Smith’s first album on a major label (Dreamworks) also resulted in an increase of budget, and it certainly shows on Bled White. The song greatly expands upon the instrumentation, adding multiple guitar parts, piano, bass, drums and multi-tracked vocal harmonies. Despite the increase, none of his lyrical or compositional talent was buried under the added complexity. This is a fairly upbeat tune, but the evocative imagery of the lyrics is as pronounced as it ever was:

Don’t you dare disturb me (don’t complicate my piece of mind)
While I’m balancing my past (don’t complicate my piece of mind)
‘Cause you can’t help or hurt me (the anger, being mean was just a waste of time)

I am none the wiser as to what this song is ‘actually’ about, but to be honest, I really don’t care. The imagery of a dreary city and the people within it beautifully gel with the song itself, giving it an almost tonally sad determination. It is just a spectacular achievement in mood setting, something that Smith absolutely excelled at.

Bled White by Elliott Smith on Grooveshark