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New Music

Vanessa Carlton – “Needle in the Hay” (Elliott Smith Cover)

vanessa carlton elliott smith cover
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Musician Vanessa Carlton performs at City Winery on November 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Vanessa Carlton has released one cover a month for the past four months, including renditions of Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young classics. Yesterday, she released a cover of “Needle in the Hay,” the Elliott Smith record from his 1995 self-titled album that was used in a key scene in Wes Anderson’s 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums. In Carlton’s version, the song is given a lo-fi but slightly fussier treatment while still maintaining the tenderness of the original, albeit without Smith’s trademark seething frustration threatening to burst out at any moment. About the record, Carlton told Variety: “This is one of my favorite songs, period. Elliott was a great poet and the metaphors in this lyric split me open. This song is a juxtaposition, because the song is about excruciating pain and the brutal moments of an addiction spiral, and yet it’s formed in this drone-y meditative manner. Such restraint…” Listen below.