Needle in the Hay

A depressing song from a depressing songwriter. Elliott Smith frequently wrote about addiction and despair, being an alcoholic and drug addict himself. But he did so in a disarmingly charming style. Such is the balance of hummable charm and blackest ennui that this song can best be summed up as ‘exactly the perfect sort of tune to score a suicide scene in a Wes Anderson movie’. Which, to Smith’s chagrin, is exactly what happened when Anderson used the song in The Royal Tenenbaums to score a suicide scene. Perhaps Smith found it was in poor taste… and in hindsight, it’s a bit disturbing, given that the singer may have committed suicide himself. Yet, I think it’s a good match, a contrast of dark and bright that fits.

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