• Record Label: Anti
  • Release Date: Oct 19, 2004
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 104

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  1. JeromeH
    Oct 18, 2004
    5
    This album is really not very good. It doesn't compare well with his older work, which wasn't all that great to begin with (in my opinion). I can guarantee you if Smith was still alive, the metacritic rating would drop 12-15 points. Dead musicians are always overrated. Yup, Hendrix, Cobain, Marley, and now Smith. You're rating an album, not giving a eulogy, fellas.
  2. [Anonymous]
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    it is amazing it is a great legacy to the artist. and his music will live on with us forever.
  3. joes
    Oct 26, 2005
    8
    its a sad reality that the death of an artist can make his work more powerful. A better album than figure 8, but not the same league as his three earlier masterpieces. fond farewell would not be song it is if elliot was alive, it just wouldnt carry the same meaning. But the point is i guess that it just does - the whole album shimmers in tradagy - but music icons, geniuses shouldnt have its a sad reality that the death of an artist can make his work more powerful. A better album than figure 8, but not the same league as his three earlier masterpieces. fond farewell would not be song it is if elliot was alive, it just wouldnt carry the same meaning. But the point is i guess that it just does - the whole album shimmers in tradagy - but music icons, geniuses shouldnt have to die to make powerful, beautiful music Expand
  4. JakeL
    Nov 24, 2004
    9
    The only way to describe this album is to use a phrase often spoken of Elliott's work, "heartbreakingly beautiful." You forgive the mediocre job of sequencing (done by Rob Schnapf and Joanna Bolme) as well as well as "Ostriches and Chirping," because this is songcraft at it's best. This ranks right up there with XO.
  5. erin
    Dec 11, 2004
    10
    his best since either/or, and in my opinion, on a similar emotional level as taht album and Elliott's self-titled. Rough and imperfect in its technical production, but still flawless in its beauty--just like the man who made it.
  6. thefunkhunter
    Oct 22, 2004
    7
    Not one of his best. Album sounded sloppy, even though it was meant to sound sloppy i just don't think it worked. I am one of the biggest elliott's fans, although some of the individual songs rank among his best, his songwriting is inconsistent on this new album. Def overrated
  7. DennisD
    Feb 16, 2005
    9
    An incredibly moving collection of songs. Smith was an artist who, though apparently unable to cope with his own depression/demons, made music that helped others feel ok in being sad.
  8. KevinB
    Feb 1, 2005
    9
    Great album. Unfortunately, since Elliott was unable to finish the album himself, it's seems a little rough around the edges. All-in-all, a must have album
  9. TeganM
    Apr 23, 2005
    10
    mmm.. elliott
  10. matta
    May 27, 2005
    9
    A fitting swansong for Elliot. Ranks up there with his best work, including XO and Figure 8. Still though, you can't help but wonder as you listen to it how it would have turned out if Elliot was alive to decide the production, track listings, etc.
  11. MarkW
    Jul 10, 2005
    10
    the most underpapreciated artist in music history. This guy already was something incredibly special, and it pains me to think what he could have become if he had stayed around. In a time where the word "Genius" is used too loosely, this guy is/was a true genius.
  12. MikeM
    Aug 20, 2005
    9
    A really good album that might not be his best but is up there. It definitely gets better with time
  13. carlosa
    Nov 4, 2006
    10
    Nearly flawless record. I've listened to all of elliott's cds and this is easily one of his best if not his best ever ( even though all his albums were nearly flawless). His ability to write ridicously great songs and melodies only improved with age. With "From A Basement On the Hill" I feel like I am listening to the work of an artist at his absolute prime; he doesn't hold Nearly flawless record. I've listened to all of elliott's cds and this is easily one of his best if not his best ever ( even though all his albums were nearly flawless). His ability to write ridicously great songs and melodies only improved with age. With "From A Basement On the Hill" I feel like I am listening to the work of an artist at his absolute prime; he doesn't hold anything back. Expand
  14. ShaunM.
    Jan 6, 2006
    10
    The sequencing is near perfect. No one would have any complaints about it if Elliott hadn't passed away and it became a well-known fact that he did not do the sequencing on it. It's unfortunate that people are too musically immature to realize the genius of this album and how beautiful it is. Just because it's not easy to get into doesn't mean it's been sequenced The sequencing is near perfect. No one would have any complaints about it if Elliott hadn't passed away and it became a well-known fact that he did not do the sequencing on it. It's unfortunate that people are too musically immature to realize the genius of this album and how beautiful it is. Just because it's not easy to get into doesn't mean it's been sequenced wrong or is "sloppy" or lazily done. Let's face it, this album was ALMOST done, granted Elliott hand't put it final touches on it at all and we will never know how it would have turned out. (Probably better, yes). However, the songs are so good, it shouldn't matter what order they're in. This is musically and especially lyrically his best work to date, and it is obvious how he was maturing in leaps and bounds over time. All of his studio albums are masterpieces, and all for very different reasons. I think this should be looked at for it's musical genius and lyrical depth for why it deserves a ten. A near-perfect album from the most genius singer/songwriter of the last fifty-five years. Expand
  15. MusicLover
    May 7, 2006
    10
    I thought this album was his best, and I didn't even know about his death until 2 years later.
  16. Andy
    Aug 16, 2006
    8
    Not his best group of songs by a long shot, but that still means its better than 99% of anything out there.
  17. TylerV
    Jan 24, 2007
    10
    This album has so many unforgettable tracks. Any music collection that is absent of this album and the rest of Elliott Smith's catalog is indeed lacking. Every track is worth investing time into and when one does that, they will quickly find several of them to be simply haunting pieces of music.
  18. TomP
    Jul 27, 2009
    8
    So...it's pretty good. Let's just not get too excited.
  19. AlanR
    Nov 19, 2004
    10
    His death is one of the most tragic losses of my generation.
  20. SamB
    Oct 17, 2004
    9
    a bit different from his previous work, but fabulous none the less.
  21. MichaelC
    Oct 18, 2004
    10
    RIP Elliott. Best album of the year...
  22. TroyP
    Oct 19, 2004
    10
    I can't help but listen to this album and feel pain and loss. Yet, in Smith's inimitable way, I feel uplifited by every song. Elliott will be missed by every fan he had and those that this fantastic record makes fans out of.
  23. AaronS.
    Oct 20, 2004
    10
    Smith's final collection of songs is one of the years best CDs (if not THE best). Graceful, beautiful and very melancholy. And all the more moving considering this is his last work. Even though the final track layout was not completed before his death and the CD may or may not be presented as he originally envisioned it, its STILL a very strong CD. Most excellent.
  24. jayc
    Oct 21, 2004
    9
    Even if he was alive, this would still be his best album. The instrumentation is just amazing.
  25. ae.
    Oct 22, 2004
    8
    in all honesty this album is not as good as his older work. that said, i believe it's principally because he wasn't done making it when he died. the songs in and of themselves are pure-gold classic elliott smith material, just darker, thicker, heavier than ever before. a worthwhile gem from one of the only truly great melodist/lyricists of our age.
  26. JayH
    Dec 7, 2004
    10
    'Basement' is not an approachable collection of songs, and not easy to find a way into. However, it?s one of the most affecting musical achievements I've heard in many years. I'm hardly a big softy but I cried to hear Smith's beautiful goodbye to a world he no longer felt part of. If only he could have come to terms with living instead. It's not an album to 'Basement' is not an approachable collection of songs, and not easy to find a way into. However, it?s one of the most affecting musical achievements I've heard in many years. I'm hardly a big softy but I cried to hear Smith's beautiful goodbye to a world he no longer felt part of. If only he could have come to terms with living instead. It's not an album to shake the world but it will garner for itself some sort of classic status and no doubt a gradually increasing following in the years to come. Expand
  27. PaulH
    Oct 15, 2005
    6
    this album isn't as good as they all say, it's not bad but it's Elliott's weakest album. but critics always do this to people who have just died, just like George Harrison and Warren Zevon's last albums which also weren't that great. Still though Elliott Smith was amazing and he'll be missed.
  28. AK.
    Dec 1, 2005
    7
    As an album, this is great. As an Elliott Smith album, not so much. I like the music, but had Elliott not died, we all know it would've been so much better (LESS DISTORTED GUITAR!!!). I don't know why this has a higher rating than Figure 8.
  29. gregp
    Jan 29, 2005
    10
    one of the best albums i've bought in a long time. I kept playing it over and over. i can not get enough of it.
  30. IsabelB
    Jan 5, 2005
    10
    This album, whatever else it is, is the kind of music that is hard to come across these days. Filled with raw emotion, and the kind of lyrics and melody that stay with you, not only for the rest of the day, but for the rest of your life. You can hear the torment in his voice, the pain in his music. This album is pure genius, in the rawest form.
  31. ashley
    Mar 20, 2005
    10
    incredible
  32. JeffM
    Mar 30, 2005
    10
    The best cd I have ever purchased. I unfortunately missed out on the earlier works Elliot released as I was maybe too young to understand just how moving they were. Today, his music is breathtaking and shouldn;t be missed by anyone.
  33. DanielR
    Mar 3, 2005
    10
    A masterpiece in all respects, for me ,it is perfect. I can play Pretty (Ugly Before) over and over again. If only he could have waited to feel pretty again ... Elliott Smith´s music is cathartic for me in its sadness, but it seem it was not cathartic enough for him. Only the good die young. Cheers from Spain
  34. MikeV
    Sep 23, 2005
    10
    Ideally the track order would've been arranged differently. That really is my only complaint. I think "King's Crossing" should have been more toward the end, and that "Last Hour" would have been a fitting final song. His guitar playing is less prominent on this album, but this album packs a lot of power and emotion into it. I'd say people who aren't Elliott fans Ideally the track order would've been arranged differently. That really is my only complaint. I think "King's Crossing" should have been more toward the end, and that "Last Hour" would have been a fitting final song. His guitar playing is less prominent on this album, but this album packs a lot of power and emotion into it. I'd say people who aren't Elliott fans already should start with Either/Or. Anyone that is an Elliott fan should already have this. I think the review from Tiny Mix Tapes says it all. Expand
  35. PatrickO
    Nov 19, 2006
    10
    Smith's legacy is as clear as day with this album and is the pinnacle of his works.
  36. AddisonK
    May 18, 2006
    9
    From a Basement on the Hill is not Elliott's best work, but it could have been. Elliott had grand ideas for this album, and many of them were left out by those who compiled these tracks to make this album. Many songs were left off of the album because the family thought they were too saddening, a few songs were unfinished (ie there were no vocals on some tracks), Elliott intended the From a Basement on the Hill is not Elliott's best work, but it could have been. Elliott had grand ideas for this album, and many of them were left out by those who compiled these tracks to make this album. Many songs were left off of the album because the family thought they were too saddening, a few songs were unfinished (ie there were no vocals on some tracks), Elliott intended the album to start with simple acoustic stuff and gradually turn into nothing but noise by the end, and there are many things that no one, but Elliott, even knew about that would have affected this album. With that said, Basement is a fantastic album. The songs that were finished and put on the album are nothing short of brilliant. Twilight may be Elliott's greatest song. King's Crossing is haunting and beautiful. This album gets somewhat of a bum rap because we all feel cheated, but if we can look beyond that and just look at the album for what it is, we can truly appreciate the beauty. Collapse
  37. GabridlL
    Sep 27, 2006
    10
    A work of genius. Better than The Beatles. Smith had a gift.
  38. AdamS.
    Oct 20, 2007
    10
    A swansong, hidden and obfuscated by those who understood his vision but dared not commit themselves.
  39. MarcusP
    Apr 25, 2007
    10
    Magnificent album, from "Coast to Coast" to A distorted reality...It really touches one in the heart
  40. DavidW
    Nov 21, 2008
    10
    Hard to imagine a better album from start to finish. Truly the greatest songwriter since Dylan and the Beatles.
  41. WesC
    Nov 30, 2008
    10
    It's got an 88/100, countless plaudits and its still sorely underrated. Can't be recommended more to Smith fans: it's absolutely essential.
  42. fionnk
    Apr 27, 2009
    10
    He is truly timeless and had the most honest voice this blends the best bits of all the other albums some songs have the strip back sond of either/or and some have the musical wizardry of xo god only knows how it would have ended up like but I'm happy we got to hear this.
  43. DylanT
    Oct 17, 2004
    10
    This album is absolutely incredible. An incredible tragedy that this is Elliott's last album.
  44. tom
    Oct 18, 2004
    10
    this is an amazing album made from an amazing artist.in its simplicity it is beautiful.
  45. DavidL
    Oct 21, 2004
    10
    I don't know how one can listen to songs like "King's Crossing" and not see how undeniably great this album is. Just amazing.
  46. ashley
    Dec 14, 2004
    10
    it feels like he's speaking to me sometimes
  47. markf
    Oct 29, 2004
    8
    This is definitely "a fond farewell" (my favorite song) and also the most Beatleish album overall of Smith's oeurve. True, most of the Beatleish highlights sound like Lennon songs on Side 2 of "The Beatles" (The White Album), so perhaps that makes it the most Lennonesque album he's ever made. Many songs rock out or touch deep emotions, especially since the vocals are all pure, This is definitely "a fond farewell" (my favorite song) and also the most Beatleish album overall of Smith's oeurve. True, most of the Beatleish highlights sound like Lennon songs on Side 2 of "The Beatles" (The White Album), so perhaps that makes it the most Lennonesque album he's ever made. Many songs rock out or touch deep emotions, especially since the vocals are all pure, blissful Elliott, but occasionally, at least near the end, the simply-strummed ballads sound a bit undernourished musically, probably since they never were completed. They still deliver an emotional wallop, but the artistic value is somewhat diminished, sorta like listening to "new" Beatles singles 25+ years after the "fact." This is still a must-have for any fans and not worth any major complaints from an ES lover. A fond farewell, indeed. Expand
  48. Paul
    Jan 13, 2005
    7
    Elliot Smith was an incredible songsmith. I want that stated up front. Some of his earlier albums (self titled, either/or, XO) are masterpieces that reflect the sombre mood experienced by this troubled artist. Starting with Figure 8, it looks as if Elliot Smith was either running out of ideas or simply losing his passion for music. This is not to say that From a Basement On the Hill is a Elliot Smith was an incredible songsmith. I want that stated up front. Some of his earlier albums (self titled, either/or, XO) are masterpieces that reflect the sombre mood experienced by this troubled artist. Starting with Figure 8, it looks as if Elliot Smith was either running out of ideas or simply losing his passion for music. This is not to say that From a Basement On the Hill is a bad album, just that it is sub par compared to some of his other albums. Elliot was a musical genius. This is still an Elliot Smith album that is worth purchasing, but if you're just getting into Mr. Smith, I would suggest one of his first 3 albums (mentioned earlier). Expand
  49. yolola
    Jan 25, 2005
    10
    haunting and perfect voice from who knows where now thank you and i love you baby
  50. GrahamJ
    Apr 26, 2005
    10
    his most heart wrenching work, equally brilliant and sad, but it's another masterpiece that should send Smith into a legendary underground figure
  51. LilyD
    Aug 15, 2005
    10
    Gets better and better with each listen. In time, this man will be properly regarded as the musical genius he was. The groundswell is already building.
  52. AdamG
    Aug 18, 2005
    10
    This album is like a fine wine. It gets better with age. I like it more and more every time I listen to it.
  53. JonL
    Nov 25, 2006
    10
    You can debate forever about Elliott's intended album (and indeed, looking at the darkness of many of the demos of this album, this comes across as the decidedly family-friendly interpretation, which makes sense as his family compiled this album and left out many of the darkest songs), but taken as a collection of songs from a forever uncompleted album, it is truly astonishing. His You can debate forever about Elliott's intended album (and indeed, looking at the darkness of many of the demos of this album, this comes across as the decidedly family-friendly interpretation, which makes sense as his family compiled this album and left out many of the darkest songs), but taken as a collection of songs from a forever uncompleted album, it is truly astonishing. His gift for melody was as strong as ever, he was emerging as a master of studio work, and, of course, the sheer melancholia which is even more saddening (yet enigmatic) in light of his death. If I want to cry, I put this album on. Hopefully the family will cave in and properly release the rest of this project someday. Expand
  54. MyronC
    Mar 27, 2009
    10
    Over time it just gets more poignannt and transcendent. Although I would have gone for a 9.7 if the option were possible.
  55. ConnorO
    Jun 23, 2009
    10
    Amazing album. It's what inspired me to start playing guitar. Elliott Smith is great.
  56. DerekB
    Nov 11, 2004
    10
    A wonderful last cd, from a man with such a wonderful career.
  57. DavidF
    Nov 15, 2004
    10
    It's been six days since I bought this album and I can't stop listening to it. It hurts to listen, but it's beautiful. This guy would've been the next Dylan.
  58. dannib
    Nov 17, 2004
    9
    One mark shy of perfect. Elliott had the gift and the curse. Sorry to see you go, Tell God to speed the next four years up, we've had enough sadness for a while
  59. Aug 17, 2013
    10
    Maybe this isn't the fairest review, because I'm a huuge Elliott Smith fan. I do feel like this album has a rawness that is invigorating, particularly on the rock tracks. Some of his finest picking resides here as well. King's Crossing is one for the ages, and the sequencing totally works. This is amazing stuff. If you're not a fan, I don't really get that, and if you are then youMaybe this isn't the fairest review, because I'm a huuge Elliott Smith fan. I do feel like this album has a rawness that is invigorating, particularly on the rock tracks. Some of his finest picking resides here as well. King's Crossing is one for the ages, and the sequencing totally works. This is amazing stuff. If you're not a fan, I don't really get that, and if you are then you don't need my encouragement. All the same, pick this up. Expand
  60. Mar 7, 2011
    9
    It would have been interesting to see what sequence Smith would have chosen for the album, but if anything, the jumbled order and unpolished masterpieces adds to the charm and mystery of the record. Some of the unfinished songs recorded at the time, such as 'See You In Heaven' would have made this album one of the greatest pieces of music in the last 60 years. Very nearly a perfect record.
  61. Mar 25, 2011
    9
    Works on every all levels in my opinion. Composition, vocals, production and weirdness. For all sorts or reasons, I've avoided knowing any more about this artist or his albums beyond what is recorded and in the liner notes. Regardless, Mr. Smith's collection seems forgotten way too soon. Even in the alt. music media. I consider this album a standard of the era and the genre. Dare to compare!
  62. Aug 14, 2011
    9
    By no means an easy listen, but a remarkable album in every regard. Tracks like A Fond Farewell and King's Crossing, and Coast to Coast are among the most affecting Elliott ever made. I still think Either/Or is his best album (partially because every song on it is brilliant, but largely because it has extreme highs to match it's extreme lows, which unfortunately can't be said for most ofBy no means an easy listen, but a remarkable album in every regard. Tracks like A Fond Farewell and King's Crossing, and Coast to Coast are among the most affecting Elliott ever made. I still think Either/Or is his best album (partially because every song on it is brilliant, but largely because it has extreme highs to match it's extreme lows, which unfortunately can't be said for most of his work), but criticizing someone for making an amazing album just because I don't think it's their magnum opus would be silly. Expand
  63. Jun 6, 2012
    10
    The best Elliott Smith album, I wonder how it would turn out if he was still alive. Its so sad how much sadness he carried. It seems often that the people with the most talent and soul are taken so soon.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    It's simply wonderful -- bristling with pop masterpieces large and small, and reassuringly unburdened by Smith's deep-seated malaise.
  2. While it makes a lot of musical leaps (it's probably the most "experimental" work he's done), not all of them work, but there are still some great moments for fans of his work here.
  3. From a Basement on the Hill is a far better album than it has any right to be, with its bizarre sequencing and improbable ambitions.