I remember it clearly. It was freshman year of college. My English professor walked in the room with a solemn look on his face. He seemed disappointed. Standing in front of the class, he told us that we had lost a great American poet. Elliot Smith was dead. I was devastated.
Smith's ghostly voice first caught my attention in the . It so beautifully painted the movie, almost as if Good Will Hunting soundtrackthe scenes and songs were written for one another. From there, I continued to delve in, and I was never let down.
A brilliant lyricist, it was perhaps Smith's haunting words that caught my professor's attention. We as humans do not always think in words. So much of our emotions are abstract, and yet we choose to filter thoughts through body language, and verbiage. And then there are those who are able to paint a different picture. Those who define a new color in the spectrum, who are brave enough to speak out the colors in our minds. In regards to his lyrics, Smith said, "The way I think about it is... I don't really think about it in terms of language, I think about it more like shapes."
In just a few short years, a somewhat tortured soul was able to channel himself into music that spoke to many. To this day, he remains a poet who felt so honestly close to home.