Elliott Smith Recordings To Appear On Thumbsucker Soundtrack

Published: 2005-08-25
Three songs from the late singer and songwriter Elliott Smith will be featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming film from director Mike Mills (not the REM dude). Entitled Thumbsucker and scheduled for release on September 16, the coming-of-age tale will feature the song "Let's Get Lost" from Smith's final album, as well as previously unreleased covers of Big Star's "Thirteen" and Cat Stevens' "Trouble".

Smith, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his song "Miss Misery" from 1997's Good Will Hunting, was approached by Mills a few years ago to score the film, the two eventually hitting upon the idea of recording an album's worth of cover songs for the movie. It was a plan decided upon only after Smith had emerged from an apparently drug-induced period of inactivity, during which time he and Mills had effectively lost contact.

"I gave the script to him, and then he dropped off the face of the earth", Mills told MTV News recently. "He went through his whole crazy time, but by the time I was done with the film, he was making From A Basement On A Hill (which was released posthumously last year) and I was shocked that he was actually making music".

Smith had also planned to record songs by Leonard Cohen and Neil Young, and was working on a version of John Lennon's "Isolation" when he died. His version of Stevens' "Trouble" was one of the final songs he ever recorded.

Traumatized by Smith's death, Mills found solace in the uplifting sounds of The Polyphonic Spree who stepped in and scored the remainder of the film. Mills, a former video director and graphic designer for such bands as Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys and Air (who immortalized him in song on last year's Talkie Walkie), found the Smith/Polyphonic Spree mix a surprisingly natural one.

"The Spree is a lot darker than people (think)", he said, "and Elliott was a lot more positive than most people associate him with being, and in a way they're both very Beatles-influenced, so it's all in a musical family."

The soundtrack to Thumbsucker will be released on September 13.

Writer: Neil McDonald

   

 

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