A song to keep us warm: “Alameda” by Elliott Smith (live)

Walk down Alameda,
brushing off the nightmares you wish
could plague me when I’m awake
So now you see your first mistake
was thinking that you could relate

That, ladies and gentlemen, is poetical perfection. And for Elliott Smith, that kind of accomplishment seemed to be achieved on an almost day-to-day basis, having written hundreds of songs of more or less the same lyrical (and musical) brilliance.

Even in a live setting, Elliott manages to preserve the raw half-smothered aggression of “Alameda” (released on the album Either/Or in 1997) while also successfuly converting its many layers to one voice and a single acoustic guitar without any perceptible loss in complexity. Along with the intimacy of the venue (described only as a “small club” by the uploader) and the rhythmic twitching of Elliott’s legs, this makes the video one of my favourite live clips on Youtube.


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