As you may already be aware, Kill Rock Stars plans to re-release Roman Candle and From A Basement on a Hill on vinyl (it'll be the first time Roman Candle's been released on vinyl in the States), and in anticipation of that event, has offered up an unreleased Elliott Smith song, "Cecilia/Amanda," for download. Once you listen to it, you'll see why it was never released: because it's too busy in the same way a painting or a shirt can be too busy. I actually paused the song twice to check and make sure some random pop-up wasn't playing its own dopey music and interfering with my listening experience. Don't get me wrong -- the song is not bad, but compared to the Elliott Smith we're used to, it just doesn't quite measure up.
Which is why I think it's kinda shitty that, whenever a very talented and beloved artist dies, the general course of action is to try and unearth every last possible scrap of any project that person might have been working on and subsequently release it, complete or not, for mass consumption. Sometimes, this brings us art that we can't imagine living without (see: Emily Dickinson) but more often than not, those things -- whether they be songs, paintings or poems -- were left on the cutting room floor for a reason. We have no way of knowing whether this was the case, but I humbly propose that if "Ceclia/Amanda" never made it onto any albums, it's probably because Elliott Smith didn't think it was ready to release. Still, I can't begrudge the label -- or anyone else -- for wanting to offer the world just one more little piece of a man whose music was so very important to so many people. Because in the six years since he passed, I haven't encountered a single songwriter who's affected me quite like he has. And I'm not sure I ever will.