- Personnel includes: Elliott Smith (vocals, guitar); Sam Coomes (bass); Joey Waronker, Pete Thomas (drums); Brion Smith (background vocals).
- Producers: Tom Rothrock, Rob Schnapf, Elliott Smith.
- Recorded at Abbey Road, London, England and Sunset Sound & Sonora Studios, Los Angeles, California.
- On his first record since his Oscar nomination courtesy director Gus Van Zandt's use of his music in the film "Good Will Hunting," Elliott Smith returns with another album's worth of gorgeous misery. Like Nick Drake before him, Smith has the ability to conjure beautifully poignant pathos, wrapping it in an elaborately arranged package worthy of a George Martin or Brian Wilson. Working with Beck/Foo Fighters producer Rob Schnapf, Smith uses Abbey Road Studios for some of these sessions, dressing up his tortured lyrics with orchestral arrangements that avoid any hint of mawkishness.
- Whether mourning a busted-up romance in "Everything Reminds Me Of Her," shying away from love on "In the Lost and Found (Honky Bach)," or burrowing into their own isolation with "Can't Make A Sound," Smith's angelic vocals and harmonies recall CSN before their creative meter ran out. Elsewhere, this talented singer-songwriter employs the Beatles-esque "LA" as a conduit for observations about his new hometown, while sweet indignation directed at corporate fat cats is the driving emotion behind "Wouldn't Mama Be Proud?"
Rolling Stone (1/4/01, p.116) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Top 50 Albums of 2000".
Rolling Stone (4/27/00, p.69) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Exquisite purity and commitment...providing ruthless, sad-eyed insight swathed in melodies that the Beatles would not disown..."
Spin (5/00, pp.153-4) - 7 out of 10 - "...he's a melody Jesus made flesh....What's powerful is how much artifice he spins to generate indie pathos here on his newer, larger stage....the open love songs are the sweetest moments..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/21/00, pp.74-5) - "...Smith surrounds his pasty-skinned voice with saloon pianos, polite garage-band bashings, crisp jangles, and dark-castle chamber pop....straddling the line between fragility and triviality....[It] works as innocuous background music..." - Rating: B-
Q (1/01, p.94) - Included in Q's "50 Best Albums of 2000".
Q (5/00, p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Downbeat, slightly skewed lyrical [perspectives] conveyed with the sweetest of melodies..."
Alternative Press (5/00, p.103) - 3 out of 5 - "...Smith is a formidable songwriter, and nothing on FIGURE 8 diminishes the fact....He can transform an apartment into a mansion."
Magnet (1-2/01, p.45) - Included in Magnet's "20 Best Albums of 2000".
Magnet (6-7/00, p.94) - "...A bounty of increasingly complex melodies better suited to the orchestra pit than the coffee house....may be the geometric equivalent of retracing your steps, but it's also symbolic of the infinite future....endearing songs that will stand the test of time."
CMJ (4/17/00, p.3) - "...Quiet, acoustic guitar- and solo piano-based tunes and expertly crafted rock songs slide along the lavish pop tracks...a diary of sharp introspection and biting personal reflection....Exquisite..."
Melody Maker (4/18/00, p.48) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Delicate, sensitive, tune-toasted, almost 'British' pop music that straddles the divide between Teenage Fanclub, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and the theme from 'Cheers'....16 songs that unfurl choruses like flaming peacock tails..."
No Depression (5-6/00, pp.115-6) - "...A moody pop visionary a la Brian Wilson....there's something here for fans of each stage of [his] career..."
Mojo (Publisher) (5/00, p.105) - "...[A] relentlessly engaging album....Smith blends the elliptical and the direct, the ebullient and the winsome, with the touch of a master."
NME (Magazine) (12/30/00, p.78) - Ranked #17 in NME's "Top 50 Albums Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) (4/15/00, p.32) - 8 out of 10 - "...Smith's finest effort to date....[His] focus swells from the strictly personal to encompass more adventurous vistas..."