julien baker ballad big nothing

While things are in the process of changing around here, I came upon this incredible cover of an Elliott Smith song, and had to share. Obviously, the image for this series has always been a picture from the Elliott Smith memorial wall, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared one of his songs as a part of this, because I’d already wrote about him¬†way back when I started the blog, and because I tend to hate it when people cover artists like Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan as they are on the untouchable list.

But – “Ballad of Big Nothing” was always one of Elliott’s songs that I never loved quite as much as the rest for some reason. And when I heard this version, I realized it is the kind of cover that brings something great to the song, rather than just replacing his vocals with vocals I’ll usually care less about.

The way Baker – who was literally only 8 years old when he died – slowed the melody down and stripped away some of the extra elements Elliott had brought into his work in the last couple albums really, really works – and allows the brilliance of his lyrics to shine through even more. I think she managed to make it sound almost uplifting in its declarations, whereas Elliott sounded somewhere between angry and not giving a shit on this one.

Apparently this tribute album will be released on October 14th 2016, and also features covers from J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Amanda Palmer, Juliana Hatfield and Yuck, so I’m putting away my hatred of people messing with his work because these are the right artists to take on such a challenge.

Lisa