366 Songs 296: Satellite

There’s a rawness to all of the songs on Elliott Smith, his second (of six) albums, in part because of the recording process – the songs on the album are all self-recorded onto (I think) a six-track, and you can hear the amateur quality in the hiss that surrounds the entire thing, and is most audible as the song finishes. It’s there, too, in the lyrics, though: “And for all you know you’re the only one who finds it strange/When they call it a lover’s moon/The satellite,” as if you’re listening to outsider art made mumbling beauty. This is a wonderfully simple, wonderfully intimate song, so short and unstructured that it feels more like poetry put to music, a sketch of a feeling, rather than any kind of finished music. Like most of Smith’s earliest output, that briefness is a lot of the appeal to “Satellite”; the unrehearsed, unfinished quality that makes it easier to feel as if you’re seeing inside someone’s heart, whether it was true or otherwise.

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