XO (album)

XO
Studio album by Elliott Smith
Released August 25, 1998
Recorded 1997–1998 at Sunset Sound Recorders, The Sound Factory, Ocean Way Recording, and Sonora Recorders in Los Angeles, California except for "Amity" recorded at Jackpot! Studios in Portland, Oregon
Genre Indie rock
Length 44:46
Label DreamWorks Records
Producer Tom Rothrock
Rob Schnapf
Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith chronology
Either/Or
(1997)
XO
(1998)
Figure 8
(2000)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
BBC (very positive) [2]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10) [3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [4]
Spin 10/10 stars [5]

XO is the name of the fourth album recorded by American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. Smith's first work on a major label, it was released by DreamWorks Records on August 25, 1998. Bong Load Custom Records released it on vinyl LP, which has since gone out of print. Vinyl copies of XO remained rare until a re-release by Plain Records in 2008. The album is also available as digital download.

The singles from XO were "Waltz #2 (XO)" and "Baby Britain". An early working title for the album was Grand Mal. Smith recorded numerous songs during the XO sessions that did not make it to the album.

Spin magazine included XO on their list of the best albums of the last 25 years, ranking it at No. 90.[6] Writers at pitchfork.com placed the album at No. 23 (1st edition, 1999) and No. 68 (2nd edition, 2003) on their lists of favorite albums from the 90s.[7] The album was placed at #5 on the 1998 "Pazz and Jop" poll. [1] Matthew LeMay has written a book about XO as part of the 33⅓ series, released on April 6, 2009 by the Continuum International Publishing Group.

Contents

Track listing

All songs written by Elliott Smith.

  1. "Sweet Adeline" – 3:15
  2. "Tomorrow Tomorrow" – 3:07
  3. "Waltz #2 (XO)" – 4:40
  4. "Baby Britain" – 3:13
  5. "Pitseleh" – 3:22
  6. "Independence Day" – 3:04
  7. "Bled White" – 3:22
  8. "Waltz #1" – 3:22
  9. "Amity" – 2:20
  10. "Oh Well, Okay" – 2:33
  11. "Bottle Up and Explode!" – 2:58
  12. "A Question Mark" – 2:41
  13. "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" – 4:25
  14. "I Didn't Understand" – 2:17

Available on CD, cassette and LP. A DreamWorks release.

Recorded at Sunset Sound, The Sound Factory, Ocean Way and Sonora Recorders, Los Angeles, CA, except "Baby Britain" and "Amity" which were recorded at Jackpot! Studios, Portland, OR.

Strings and horns arranged by Elliott Smith with Tom Halm and Shelly Berg.

Sleeve by Johnson and Wolverton, Portland, OR. Photographs by Eric Matthies.

Trivia

The title of the first track, "Sweet Adeline", was inspired by Smith's recollections of his grandmother singing in her glee club, Sweet Adelines International.[8]

"Amity" was named after a friend who can be seen in photographs from Smith's 1997 tour.[9]

RJD2 sampled "I Didn't Understand" for the song "Ghostwriter" on his album Deadringer.

Musicians

Outtakes, B-sides, and non-album tracks

The following tracks were recorded during the XO sessions but ultimately did not make the album:

Officially released

  • "Miss Misery" - Featured on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack.
  • "Our Thing" - Featured on the "Waltz #2 (XO)" single. According to Larry Crane, "I'm pretty sure Quasi backs him on this."[10]
  • "Division Day / No Name #6" - Released as a single in 1998.
  • "Waltz #1" (Demo) - According to Larry Crane, "the version released is same as the Jackpot! demos version. There were no rough or final mixes, just the one! Never titled 'I Wish'! It did have a temp title as 'Bushmills'!"[10]

Posthumously released

  • "First Timer" - Featured on New Moon (later renamed and re-recorded as "From a Poisoned Well").
  • "Miss Misery" (early version) - Featured on New Moon.
  • "Cecilia/Amanda" (Jackpot! version) - Released by Kill Rock Stars as a free download on occasion of Roman Candle and From a Basement on a Hill being added to their catalog on April 6, 2010. Recorded at Jackpot! Recording Studio in 1997 by Larry Crane. An earlier version of this song was initially written and recorded by Elliott's high school band, Stranger Than Fiction, and was known as "Time is Ours Now". "Cecilia/Amanda" is a reworking of that song with almost completely different lyrics.

Unofficially released

  • "A Silver Chain" - instrumental version; no vocals were ever recorded on the master from Jackpot!, although the song was played live with vocals.
  • "A Question Mark" - alternate instrumental version.
  • "Bled White" - alternate version.
  • "Brand New Game" – the process of recording this song at Jackpot! Studios after XO was recorded can be seen briefly in Strange Parallel. This song would be attempted again during the Figure 8 and From a Basement on the Hill sessions.
  • "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" - alternate version.
  • "Division Day" - alternate version.
  • "I Didn't Understand" - alternate version.
  • "Taking a Fall"
  • "Instrumental No. 2 (Waltz)"
  • "Grand Mal" (two versions appear to have been recorded; at the end of this surfaced version, Smith comments that it is too fast)

Unreleased

  • "Cecilia/Amanda" (XO version) - The XO sessions version of this song remains unreleased.
  • "Rock #1" (may be a working title for another XO-era song)
  • "Echo Park" (mentioned in Autumn DeWilde's Elliott Smith book)
  • "Grand Mal" (two versions appear to have been recorded; the reel of this recording has "slow version" written on it)
  • "Piano Thing" (may be a working title for another XO-era song)
  • "Sweet Adeline" - alternate version, featuring Paul Pulvirenti on drums. According to Larry Crane: "As far as we know, it has no vocals. It's on the same reel as 'Baby Britain', which is Interscope's property."
  • "Tom's Start" (also known as "Back in the Day") - Later renamed as "Happiness" (with added instrumentation and tracking), which was included on Smith's next album, Figure 8.
  • "True Believer" - instrumental

References


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