Listen to ABUSED (DEMO VERSION) by Elliott Smith.
Listen to ABUSED (INSTRUMENTAL) by Elliott Smith.
I've always thought your lyrics were, not necessarily cryptic, but enigmatic. You build your own pictures out of the fragments... There are more direct, more emotionally clear moments on [Figure 8] than on any of its predecessors... Are you aware of that? I'm thinking of songs like 'Everything Reminds Me Of You'.
Yeah, there's a few songs that are pretty direct. If the whole record was like that it would really get on my nerves, and if the whole record was really impressionistic, fragmentary, dream-like songs that wouldn't be so great either. I like to have as many different songs as possible, and as many different emotions in the same song as possible. I don't really try to do anything, but maybe that is my goal.
Figure 8 seems to pull away from the direct autobiographical approach Smith has taken in the past. Where Either/Or [his last indie release] was deeply personal, Figure 8 seems universal in subject matter and written specifically for a wider audience. Curious if this was a way to dodge the press' bullets, I ask Smith if he went into writing this album to finally shake the assumption that all his songs are autobiographical?
"I probably did," Smith says with disappointment, as if this was crossing his mind for the first time. "I could feel myself doing it and didn't want to. I don't want to do anything because of the media, but I couldn't help it. You have to change to keep from getting boring. I don't know, I probably did it."
Still struggling with this idea, he thinks about it and offers more. "I might have, I'm not really sure. I hope not. Some of it was bound to sound like that for me to make a change. And that is one way to go. But I hope it wasn't a reactionary record on how people perceived me. It probably was though to a certain extent."
He thinks about the question a bit more carefully and then gives another reason why the record came out the way it did. "Some of it is also the more I make up songs, the less I care if it has that much to do with me. I'm more interested in my imagination and what I can come up with regardless if it's autobiographical or not."
Photo: All is forgiven (7).