With some help from Johnny Walker Red
February 26, 2011 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Coverme (previously) tackles Elliott Smith's Either/Or in their Full Albums features.

Other Covers
Metric "Between the Bars"
Jumpp Clubb "Angeles"
Sad Kermit "Needle in the Hay"
Bright Eyes "The Biggest Lie"
Ben Folds "Say Yes"
Beck "Clementine"
Beck "Alameda" and "Ballad of Big Nothing" (at Smith's Wake)
Some Guy "Son of Sam"
Bad Astronaut "Needle in the Hay"
Bayside "Baby Britain"
Sexton Blake "Rose Parade"
Ringosteve21 "Son of Sam (Drum Cover)"
Audrye Sessions "Waltz #2"
My Vitriol "Bottle Up and Explode"
Christopher O'Riley "Everything Means Nothing To Me" ;"Oh Well Ok" ;"Independence Day"
Amy Briggs (arr. Christopher O'Riley) "Waltz #1"

Covering Himself, in a way
Elliott Smith ??? "Miss Misery"
Elliott Smith "Twilight"
Elliott Smith "Needle in the Hay"

Oscars (since it's that time of year)"Miss Misery"

Tributes written by other artists
Bright Eyes "Reinvent the Wheel"
Backseat Goodbye "Elliott Smith is Still Alive"
Rilo Kiley "Ripchord"
Rilo Kiley "It Just Is"
Ben Folds "Late"
Earlimart "Heaven Adores You"
Joan as Policewoman "We Don't Own It"
Pete Yorn "Bandstand in the Sky"

(previously, previously, previously)
posted by holdkris99 (22 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
posted by timshel at 8:21 AM on February 26, 2011

thanks for the supplements. i was actually kinda unimpressed with most the coverme treatments.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:41 AM on February 26, 2011

There was a great album released in 2008, To Elliot, From Portland, which featured Portland artists doing covers of Elliot Smith songs.

Eric Matthews cover of Needle in the Hay is one of my favorite.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Decemberists Clementine

Also, in reverse:
Elliot Smith Thirteen (Big Star)
posted by schmod at 9:03 AM on February 26, 2011

Emperor X Raytrancer ("Did you ever get sad on your bed late at night, crying listening to Either/Or?")
posted by schmod at 9:08 AM on February 26, 2011

Madeleine Peyroux's Between the Bars is my favorite ES cover.
Thanks for this.
posted by quiet coyote at 9:13 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by dr. moot at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2011

Again in reverse: Trouble, which I actually like better than the Cat Stevens original.
posted by Roman Graves at 10:15 AM on February 26, 2011

posted by JimmyJames at 10:20 AM on February 26, 2011

I love Say Yes and I like Ben Folds, but that cover, with all the hooting and talking, makes me cringe. This is a much better version of the same song recorded by Ben Folds.
posted by kate blank at 11:33 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I remember, back around 2000 or 2001, reading a misguided essay in the arts section of the New York Times that presented Elliott Smith as one of the era's best songwriters -- who shouldn't perform his own songs, because he wasn't a conventionally great singer. (Elvis Costello was described the same way; probably Dylan too.) (I just tried and failed to find it online, but I swear it's a real memory!)

Yet while I like a few Elliott covers -- like the ones by Beck and Madeleine Peyroux and even Sad Kermit -- most of them just make me want to listen to the originals. His performances of his own songs are so great and so personal; once you know them, it's hard to hear them any other way. Maybe someday performers will be able to make his songs their own, but I haven't heard many yet.
posted by lisa g at 11:55 AM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

this post at sweetaddy compiles several tributes to the man (I'm afraid some links may not work). Many are by anonymous fans, you might want to check them out. I specially like "I can't answer you anymore" on "no name #2", but every track shows the love and respect the fans had for Elliott and his music.
posted by valdesm at 12:34 PM on February 26, 2011

misguided essay in the arts section of the New York Times

I recall seeing that as well and will point out that the same was also said, and to some degree merited, about Harry Nilsson. Smith did in fact sign and work within a personal services contract for much of his career where he was paid as a songwriter, not as a recording artist. It's not that unusual though these days. Pete Yorn had that same type of arrangement, I know, and Conor Oberst as well (I thiink).
posted by holdkris99 at 1:01 PM on February 26, 2011

I tried not to put a lot of the To Elliott, From Portland covers in the post because I figured those who were interested would already be aware of it. For those who want some reading on Elliott I would skip Benjamin Nugent's Ballad of Big Nothing and check out XO by Matthew Lemay from the genius 33 1/3 series. Nugent's book has its place, I suppose, but he rushed to finish after Smith's death and was seen as exploitative by Smith's family, closest friends, and former band mates in his first group, Heatmeiser, none of which granted interviews for the book, which made for a kind of patchwork biography. 33 1/3rd's XO focuses on the writing and recording of the titular album and is cool because it goes through the various incarnations of the songs, particularly the lyrics, and has a great little piece on Wilco Drummer Glenn Kotchke. Smith did all of his own drumming on his recordings and Kotchke says he learned how to make his drum parts serve the song by listening to Smith's drumming. Anyone interested should definitely check it out.
posted by holdkris99 at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2011

Was Reinvent the Wheel about Elliot Smith? It wasn't released until 2007, and I wasn't under the impression that it'd been kicking around since before 2003, when Smith died. But the line "just hoping your alive," seems to rule it out. I always assumed that song was about a female artist too, for some reason.

I see a lot of talk online about it being about Smith, but did Oberst ever say that?
posted by es_de_bah at 1:31 PM on February 26, 2011

Another reverse one: Clouds by Quasi.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:58 PM on February 26, 2011

There are only 3 threads on MetaFilter with the ElliotSmith tag. This is a tragedy in and of itself.

The first was his obit thread in 2003. I don't think I've ever been affected by the death/suicide of a musician/celebrity, with the exception of Elliot Smith. So unbelievably sad.

posted by schmod at 3:58 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Elliott. <3

Aside from the tunes Ben Folds has covered, I typically (vastly) prefer his originals. I do love a good cover, though, and that Metric one in the links is gorgeous.
posted by mewithoutyou at 9:00 PM on February 26, 2011

agreed, the Metric cover is awesome. I also really like Smith's full band rock version of "Needle in the Hay" a lot.
posted by holdkris99 at 9:12 PM on February 26, 2011

Chococat did a great cover of Waltz #2 over at mefi music.
posted by umbĂș at 7:20 PM on February 27, 2011

Thanks, Roman Graves, for posting the link to the cover of Trouble. I can think of no other cover so tailored to Elliott, both musically and in terms of theme.
posted by umbĂș at 7:23 PM on February 27, 2011

Wow, chococat's cover is fantastic. Just different enough to be worth existing, but still capturing that essence that's missing from every Smith cover I've heard.
posted by flaterik at 11:10 PM on February 27, 2011

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