love this book, highly recommend it to any fan of Elliott Smith.Published 15 months ago by E. Mills
This is an interesting book if you really like Autumn de Wild or Elliot Smith. I like the former more than the latter. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Thurman
I would have loved you why did you leave do you need jhelp were you murdered may you rest in peace GOd is incontrolPublished on June 21, 2013 by viv
This has a lot to do with Elliotts feelings as he was sarting to get famous. Lots of his writings and lots of Pictures that are a bit heartbreaking. Read morePublished on May 25, 2013 by UglyMane