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From a Basement on the Hill
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  • Elliott Smith's death in 2003 left a cavernous hole in the world of popular music. Tender, intimate, and painfully honest, the songs in Smith's catalogue capture the fragility of human existence with rare, breathtaking beauty. On his first posthumous release, Smith reaffirms his status as an extraordinarily gifted artist, giving fans yet another reason to mourn his tragic loss.
  • Conceived as an ambitious double album, FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL was ultimately narrowed down to 15 tracks by Smith's close friends, producer Rob Schnapf (Beck's MELLOW GOLD, Smith's X/O) and musician Joanna Bolme (the Minders, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks). The result is a heartbreaking collection of songs that plays like a retrospective of Smith's entire career. "Strung Out Again" reflects the early edge of ROMAN CANDLE; "Last Hour" recalls the bittersweet melodies of ELLIOTT SMITH; "A Fond Farewell" is a sad anthem in the tradition of EITHER/OR; "Shooting Star" employs the more polished sound of X/O; and "Don't Go Down" is an extension of the more electrified FIGURE 8. Of course, the most haunting aspect of FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL is the lyrical content, which is impossible to hear without placing it in the context of Smith's untimely passing.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.98) - 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - "This is an album about the seductions of oblivion...Smith teases extraordinary wit and warmth from songs that float lazily toward happiness."

Rolling Stone (p.151) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[A] gripping trip to oblivion, sparkling with barbed wit and elegantly tangled guitars."

Spin (pp.105-6) - "Smith's intentions cry out from the album's every discordant corner - he clearly wanted to test himself, to unhinge parts of his sound....In the music, in these songs, the guy's still with us." - Grade: A-

Spin (p.67) - Ranked #6 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "BASEMENT feels monumentally final..."

Entertainment Weekly (pp.92-3) - "The record is strong and radiant..." - Grade: A-

Uncut (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[He] was great....Here are 15 more reasons not to forget Elliott Smith's harrowing sadness - and his singular musical intelligence."

Uncut (p.75) - Ranked #8 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "[T]he songs are variously full of hope, frustration and weary resignation..."

Alternative Press (p.150) - 5 out of 5 - "[E]very track on BASEMENT is a highlight."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 - "As ever, his chord changes and arrangements betray an inventiveness seemingly borne of brilliant instinct."

Pitchfork (Website) - "[I]t's the most complete document we have of the music he was hearing in his head those final years."
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