Wednesday Morning Earworm – “Independence Day”, by Elliott Smith

In keeping with the A to Z Challenge this month, today’s earworm is “Independence Day” by Elliott Smith. Again, I did not want to change my regular Wednesday theme of posting the song that pops into my head the moment that I woke up, but I put a little forethought into this earworm for the sake of the challenge.

I have posted a lot of Elliott’s music on my blog–I mean a lot–like here, and here, and I have already used him as aWednesday Morning Earworm, so it should come as no surprise that I am posting more Elliott. It’s an Elliottpalooza around here!

He is one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, and his songs have always been the envy of mine. He writes such beautiful melodies that hearken back to The Beatles (especially George Harrison), Big Star, Tim Buckley, and Nick Drake. My songs go on too long like wannabe Grateful Dead, Neil Young, or Led Zeppelin songs, but Elliott had a natural knack for writing both simple and complex pop songs that rarely exceeded four minutes in length. I always wished that I could write like that.

Anyway, since today is brought to you by the letter “I”, the first song to pop into my head was “Independence Day”, from his brilliant fourth solo album, “XO.” I could list about 30 of Elliott’s songs as my “favorite”, but this is the indisputable champion of them all.

It’s an odd song, with no real hook, and a bizarre chord pattern written for an open “C” tuning on the guitar, and it warms my soul like no other. The lyrics make me think of someone recovering from some sort of loss, and knowing that they will come out of the crisis a new, beautiful, person.

Anyway, why blather on, when you can just listen to its beauty?

Here it is. I hope you enjoy. Happy Wednesday!

Oh, and to reinforce my creepy obsession with this song, I’ve decided to post both the original studio version and my favorite live version of him playing it solo. Pick one, or watch them both!

On this live video, the careful listener will catch Elliott responding to a heckler shouting out “Freebird!” with an almost inaudible, “fucking Freebird!”


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