Elliott Smith: “Between the Bars”


Earlier in the week my little brother and I, channeling our excitement and egos at being reunited for the holidays with an energetic but perhaps not particularly deft guitar and vocal combo, decided we would subject our poor brethren to these dubious skills on Christmas. For reasons I’m not prepared to go into on a public forum (even though it’s one that nobody reads), Dave and I did not end up performing. This is a good thing because, between eating like a kid who just escaped from fat camp and drinking as much as I need to make spending time with the family tolerable, we didn’t have any time to practice our carefully selected set list, which contained literally not one song about the holidays. Oh, unless you include Chris Pureka’s “Momentary Thief” since the lyrics mention “holiday lights” at some point, but that follows another line about whiskey, so really the message, I don’t think, is a heartwarming one. We talked about throwing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on there for posterity’s sake, but neither of us could be bothered to figure it out, and then we realized that we didn’t care and embraced the depressing roster that accurately reflected our musical tastes.

Perhaps it’s for the best. Why mess with perfection? Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars” made it onto the list, and while Dave and I adore it, I’m not sure it would have launched Nana onto Christmas cloud nine. So this isn’t fitting or festive, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t good. And if you don’t know him already, there’s nothing I can tell you that hasn’t already been written, and written better, by someone else. Either Merry Christmas /Or Happy New Year. Take your pick.

Elliott Smith – Between the Bars

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