Frank LaRosa

Kill Rock Stars is releasing remastered versions of the bookends of the Elliott Smith catalog: 1994’s Roman Candle and 2004’s posthumous release, From a Basement on the Hill. Two songs were released on the Kill Rock Stars site yesterday, “Last Call” and “Twilight.”

“Last Call” could be one of the most powerful songs ever written. The depth of the story, the twists and turns the character makes in it, and the musical shifts from one section to the next within the song, make it complex and dynamic– much like Smith himself. The lyrics can tie you up and leave you tongue tied.

“You’re a crisis, you’re an icicle. You’re a tongueless talker you don’t care what you say, you’re a jaywalker and you just, you just walk away and that’s all that you do.”

And Smith, the longtime feminist, even weaves what’s interpreted as God’s identity into this complicated tale:

“I’ll go to the service, and I’ll go to pray. And i’ll sing the praises of my maker’s name like I was as good as she made me. And I wanted her to tell me that she would never wake me….(repeat)…I’m lying here waiting for sleep to over take me.”

This song was different from the rest of Roman Candle, a decidedly lo-fi affair consisting of mainly acoustic numbers with No Names. “Last Call” is a monster.

The albums were remastered by longtime Smith friend and engineer, Larry Crane of Jackpot! studios in Portland and Tape Op Magazine. The sound is incredible.

Elliott Smith: Last Call (remastered)