Speed Trials
Elliott Smith Lyrics


He's pleased to meet you underneath the horse
In the cathedral with the glass stained black
Singing sweet high notes that echo back
To destroy their master

May be a long time 'til you get the call-up
But it's sure as fate and hard as your luck
No one'll know where you are
It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials still standing in place

When the socket's not a shock enough
You little child what makes you think you're tough
When all the people you think you're above
They all know what's the matter

You're such a pinball yeah you know it's true
There's always something you come back running to
To follow the path of no resistance

It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials standing in place
It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials all over the place

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Steven Paul Smith

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

Roiy Benkel

He's pleased to meet you underneath the horse
In the cathedral with the glass stained black
Singing sweet high notes that echo back
To destroy their master
May be a long time till you get the call-up
But it's sure as fate and hard as your luck
No one'll know where you are
It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials still standing in place
When the socket's not a shock enough
You little child what makes you think you're tough
When all the people you think you're above
They all know what's the matter
You're such a pinball yeah you know it's true
There's always something you come back running to
To follow the path of no resistance
It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials standing in place
It's just a brief smile crossing your face
Running speed trials all over the place



notThatBad411

I just realized what this song is about!!!

Lines 5-6 tell us that the narrator is unlucky.
Why? Because getting "the call-up", which is described in Lines 1-4, is his fate.
This means that the narrator was born to do what he's doing in the chorus of the song:
"Running speed trials"
Running a speed trial is like, for example, running a speed test on your computer. The only difference is that the test, whatever the test is, is being done on himself, and not a computer.
We get more information on what the test is.
"Running speed trials, standing in place"
The test is standing in place.
Some believe that this means he's running in place, running in the same spot, not moving.
But standing in place can also mean something else.
Understudies stand in place for actors, and that is precisely what the test in this song is. The narrator is in the entertainment industry, where understudies (a stand-in for a singer) are constantly being used for actors (the actual singer). T
For example, all of the members of the Beatles, a band that apparently inspired Elliott Smith, were replaced by new actors in 1966, after they stopped touring.
The use of stand-ins is common, and known about by people in the entertainment industry. However, it is quite hidden to the public. This could be why the song is sung in a whisper. In Verse 2, someone is berating the narrator or the narrator is berating himself. It is sung in an angrier, louder whisper.
Either way, someone reminds the narrator that, as an understudy, he shouldn't get used to the fame by becoming cocky. The narrator is talented, so he believes he's better than other musicians. But the other musicians know that he is just an understudy. (Lines 2-4 of Verse 2)
He has to remember that, as an understudy, his fame is "just a brief smile crossing" his face. A quick moment of happiness that crosses by and leaves forever. This entire album is about this interesting narrator's interesting story.



All comments from YouTube:

Kill Rock Stars

Check out this rare live footage of Elliott's 1999 New Year's Eve performance at The Knitting Factory: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6KwzgIePF4Dy7347Om6Ijcsr4vh6JJjP

John Nihil

Nevermind. That appears to exist already. Sweet.

John Nihil

You guys need to make a double lp version of Either Or with all the live stuff on a 2nd record. I already have the single edition.

Steven Rivera

I wonder how he was SO GOOD at recording these haunting, yet, beautiful songs. The production in this album is one of the best I ever heard.

giovanna

I could use a little more presence on his voice.

PFH Music Plus

@gbluecheez depression does not give you creative superpowers. You create despite of that.

okok

@CleanFamilyVideos simplicity is beautiful

Joseph Carter

@Jeremy Dukes I see that, I would love to hear it in comparison, but still great song with the lo fi production I think, Eric's Trip would agree

Jeremy Dukes

@Joseph Carter absolutely. Granted there are occasions where the less than optimal sound quality will contribute to the atmosphere and overall vibe, but this song would absolutely benefit from a more polished production

12 More Replies...

Brian Zahka

I will never get enough of this song. At 2:13 when he changes the first chord in the progression and then harmonizes "smile" may very possibly be my favorite 5 seconds in all of music. the whole song builds up to that moment and it's just god damn beautiful

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