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Waltz #1 ( Elliott Smith Cover ) 08.25.09

This is one of the saddest, rawest, most haunting songs I know. And cinematically angry. I was turned onto Elliott Smith‘s music when the XO album came out in 1998. My friend Nobu loaned me some of his earlier albums, as he was a huge fan already. I couldn’t help but be a little disturbed by the emotional place Elliott Smith seemed to need to reside in that would bear him so many deep, introspective songs, but something in me also connected with that intensity.

The beauty of Waltz #1’s melody and dark arrangement is what got me hooked onto the song in the first place. As is usual with me, I wasn’t ready when the song first came out to absorb the meaning of the lyric. I’m older now. I get it.

The song has a high note at the beginning which is a challenge for me to hit at 43, but tough cookies, datz life. I broke an F# as I bellowed out the last word, but I just decided, what the hell, I don’t want to be in this dark place anymore, it’s too sad for me to sing the song, what with Smith offing himself and pissing off all his fans, not to mention I’m sure his friends and family. I wish he was around to continue to create, and I wish he had found his happiness, or found that thing we all need to fill the void.

I can do a much better job with this song. I just choose not to do it again for awhile. Sometimes songs touch too deep, and one needs distance from that. Besides, I have to go search for a new F# to hammer around with. 😉

I gave this song a go several times, this time singing it in the morning, instead of late at night. I broke a key hammer the first time I tried to record it. I seem to be able to get through it easier singing the song at this time of the day.

Elliott Smith wrote a masterpiece with this tune. It’s a late 90s standard and one that will live on, to be sure.

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