Waltz No. 2 (XO)

Album: XO (1998)
Charted: 52

Songfacts®:

  • Elliot once cited the lyrics to this as an example of how he tries to chronicle the lives of other people and especially his mother's.
  • The lyrics "She appears composed, so she is, I suppose. Who can really tell? She shows no emotion at all, stares into space like a dead china doll" were written about the experience of watching his mother and stepfather in a karaoke bar singing and getting progressively drunk when Elliot was a child. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Shannon - Kathleen, GA, for above 2

Comments: 7

  • Bryan from Washington, DcThose who are familiar with Smith's biography can work out that most of the song is about his estrangement from his mother, who has devoted her life to new husband, a man who Smith says abused him when he was young. The song opens with mother singing with her new husband (Cathy's Clown, which is about a man who mistreats his woman); her attempts to convince herself she's happy (stares into space like a dead china doll); "calling someone such a familiar name" refers either to the stepdad being called dad or Smith, son; in saying "he is glad his memory's remote,..." he's acknowledging the abuse he has suppressed so he can function today; as a popular musician he can now sing his revenge to his stepfather, "you're no good," (and he borrows here from Ronstadt, same number of times) and flips the abuse (stepdad probably told him he was no good as a child); he's "expected to stay" but he's "tired" of living with pain; "substitute scene" again refers to substitute dad with mom; he wishes his mom well but wants her "Mr. Man" to leave him alone (now mentally as he's still scarred); he's a star now ("makes no mistakes") and has "what it takes;" he says goodbye to his mother since there's no way he can embrace her as long as she's with stepdad, but he's going to love her anyhow...
  • Colm from Northport, NyIf you like Elliott Smith then I'd think you'll like Bright Eyes... Conor Oberst, the lead singer, expresses similar emotion and deep meaning and is known for his brilliant song writing ability. Check 'em out if your up for it, i think you'll enjoy.
  • Goldaline from Santa Barbara, Castop spelling his name wrong he spelled it with two t's. It wasn't his real name but still, elliotT.
  • Josh from Farmington, Utthis song is awsome some one should put up some stuff about elliot's life
  • Craig from Madison, WiNot just one of poor Elliot Smith's best songs, but also the best song ever about karaoke.
  • Craig from Madison, WiThe old rock standard "You're No Good" is mentioned in the second verse. The best known version of it would be Linda Ronstadt's.
  • Will from Happy Valley, UtThe song "Cathy's Clown", mentioned in the first verse, was written by the Everly Brothers.
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