Monday, June 6, 2011

A song a day: Elliott Smith - Son of Sam

I think it would be predictable to pick one of those acoustic torch songs that Elliott Smith did so well but I didn’t choose this song to be wantonly unpredictable - I love Son of Sam. It’s this odd melange of styles – sweet guitar lines, honky tonk piano, soaring backing vocals and slightly threatening lyrics (unsurprising, given the serial killer subject matter). But what gets me every time is at the 1:40 mark where Smith unleashes a guitar tone best described as apocalyptic. Given the rolling beauty of everything before it, this 11-second solo that simply mimics the vocal melody roars and drags the song onto a higher plateau. We can all sit around and play Miss Misery until the xanax kicks in, or we can explore Smith’s true dark side as a sinister rock God.


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