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4.6 out of 5 stars
30
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 January 2002
I have been an avid Elliott fan for the past 12 months, I am only sorry that I didn't get to know about this most amazing artist earlier. All of Elliotts albums are a masterpiece in their own way, with XO and Either/Or being my two personal favourites at the moment. XO takes you on a beautiful ride starting with the melodic 'Sweet Adeline' to the impeccable guitar picking in 'Pitseleh' then onto the instrumental peaks such as 'Bled White' and 'Amity' and finishing on a the fullfilling note of 'I Didn't Understand' where Elliott puts on an amazing acapella performance. I cannot say enough about this album, easily a favourite of all time and something that no good CD collection should be without. If you buy this then I guarantee it will only be a short while before you own all five Elliott albums.
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I enjoy all of my albums by Elliott Smith, a talented young man who passed away far too soon in 2003 at the age of 34, but his fourth studio album 'XO', the first to be released on a major label, was a real career highlight.

Beautifully played acoustic music with depressing themes and lyrics has always appealed to me, and this was Elliott's speciality. With this 1998 record, you have a full picture of his musical brilliance right at you're fingertips. It contains the catchy and somewhat mysterious in it's meaning 'Waltz #02 (XO)', which should have been a monster hit state side when it was released as a single, and other highlights with infectious hooks like 'Baby Britain', 'Bled White'. There are other, equally poetic songs which show clear evidence of this troubled man's depression such as 'Oh Well', 'Okay', and 'Pitseleh', which make 'XO' not only perhaps the happiest 'sounding' album (with regard to those tracks already mentioned) of Elliott's all too brief career with it's fuller, very Beatles-isque sound in places, but also the most sad. Either way, the man bared his soul on every record, knew how to write a great song, and left behind a fantastic legacy of work.

Very few artists have been able to convey the deepest of emotions like Elliott Smith, as a singer-songwriter, and guitar player could. If you haven't heard anything by him as of yet, then 'XO' is the perfect studio record to start off with. RIP Elliott, you truly were a one-man band, and a genius of you're time.
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on 18 November 2011
XO is probably the most beautiful, powerful, poetic, stunning, wonderful heartrending album it's ever been my pleasure/pain to experience.

This stands as one of the 4 or 5 albums that I can easily say has changed my life, I feel awed in it's presence.

When Ellliott Smith sings "I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow" on Waltz 2 (XO) my heart and being melt and the 'real' world fades away.

XO is love & heartbreak & passion & power in sounds.

This record has made my life a better thing to live.
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on 16 August 2001
Simply one of the best records I've ever heard. Songs such as 'tomorrow', 'waltz #1' and 'independence day' leave you with a sweet taste in your mouth...and a sweet sound in your ears. The most interesting and smooth melodies combine with a sound which has your heart pounding against the inside of your ribcage. If you like acoustic, melodic music...then don't miss Elliott...he writes some of the best tunes I've ever heard...and many of the are on this record! (for similar taste try other classic albums such as "The Doves - The Doves", "Turin Brakes - The Optimist LP", "Witness - Before The Calm" and any Belle and Sebastian).
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on 25 November 2005
the first elliott smith album i bought was "either/or"
and i thought that was fantstic then i invested in this classic "XO" and i was blown away i mean BLOWN AWAY AT HOW beautifully melodic and catchy his melodies and lyrics were and the lyrics are some of his best a great fantastic warming album which leaves a warm feeling inside after the album has finished and it doesn't go away for a couple of hours i can tell you i love this album so friggin much it's unbelieveble i haven't been blown away with an album like this since i bought mark lanegan's "bubblegum"
a classic masterpiece of art BUY BUY BUY IT now click add to basket and reep the genius of elliott smith "xo"
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on 1 February 2000
An astonishing album from an artist who has gone from strength to strength. The marriage of strings and Elliott's acoustic guitar is heavenly and his fragile vocals are deeply moving. The soul-bearing lyrics mean this is an album for people of a sensitive disposition only.
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on 23 May 2013
Elliot Smith doesn't get much (if at all) airplay these days and is a rarely covered artist. This album is one of his better efforts and a slight departure from his earlier solo work (he is actually a solo act but has a backing band here). The songs on this album are memorable, and you'll long be humming them after listening. I liked Waltz#2 and Sweet Adeline the most. The album, like a lot of Smiths work is lyrically dark but acoustic driven, compared to his earlier albums is better in terms of production. Acoustic musicians and buskers can do no wrong picking this up, it's the sort of album I'd recommend for you.
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on 23 June 2014
Elliott Smith is one of those befallen stars whose name is never mentioned in the same list as musical legends like John Lennon, Kurt Cobain or even Amy Winehouse (Jeff Buckley and Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers are also relatively ignored in that regard). Whilst Smith never achieved the level of fame and recognition that these artists did, he was a profound talent with an ear for heartfelt and sombre lyrics along with one of the most tormented male voices. From the mid 90s up until his death in 2003, Smith produced some of the best pieces of indie music to this day. His fourth studio album XO saw him develop the acoustic pop on Roman Candle, his self-titled 1995 album and Either/Or and delivered some of his best material yet. Opinion on what Smith's best album is is often debated but I personally have to go with XO for my personal preferences.

From the opening track 'Sweet Adeline', Smith opens up with a downbeat acoustic with suitably morose vocals before the song explodes fully into a harder refrain before quieting down toward the end. Tracks like 'Tomorrow Tomorrow' and 'Waltz #2' showcase Smith's more heart-rendering balladry. One the catchier side, 'Baby Britain' and 'Amity' are paced more like pop songs yet flow greatly with the rest of the album. 'Bled White' has the poppy vibe to it yet its lyrics retain the darker quality of Smith's songwriting. It's my favourite song on the album and one of Smith's best songs in his career. The second half of the album is slightly weaker than the first I will admit but songs like 'A Question Mark' and 'Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands' stand out greatly and then 'I Don't Understand' just closes the album with a very melancholy and reflective sound to it.

XO is a deeply emotional album from one of indie music's best and most underrated artists. Smith mixes in some great poppy vibes on some tracks as well as an edgy acoustic quality to more downbeat songs. The songs are some that I can deeply identify with and remain some of the best in his career. It's in my top 10 favourite albums of all time and a true classic.
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on 1 November 2008
I tend to describe this album as a cross between late Beatles meets Nick Drake and then I tend to add "forget that I said that just listen to it and enjoy it" because it is so much more than that! I aquired this album many years ago it was I think one of the last albums I bought of his.

I think its a fantastically produced studio album by an artist that made 5 very different albums. This was his forth album and the first in which he utilised the instruments of a full band. In some ways this album might be the best to start on if you are new to the artist....if you prefer pure stripped down accoustic material then check out one of his earlier albums possibly Either/Or may be a good starting point in that case.

If you like melodies, chord changes and catchy intelligent pop songs grounded with the lyrics of a singer songwriter then this is the album to buy, there is a healthy 60's influence as well. I can say without hesitation that this is a great album. Like all albums really worth hearing it will take a few listens....before you "get it". I've seen James Blunt mentioned here but with respect it really is very different to anything like that...."forget that I said that just listen to it and enjoy it".
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on 5 October 2012
Honestly, this album leaves me speechless at times with just how good it is. The arrangements are impeccable, layers of succulent melody, wonderful guitar playing and Elliott's intelligent, thoughtful lyrics riding over the top of some of the best songs I've ever heard in my life. Yes, his music is sad and his life was obviously a tragic one but he often spoke an uncomfortable truth and a lot of people don't want to face up to their own pain. Elliott tried to deal with it in song but in the end that wasn't enough.

It's hard to pick a stand out track. Personally I love 'Waltz #2','Pitseleh','Independence Day','Baby Britain','Oh well,okay' but to be honest there isn't a bad track on this album.

I only discovered Elliott's music about 4 months ago and have all his albums playing on rotation in my car non-stop. I think he's the best artist I've ever heard and it makes me immensely sad that he took his own life. Rest in Peace Elliott, you were a musical genius.
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