When he was found with a self-driven steak knife through his heart in 2003, Elliott Smith’s death was as shocking to many as that of Kurt Cobain almost a decade before. What this collection of songs from his mid-’90s creative purple patch shows is that few people in recent times have done sadness so exquisitely. With little more than a slight acoustic and his sepulchral, dawn chorus voice, Smith wrings songs of unbearable sadness and tenderness – what renders the beautiful, heartaching likes of ‘See
You Later’, ‘Seen How Things Are Hard’ and ‘All Cleaned Out’ even more overladen with sorrow is the knowledge of how it would all end up. A horrible end, to be sure, but this makes for a beautiful wake.