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Made with only a four-track recorder, Smith's first solo album introduced listeners to his melodic, acoustic style and whispery vocals.
Just one year later, Smith's second album comes out and builds on the promise of the first. Another Smith "hit" is the song "Needle in the Hay," which is a fan favorite and was used prominently in Wes Anderson's Oscar-nominated movie The Royal Tenenbaums.
Something of a breakthrough album for Smith, he for the first time introduces upbeat rock songs into his solo work. Four of the songs on this album were used in Good Will Hunting, and some fans and critics consider it his best.
Smith's first major-label output, the sound here is more lush and crisply recorded than any of his previous albums, but stays true to the level of songcraft in his other work.
A continuation of the larger and more intricate song arrangements found on XO, this album showcases Smith's continued growth as a pop music composer.
This is the album Smith was working on before his untimely death. There is some controversy surrounding From a Basement on a Hill, dealing with whether Smith may have wanted the record to sound rougher than the actual posthumous product does in this release. Still, most critics and fans offer praise for the album as worthy to be in Smith's catalogue.
Collected by Smith's early label Kill Rock Stars, the recordings on this record are from the years between 1994-97. If you like Elliott Smith or Either/Or, this is a good album for you. It also includes an early, bare-bones version of "Miss Misery" with different lyrics.