Even if the folks at Anti- weren't shrewdly dropping From A Basement On A Hill almost exactly a year to the day after Elliott Smith was found dead in his home, it'd be hard not to read the posthumous disc as a gut-wrenching eulogy-cum-suicide note. Smith's songs have always oozed anguish, addiction and anomie, but there's a defeated air of resignation that vibrates throughout Basement, from the moans that he'll "never be good enough for you" to his insomniac sighs on the oddly jaunty Pretty (Ugly Before). Patched together from the 34 tracks Smith left behind, with mixers and players like Jon Brion and Sam Coomes filling in the gaps, the disc is brutally beautiful. 2Pac aside, the thought of folks messing with a dead man's tracks still seems morbid, but as friends who've gone through Smith's wastebasket can attest, the songster was never the best judge of his own work. Rob Schnapf's signature dense production adds depth of field to songs like the hallucinogenic anthem King's Crossing while keeping the overall vibe less polished than Figure 8. It's a stunning final act. RIP, fella.