Latest Mixtape:

Shop the TK market: Coffee + Vinyl Pairings Subscription (Recurring)

Buy it now

Musical Pairings: Elliott Smith – Roman Candle (paired with Seared Ahi Tuna)

Elliott Smith’s self-recorded debut album, Roman Candle, is raw and emotional: seared and cooked only on the outside, but warm and meltingly tender on the inside. People often refer to Elliott Smith’s music as sad, and downbeat, but I’ve always found that listening to it can make me feel happy, and upbeat. Suffice to say, I agree with this quote attributed to Elliott Smith: “You can take a picture of New York and one person looking at it will think it looks really depressing, frightening; and someone else will look at it and think of all the fun things you can do in New York. I think songs are kinda like that.”

Roman Candle is definitely not Elliott Smith’s most upbeat album, but it is undeniably stunning. Despite the tension, alienation and restlessness of the lyrics on many of the album’s best tracks (“Roman Candle,” “Last Call,” and “Condor Avenue”), many of these same songs are complimented by light, happy melodies that call to mind Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkle and James Taylor. It is probably for this reason that Elliott Smith constituted nearly half of the songs on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack including the song “No Name #3” from Roman Candle.

If you are already a fan, and want to delve deeper into Elliott Smith’s catalogue, I’d recommend stopping by Sweet Adeline where you can pick up unreleased live tracks, live covers, demos and more. I particularly recommend his cover of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy.


Let's Meet up… in your inbox.

Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

  • R.

    I’ve never listened to Elliot Smith – at least I don’t think I have, but I love the description – and maybe I’ll pick up some seared ahi too.

  • Matthew

    I hope you enjoy his music. In all honesty, the best place to start is probably with his album “Either/Or.” The song “Say Yes” is beautiful.

  • Pingback: Musical Pairings Archive: Browse Album Reviews, Videos, etc. « Musical Pairings @ Eating/SF()

Get the pairings box:A curated food and music discovery experience


In season now:

Recently on the turntable:

See all Stories from the Turntable > >

Recently in the kitchen:

See all Stories from the Kitchen > >

Get the pairings box:A curated food and music discovery experience


In season now: