Monday, December 03, 2018

Song of the Day: 'Ghost of His Smile' by Susanna Hoffs

Always found this song about depression from Susanna Hoffs lost "Wallace Album" to be haunting. But it became even more chilling when I learned this weekend that it was written by Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse), who would later record it himself -- and eventually take his own life with a gunshot to the head.

In 2012, Hoffs discussed writing with Linkous in an abandoned schoolyard. The revamped "Wallace Album" -- released as "Susanna Hoffs" in 1996 -- included "Enormous Wings" and "Darling One" by Hoffs and Linkous as well as Linkous's "Happy Place," written with David Lowery, who also helped write "Darling One" along with Davey Faragher. I always wondered why that album was so dark, considering Hoffs was seemingly ecstatic with a new marriage and the birth of her first son -- and now perhaps this explains things.

"Ghost of His Smile"

He don't get out much
These days
But I wouldn't call him lazy
He sees the dawn sneak
Into the room
And he knows the dogs will
Be up soon

And he felt like he was doing all right
And the sun chased down another night
And days careen
Like the waters
Of a river rushing
To the sea
Here he comes again
Down the staircase
He never passes without
Saying hello

And he thought that he was doing all right
And he says hello
Can't forget the ghost of his smile
No, I can't forget the ghost
Of his smile

Dogs will wag their tails
Birds will sing
Well it's a hard world
For little things
And he thought that he was doing all right
So he wipes a tear

Can't forget the ghost
No I can't, can't forget the ghost
No I can't, no I can't forget the ghost
Of his smile

Songwriter: Mark Linkous

1 comment:

Bill Carter said...

I never knew about the link between Susanna Hoffs and Mark Linkous.

Sparklehorse was so very, very, good. One of my favourites from that musical golden age that started in the late 70s and stretched into the early 21st century.

Related: The first time I heard "The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One" on Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, I thought I was listening to Sparklehorse. Since I think In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is the greatest indie/alternative/whatever album of the last 30+ years, that's a pretty enthusiastic endorsement.

Thanks for the info about the Susanna Hoffs connection.

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