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Figure 8

3.9 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 18, 2000
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Elliott Smith Figure 8 UK CD album

Amazon.com

The story of Elliott Smith is well known now: Shy and reclusive indie rocker soars to a Hollywood soundstage and major-label contract. His fans gasped in collective horror when he took a bow at the 1998 Oscars, his hand clasped by Celine Dion. He seemed far too fragile to survive among the sharks and vultures on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. But as his subsequent albums XO and now Figure 8 show, Smith has weathered the spotlight successfully and is moving ahead with self-assured grace. The beauty of Figure 8 is that it encompasses Smith's musical virtues, from the stark and wispy tunes of his lo-fi beginnings on Roman Candle to the orchestrated, Beatlesesque pomp and circumstance of later work to the intimate and sometimes painful nature of his live shows. Figure 8's opener, "Son of Sam," is as good as anything Smith has ever crafted, its soaring melody buoyed with lush instrumentation and a tin-pan-alley piano romp. "Happiness" is vintage Smith, its lyrics belying the title. But best of all are "Everything Reminds Me of Her" and "Everything Means Nothing to Me," which capture the dichotomies of Smith's music. The first is a lovely, delicate little tune--just Smith's wavering voice, a plucked guitar, and the plaintive lyrics of unabashed longing. The second is a layered soundscape, heavily produced, with washes of music covering a repeated lyrical line. One is direct, naked, and honest; the other is slippery, distant, and rational. These are the yin and yang of Smith's music, and it's the friction between the two--or, more accurately, the wreckage from one obdurate truth bashing up against the other--that makes Figure 8 resonate with such devastating power. --Tod Nelson

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Product details

  • Audio CD (April 18, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B00004S6GL
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,416 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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