But it’s a comedy of errors, you see

Today, August 6, happens to be the date Elliott Smith was born in 1969.

Here’s some more of my favorite moments in Elliott Smith songs. By which I mean: not necessarily the best lyrics (whatever that means to you) but just some of my favorite moments. Of course, some of them can’t be conveyed here, like that little throat-clearing at the beginning of “Say Yes” or the harmonica at the beginning of “Alphabet Town,” but that just means you’ll have to go and listen, doesn’t it?

What are your favorites?

When the socket’s not a shock enough
You little child, what makes you think you’re tough
When all the people you think you’re above
They all know what’s the matter
“Speed Trials”

Drink up baby, stay up all night
With the things you could do
You won’t but you might
The potential you’ll be that you’ll never see
The promises you’ll only make
Drink up with me now
And forget all about the pressure of days
Do what I say and I’ll make you okay
And drive them away
The images stuck in your head

The people you’ve been before
That you don’t want around anymore
They push and shove and won’t bend to your will
I’ll keep them still
“Between the Bars”

Don’t get upset about it
No not anymore
There’s nothing wrong that wasn’t wrong before
Had a second alone with a chance let pass
And everybody’s gone at last
“No Name No. 5”

They walk in a circle
Through all the sidewalk scenes they used to be a part of one time
Now everybody just stares and whispers
Driving around, up and down Division Street
I used to like it here
It just burns me out to remember
“Punch and Judy”

Don’t start me trying now
‘Cos I’m all over it
I could make you satisfied in everything you do
All your secret wishes could right now be coming true
And be forever with my poison arms around you
No one’s gonna fool around with us

It’s 2:45 in the morning
And I’m putting myself on warning
“2:45 a.m.”

I’m not uncomfortable, feeling weird
Lonely leered, options disappeared
But I know what to do
“Son of Sam”

It’s all now to you, there ain’t no before
Now that you’re big enough to run your own show
You’re just somebody that I used to know
“Somebody That I Used To Know”

I never really had a problem
Because of leaving
But everything reminds me of her
This evening
So if I seem a little out of it
Why should I lie?
“Everything Reminds Me of Her”

You’re just some dude with a stilted attitude that you learned from TV
You’ll undo
But I’ll be connecting everything
The traffic in my town
Riding high again, high on the sound
Everyone wants me to ride into the sun
But I ain’t gonna go down
“Color Bars”

You’ll take advantage ’til you think you’re being used
‘Cos without an enemy your anger gets confused
I got stuck on a side you know I never chose
But it’s all about taking the easy way out for you, I suppose
“Easy Way Out”

It’s a picture-perfect evening and I’m staring down the sun
Fully loaded, deaf and dumb and done
Waiting for sedation to disconnect my head
Or any situation where I’m better off than dead
“Sweet Adeline”

Now she’s done, and they’re calling someone
Such a familiar name
I’m so glad that my memory’s remote
‘Cause I’m doing just fine hour to hour, note to note
Here it is, the revenge to the tune
You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good
Can’t you tell that it’s well understood?
I’m never gonna know you now but I’m gonna love you anyhow

The first time I saw you, I knew it would never last
I’m not half what I wish I was

Everyone has gone
Home to oblivion
Home to oblivion
Home to oblivion
“No Name #3”

I know what you are
I just don’t like it
I won’t say you’re wrong
I know it’s what you want
And it’s what I want
So let’s go out
I’m ready to go out
I’ll show you around this alphabet town
“Alphabet Town”

Next door the tv’s flashing
Blue frames on the wall
It’s a comedy of errors, you see
It’s about taking a fall
To vanish into oblivion
Is easy to do
And I try to be but you know me
I come back when you want me to
Do you miss me miss misery
Like you say you do?
“Miss Misery”

But now I feel changed around
And instead of falling down
I’m standing up the morning after
Situations get fucked up and turned around sooner or later
I could be another fool or an exception to the rule
You tell me the morning after

Crooked spin can’t come to rest
I’m damaged bad at best
“Say Yes”


  • Sam Ligon Sam Ligon says:

    I love him too, and have so many favorite lyrics, like this from Last Call:

    You’re a crisis
    You’re an icicle
    You’re a tongueless talker
    You don’t care what you say
    You’re a jaywalker and you just walk away.

  • Katrina says:

    XO, Elliott.

    King’s Crossing gets me all misty-eyed every time I listen to it.

    The king’s crossing was the main attraction
    Dominos are falling in a chain reaction
    The scraping subject ruled by fear told me
    Whiskey works better than beer

    The judge is on vinyl, decisions are final
    And nobody gets a reprieve
    And every wave is tidal
    If you hang around
    You’re going to get wet

    I can’t prepare for death any more than I already have
    All you can do now is watch the shells
    The game looks easy, that’s why it sells
    Frustrated fireworks inside your head
    Are going to stand and deliver talk instead
    The method acting that pays my bills
    Keeps the fat man feeding in Beverly Hills
    I got a heavy metal mouth that hurls obscenity
    And I get my check from the trash treasury
    Because I took my own insides out

    And XO. God I love that album.

    I’m never gonna know you now
    But I’m gonna love you anyhow.

  • Danielle says:

    I had to change my Pandora station immediately after reading through these. So wish he was still around.

    • Melissa says:

      It’s funny- it’s almost impossible for me to separate the lyrics on the page from the music. Even as I was typing them and rereading them, I was hearing them sung as opposed to just seeing the lyrics. I’m glad you went straight to listening to them.

  • Cathie Smathie says:

    Because I’m doing just fine hour to hour
    note to note
    here it is, the revenge to the tune
    You’re no good, You’re no good,
    you’re no good, you’re no good
    Can’t you tell
    that it’s well understood?
    I’m never going to know you now
    But I’m gona love you anyhow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *