A lot of Smith’s music had an elegant simplicity to them, which is perfectly exemplified in Needle in the Hay. Despite the compositional simplicity though, the lyrics paint a deep and rather harrowing account of what seems to be heroin addiction. Like Roman Candle, Smith is writing music for himself in this song – not as a cry for help, but just as a way of saying what he wanted to say. As a result, it is a deeply troubling song: there is no remorse in the lyrics, just a tortured acceptance of the situation.

Needle in the Hay by Elliott Smith on Grooveshark