November 2004By Comments

The tragedy of ELLIOTT SMITH’s 2003 suicide underscores every note of FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL (Anti). Smith made a trio of smart, overlooked indie releases prior to his Oscar-nominated song in the film Good Will Hunting, which launched the career of the Dallas-raised pop singer into the mainstream. Wrapping his frail voice around pained, beautiful melodies, Smith sang songs that weren’t confessional but obtuse. There are no clues here as to what went wrong, and this album, finished by friends, is not among his best work. Looking for ways out of his dreamlike, quiet mold, Smith ends up with disconnected, ill-fitting production. His overall vision may well have been leading to a grand, unexpected destination, but sadly, this version of From a Basement is the only road map this rare talent left behind.

Related Content