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Figure 8

Figure 8

April 11, 2000
4.3 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
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3:04
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2:09
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3:49
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2:37
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2:24
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3:14
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4:32
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4:23
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2:44
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10
3:25
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11
2:19
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12
5:04
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13
2:36
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14
3:35
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4:18
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1:53
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: April 11, 2000
  • Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Label: DreamWorks
  • Copyright: (C) 2000 SKG Music L.L.C.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 52:06
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000WLO01M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,960 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A lot of fans like to dog this album. I have a theory for why this is.
It's not that the album is bad, at all, but that it's not the Elliott that THEY want Elliott to be. They fell in love with the man behind either/or, or the self-titled, or (gasp) the barely audible Roman Candle. They swoon for the quietness, the starkness, the nakedness, bitterness, intimacy. They think "hi-fi" is a four-letter word, not to mention "production", and dare I even say it, "pop."
They were willing to accept XO as a temporary stray from the purity of their vision for his career. In their forgiving state of mind, the music was able to seep into their brains and they saw its brilliance. Hence, XO = good. And, surely Elliott will get back on track next time.
Figure 8 comes along and dashes their hopes. Their beloved tortured soulmate actually knows his way around modern expensive studio technology - AND HE LIKES IT!!! Traitor!
Man, I love E.S. and E/O as much as anyone. Love em. Love em love em love em. But I'm one of those who believe that Elliott broke through into an altogether new plane of genius with XO. And Figure 8 is absolutely a worthy continuation of the path he was on.
Put it this way - if I'm taking ten to the desert island, XO is in the bag for sure. Figure 8 will be really, really hard to leave out. The others, I'll miss a hell of a lot.
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Format: Audio CD
"Figure 8" sounds like what would have happened if Nick Drake had been asked to join The Beatles after Paul died in that horrible car accident. Elliott Smith's voice falls into the haunted, ethereal category currently helmed by Drake during his post-VW resurgence. And this album carries any number of Sgt. Pepper-like arabesques and musical pirouettes, all of which serve to nearly disguise the raw emotional content.
This is my introduction to Elliott Smith so I have no background in his earlier, less-lush work, and maybe I'm the better for it. ... since I have no basis of comparison, I'm prefectly free to get lost in the spider web of sound spun on "Figure 8". And, perhaps because I've recently had my heart broken, all the lyrics make sense instead of being maudlin or overwrought. I will, of course, reexamine this in a year or so when I feel better, but I have a feeling that this record will stand the test of time.
Standout tracks are the opener, "Son of Sam", a deceptively-jaunty song that sounds almost like Klaatu at a high-school carnival. "Everything Reminds me of Her" and "Everything Means Nothing to Me" are fraternal twins, each with a different sound, but inseperable - they should be played hand in hand in perpetuity. "Somebody that I used to Know" is heartbreakingly simple, deceptively upbeat and captures perfectly the sound of a man on the edge of regaining himself. The rest of the album is wonderful, but these are the tracks that pierced me.
I am grateful to the friend who introduced me to Elliott Smith and I can only hope that, if you buy "Figure 8" after reading this review, you will be grateful, too.
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Format: Audio CD
I truly believe that Elliott Smith will, in the next few years, release a record that will transcend genre and taste and be universally recognized, like "Revolver" or "Pet Sounds", as one of the greatest pop recordings ever issued. Yes, even greater than "Either/Or", which I still consider Elliott's greatest accomplishment to this point. "Figure 8" is not the future magnum opus of which I speak, but by any standard, even as a holding pattern it is a masterful record. "Figure 8" reconciles and has elements of the three stages of Elliott's career to this point: 1. the indie rock of his first band, Heatmiser; 2. the hushed, fragile, minimalist 4-track recordings that made his reputation; 3. the semi-famous pop troubadour making big-sounding records for a corporate record label. Elliott sounds much more comfortable in the big studio element than on "XO," and if "Figure 8" isn't as passionate and desperate as his earlier recordings, its comfortable feel enables the listener to simply sit back and enjoy Elliott's abilities as a songwriter, singer, and musician (he is an extremely underrated guitarist and piano player). The least compelling moments of "Figure 8" (in my opinion, "LA" and "I Better Be Quiet") still run rings around 98% of major-label rock. The best songs on "Figure 8" are jaw-dropping in their low-key excellence and sincerity. Some of the highlights: "Son of Sam": A stunner. It starts off quiet, then builds slowly on a solid backbeat and some glorious background "a-hhhhhha"s. And then the electric guitars kick in, and the song really takes off. Musically, it's truly inspiring.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Critics are falling all over themselves to praise this album. But for some reason, many long-time Elliott fans have many less than kind things to say about Figure 8. I consider myself a relatively long time fan of Elliott (I have all five of his albums), and I think I understand why many feel that this album is below par (although I steadfastly disagree with them as you'll realize by the end of this review). The first time I heard Figure 8, I thought it was great, but a great album for Elliott would, for me, be on the bottom of a list of exemplary albums that he has previously released. I loved the production though, and I knew if I gave it a chance I would love it equally as much if not more so than his other albums. I think this production that drew me closer to it, repelled many Elliott fans. People who adore Roman Candle and the s/t (of which I am one) may think this is "overproduced" and as a result, not as passionate. I am here to tell you why that is not true and why, track by track this may be Elliott's finest album to date.
1. Son of Sam - Fabulous, the piano gets me going every time (boy can Elliott play that thing). The melody is great (as usual) and have you ever enjoyed hearing about a serial killer so much?
2. Somebody That I Used to Know - Very early Elliott, and the one that people who don't like this album generally name this track as their favorite. Terrific, Elliott and a guitar and a great vertical melody.
3. Junk Bond Trader - OK, it took me a while to get into this one, I don't know why, it's a great track. I love the keyboard at the intro, and the bells throughout the track. Very Elliott lyrics (even though I don't know them all yet). I love the guitar as well.
4.
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