Saturday, December 11, 2010

Elliott Smith - "Needle in the Hay" from the Album Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith self-titled CD cover
Just another workaday peon, that's me, another schmuck living a life constructed around sensible decisions, going to bed by 11:00 PM, so he can wake up by 7:00 and sit in rush hour traffic for 70 minutes, doing it over and over and over again, exchanging his life for a paycheck to exchange for a mortgage for what.

So as a person who has spent the majority of his adult life habitually fleeing from risk, and forever requiring of myself a moderation in indulgence, in behavior, in emotion, I have no idea at all how someone can become the vessel that a song like "Needle in the Hay" is poured from.

How is it that a man can be so stark and so desolate, how can he give himself so much over to the cold emptiness in constructing and conveying something so paradoxically beautiful?

When I hear Elliott Smith's music, when I hear the music of those like him, like Nick Drake, and Skip Spence and Syd Barrett, I don't think so much of fragility as I do of elasticity.

When I hear "Needle in the Hay" and think of Elliott Smith's life, I consider how we're all rubber bands, designed to expand and contract within reason, within the limits of our coefficients of expansion and retraction, never getting too crazy, never getting too melancholy, except for our artists and our insane, who stretch past the sensible limits habitually, in their ecstatic paroxysms and in their torturous depressions, and their band gets degraded, then they just snap.

File under: Live Fast Die Young

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