Elliott Smith was a man with many demons. Before his unexplained stabbing death in 2003, he struggled with mental illness, alcoholism, and drug abuse. This is not lighthearted stuff, nor were his lyrics. Smith’s “Between the Bars” is regarded as one of his most haunting pieces of work off of his highly praised album Either/Or, which is likely why Agnes Obel chose this cover.
Obel, a Danish singer, songwriter, and pianist, released her first album in October 2010 and is quickly rising to fame with the same whispery soft voice that so many loved from Smith. Unlike Smith, however, she brings a warmth and sultriness akin to Fiona Apple. When Obel sings “Between the Bars,” it entices in a come-hither way. As is so often the case with destructive relationships, be they with people or substances, they wrap you in a cocoon of false security. Obel’s voice is the cocoon here and she allows Smith’s words to do the rest. Take a listen below. The song appears on her upcoming iTunes Live From Paris EP.
Agnes Obel – Between the Bars (Elliott Smith cover)
Discover more about Agnes Obel on her website.