Figure 8

Figure 8

After hearing Elliott Smith's plaintive, stripped-down indie albums for years, Figure 8 came as somewhat of a shock to the singer-songwriter's legion of fans. Here was Smith, on a major label, still writing heartbreaking songs but cleanly produced and aided by a band that sounded steeped in the retro sounds of the Beatles and Zombies. A handful of tracks ("Somebody That I Used to Know," "Everything Reminds Me of Her," "Stupidity Tries") still sound like vintage Smith, while a few tracks seem to hint at a new chapter to his sonic world ("Wouldn't Mama Be Proud," "Can't Make a Sound"). Despite its diverse pop sounds, the songs are still as stunning and memorable as anything the late musician produced.

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