Listen to the Haunting Elliott Smith Rarity ‘True Love’
Another rare Elliott Smith track has emerged from the forthcoming Heaven Adores You documentary soundtrack.
A newly mixed version of “True Love,” which Smith recorded with Jon Brion in 2001, will appear on the album when it lands in stores on Feb. 5. In a statement, producer Kevin Moyer reveals the song evolved as Smith demoed it at Mark Flanagan’s Largo club in L.A.:
This was a song that Elliott would often demo and play after hours at Largo (an L.A. music club that he would frequent owned by friend Mark Flanagan), and also one of the last songs that Elliott ever performed there on Valentines Day in 2001. This was also around the time that Elliott and friend Jon Brion went into a small studio to record the track, partially as an attempt to help him get to focus on non-drug activity. I've heard I think two or three different versions of this song and the lyrics evolved and shifted from a love interest to a major drug interest instead. One of the versions seemed really scathing too, and I wondered if some of the references were about the intervention and the anger he had towards his friends. This version was recorded at Jon Brion's studio with Tom Biller & Jon engineering, and this is a new mix done by Larry Crane years later for use in the Heaven Adores You film.
I recall Elliott playing me early versions of songs - "True Love" had been brewing for a bit, other songs like "Stickman," "Memory Lane" and "Everything Means Nothing to Me" he would keep chipping away at. The first set of lyrics he wrote really impressed me, they were very personal and he told me he was self-conscious of releasing that version. I suggested he make it third person like Dylan did withBlood on the Tracks. "They sat together in the park" instead of "We sat together in the park." He deduced from that, he sucked in comparison to Dylan!! F---er knew he was good.
I also have a rough copy on cassette of him playing "True Love" on Valentine's Day... He performed it live at Largo in the middle of a comedy show in front of a stunned audience... and I remember being bummed that he had made the love song into a druggy song. That's where he was then. And as he was playing it live sitting on the floor, pretty much in the dark, I remember thinking that 'I hope this fella makes it through this hell.' I still miss the guy from before all that.
Listen to “True Love” at the top of the page, and then spin Smith’s solo version of his Heatmiser track “Plainclothes Man” -- which also appears on Heaven Adores You -- right here.