Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Song #404 of 9999 - Angeles by Elliott Smith

Song #404 of 9999 

Title: Angeles
Artist: Elliott Smith
Year: 1997 
Album: Either/Or

I first heard Elliott Smith in a movie theater. Gus Van Sant worked several of Smith's songs into his Oscar-winning film Good Will Hunting. "Miss Misery," written just for the film, received a lot of the attention (it was nominated for Best Original Song), but it was the song "Angeles" that stuck with me as I left the theater. The song plays over a scene in which Minnie Driver's character (Skylar) tells Matt Damon (as Will) that she loves him and Will responds with "you take care." The character detaches himself from every situation and person who can help him overcome the emotional pain he is feeling. And there's Elliott Smith, narrating the scene in a voice that seems to suggest he's been where Will is heading and beyond.

Van Sant doesn't just play a clip of the song, he plays the entire song. I left the theater feeling like I had just won the lottery. Yeah, the film was great, but it was the soundtrack I wanted and I bought it the very next day. And Either/Or soon afterward. It's still unlike any record I've ever heard and sadly, will probably ever hear again. Spare, raw, and beautiful.

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