By RAIN, New Staff Writer
Nineteen years old, I had just finished my one year in the army, packing missiles into launchers all day long. I was lucky enough to score a job as a full time night shift-worker at a kiosk in a small town in Norway, life in general was pretty depressing. I had just woken up, and it was early in the evening. I had a few hours before my next shift would start at midnight. I put on Elliott Smith’s «Either/Or», sat down in the livingroom of our basement apartment with some food, and opened my laptop.
That combined with the news that popped up on my screen was pretty overwhelming. «Ballad Of Big Nothing» suddenly ended up being the soundtrack to the article about Elliott Smith’s death. It also was the only time a record would make me sob, it’s never happened before or after this. This also with the tragic fatal accident which killed three of the members of The Exploding Hearts fresh in mind, 2003 certainly was a tragic year.
No one I knew really cared for Elliott Smith or The Exploding Hearts, so to talk to someone about this wasn’t possible. I went to work, where one of Norway’s biggest radio stations always was on. This at this time meant a whole lot of Nickelback’s «Someday», Idol-Kurt’s «She’s So High» and Idol-David’s «Wild At Heart» – all the time. In other words not what you want to hear if your heartbroken by the loss of Elliott Smith. The world is a fucked up place, but come on – that’s just not okay. That being said, you never ever need Chad Kroeger to scream that someday, somehow, I’m gonna make it alright, but not right now. But most definitely not at that time.
It feels like the wrong place to repeat the uselessness of Nickelback, but it sure is an effective way to remind yourself how important and brilliant Elliott Smith was. «Either/Or» is without a doubt one of the greatest albums of all time, and thankfully he left us with a whole catalogue of excellent stuff on top of that as well. No one, and I mean no one, in the 90’s released that many classic albums. To pump out «Roman Candle», «Elliott Smith», «Either/Or» and «XO» in just under five years is just ridiculous.
Listening to Elliott Smith was at times too much to handle. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to be in his head.
That Elliott Smith would end up soundtracking his own death did however seem awfully obvious, almost like he would have planned it all along. I hope he finally found peace.