Announcing Vol 63: Elliott Smith’s XO

I’m very pleased to let people know that Matthew LeMay’s intricate and fascinating study of Elliott Smith’s XO album has now been published in North America.

From the back cover copy:

The name “Elliott Smith” conjures images of a sad, powerless, and drug-addled coffeehouse troubadour. But Smith’s 1998 major-label debut XO is a musically intricate and lyrically bold rejection of this archetype. How and why did Smith come to be considered the consummate “sad sack,” even as his music explicitly countered this construct? Tracing numerous early demo and live recordings of the songs that became XO, Matt LeMay deconstructs the remarkable creative process behind a fully realized masterpiece and examines the tension between Elliott Smith’s work and his popular image.

And here’s Smith on Jools Holland’s BBC show in 1999, performing “Waltz #2” from the album:


  1. thats my all time favorite elliott smith record! i think baby britain is the only song in the world that actually takes me out of a sad sack mood, so i am on your side.

  2. At least one song from that album (mostly Baby Britain, though) has been in my head at some point just about weekly since 1999. And that includes year-plus periods when I didn’t even listen to it.

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