2 of 2 thought this review was well writtenRoman Candle
Elliott Smith is in my eyes the most important songwriter of the last decade. Every album in his discography is an essential own in my opinion. Roman Candle is no exception, being his first (solo) album itís a fantastic collection of heart-felt acoustic based lullabies. Elliottís falsetto voice and his haunting guitar lines create a one of kind musical experience that is very reminiscent of the late Nick Drake. After Roman Candle Elliott would go onto to receive international fame with his Academy Award-nominated song ďMiss Misery". Releasing such classic albums as ďEither/Or" and ďXO" Elliott was on the track to superstardom until his death in 2003. Circumstances surrounding his death are currently unknown but the popular opinion is suicide. Elliott Smithís last album ďFrom a Basement on A Hill" received extremely successful reviews and was a staple in many of 2004ís best album lists.
The first track of the album is one of the strongest. Based around the great chorus line of ďI want to hurt him/I want to give him pain/Iím a Roman Candle/My head is full of flame" this song would later go on to reflect the feelings of Elliott during most of his life. The thoughts of pain, abuse, and redemption are all eloquently spoke through this very haunting acoustic driven song. The mild electric guitar solo adds a stronger lucidness to the song. One of Elliottís finest.
This is a depressing song about a girlfriend dying in a car crash. The story according to Elliott is that he had a huge fight with his girlfriend about something stupid and petty, and she drove away upset, crashed her car and died. The song has a very simple feel but the message behind it ďenjoy it while you can" translates through so well. This is another great track and one of the most emotional Iíve heard.
No Name # 1
A great mix of drums and acoustic guitar makes this song a standout in the 4 No Names. This is a song written about the uncomfortable feelings of talking to a girl. Elliott tells the girl ďYou remind me of someoneís daughter" and is turned away. This is his response to that event in his life. The drums really add a great feel to this song and give it a good direction.
No Name # 2
This is one of the songs were Elliott experiments with Harmonic. I donít understand why he didnít name the song Killing Time, since thatís the main phrase in the song but still a title isnít everything. Like Tapeworm I wondered at Alphabet City I wonder why Elliott didnít incorporate a harmonica into more of his songs since it suits them so well. This song seems to be a reflection of the decision of somebody telling their spouse they are pregnant.
No Name # 3
The overlaid guitars in this track are just amazingly creepy. They fit the mood of the song so extremely well. I donít know exactly what this song is about, but it seems like it was just written about spending the day inside and being angst ridden. This track seems like something youíd see in a movie where it goes through a cast of characters and they are all very depressed and crying in separate scenes. Itís a beautiful, yet sad song that portrays
the feeling of loneliness extremely well.
Drive All Over Town
This is a simple song about being cheated on. The best part is the ending where Elliott emotional states ďAnd Iíll drive all over town". It really reflects what most people do during times of emotional panic and this song perfectly plays off of that. In my opinion the second best track of the album due to the subtle lyrics and guitar play that just make it extremely enjoyable.
No Name # 4
A fast paced song about Elliott and his mother leaving an abusive relationship with his stepfather. Starts to bring up the pace of the album for the next track while still maintaining the atmosphere of the other songs. ďBut you did wear cowboy boots" is such a great line and it really makes the song for me.
Wow, where did this come? The song starts off with a simple acoustic line and then breaks into an electric and loud song. It really throws off the slow pace of the earlier songs, but with No Name # 4 before it you are actually wanting there to be a loud and fast song, and Elliott doesnít disappoint. Throwing in metaphors about god, drinking, and broken relationship we get the finest track on the album. The line ďI wanted her to tell me that she would never wake me" seals it as being one of the best Elliott Smith songs as well.
Kiwi Maddog 20/20
A great instrumental ending that brings you back down to reality after the heavy hitting ďLast Call" The perfect closure to an album of acoustic tracks an electric guitar just echoes through a simple acoustic riff. The thoughts of what you have just heard pass through your brain as you realize the perfect album you just experienced.
Iím serious when I rate every song a 5/5. This is Elliottís finest work, and one of the best albumís Iíve heard. Whether you are depressed and need something to relate to, or just feel like kicking back and listening to something laidback this album will do it for you. It like many great albums isnít only music but rather an experience.