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June 19, 2024

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Elliott Smith
Happiness 7" (Cavity Search Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Every once in a while there is a singer-songwriter that completely blows my mind. One that took good notes when listening to his/her record collection, understands exactly what is going on musically in their head, and just flat out writes beautiful songs. Elliott Smith is one of these individuals. And, as a prelude to his forthcoming full-length on Dreamworks, Smith's first single, "Happiness," and an acoustic version of "Son of Sam," which finds the full band treatment on the full-length, is being released as a 7". Actually, at the time of reading this, it has already been released. So, you can waste your time reading the praise I'm going to give it or you can get on the phone, rush to your local music retailer, or do something to get a copy of this amazing single. Simply brilliant, but I will elaborate.

"Happiness" is a beautiful, highly infectious pop nugget that will make you wet. I'm not kidding. Smith's voice is sweet and delicate, confident and sincere, all on top of being mesmerizing, too. His lyrics are grabbing; he doesn't waste a word, let alone a syllable. He paints vivid pictures of the characters in his song, their emotions, and their environment. Proclaiming at the end, "All I want is happiness for you and me," Smith prevails with an upbeat, optimistic story that you hope ends in a happy ending for everyone involved. Following "Happiness" is a little instrumental ditty for you to chew on before once again being completely taken over by Smith's powerful music on "Son of Sam."

"Son of Sam" finds Smith delving into sorrow, yet heart-warming pop. With just his acoustic guitar and a dash of harmonica, Smith's tender voice leads while the guitar gently walks behind him sweeping the words out to your ears. Its simple nature shouldn't fool you. "Son of Sam" will still crawl inside your head and, along with "Happiness", ring for days on end while you hum and whistle to Smith's latest genius creations.

This 7" is quite the teaser. It gets you all revved up for new Elliott Smith, you listen to it over and over again, and though you're happy with these two new jewels, like any good addictive substance, you want more and more. And since the full-length won't be out until April, this will have to do you now, and you know that. So you listen again and again and yet again. That is the one drawback to listening to Elliott Smith, you just can't get enough. And you wouldn't have it any other way. I'll give it an A+.

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