They come here alone and they leave in twos
Except for you and me who just came to use
If you’re all done like you said you’d be
What are you doing hanging out with me

Why you tell me stuff that’s so plainly untrue
If you’ll be straight with me, I’ll be straighter with you
If you’re all done like you said you’d be
What are you doing hanging out with me

I’ve been wanting to do anything for a long time
But whatever you got right now will probably suit me fine
If you’re all done like you said you’d be
What are you doing hanging out with me”

– “Whatever (Folk Song in C)”
Eliott Smith

For someone who is as much of an idealist as I am, I surprisingly gravitate towards things that are gritty and real. I enjoy watching “Intervention,” because half the time it feels good to root for someone who deserves a second chance at life and the other half, you are reminded how messed up and truly selfish people can be. I mostly read memoirs – the stranger your story, the more epic your struggle, the more likely I am to be compelled.

I’ve always enjoyed music that lands on the darker end of the spectrum. I am amazed by what songwriters can convey in lyrics, be it love, lost love or emotional pain. I constantly try to interpret songs to figure out what that person was thinking when s/he penned the lyrics to a song.

The song above is by Elliott Smith, who wrote a litany of dark and depressing (yet hauntingly beautiful) songs. Aside from the song posted above, another favorite of mine by him is “Say Yes.” His songs are raw, emotional, honest, and in most cases, painful. I was looking online for an interpretation of “Whatever,” when I stumbled upon this blog.

I’m not sure why it resonated with me. As the writer said, “To me, the songs were dark but beautiful, haunting yet comforting, stark and lush at the same time.” I couldn’t agree more. But she was given the opportunity to find out why, to dig deeper. And to learn that sometimes, understanding someone’s pain can take away the beauty. Make it too hard to listen to it and less beautiful.

The ending of this blog says it simply – “They say you should never meet your idols. Nor should you get too intimate with their demons. Today, I can’t separate the songs from the story. Each one is a reminder of how cruel life can be — allowing someone like him, someone with that much talent and heart, to suffer through so much pain for so long.”

Rest in peace, Elliott Smith, and all the poets who suffer from pain for which there is no fix.

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