Two years after the film’s release, the soundtrack to the Elliott Smith documentary Heaven Adores You is finally being released. Director Nickolas Rossi was able to obtain access to over a dozen unreleased tracks from Smith’s archives, making the OST a posthumous gem. We’ve already heard an alternate take on Heatmiser’s “Plainclothes Man”, and now a rare version of “True Love” has been shared.
“True Love” is an acoustic heart-breaker, bringing to mind Spanish light fading on a doomed romance. Unfortunately, as you can hear in the lyrical shift halfway through the track, the song progresses to something a lot deeper. “I’ve heard I think two or three different versions of this song,” Heaven Adores You producer and soundtrack supervisor Kevin Moyer said, “and the lyrics evolved and shifted from a love interest to a major drug interest instead. One of the versions seemed really scathing too, and I wondered if some of the references were about the intervention and the anger he had towards his friends.”
(Read: Elliott Smith: Top 10 Songs, 10 Years Later)
Elliott apparently would often demo the song and play it live at LA’s Largo. The venue’s owner, Mark Flanagan, was a close friend of the singer-songwriter, and recalled first hearing the song transition from love to drugs. “I also have a rough copy on cassette of him playing ‘True Love’ on Valentine’s Day,” Flanagan said. “He performed it live at Largo in the middle of a comedy show in front of a stunned audience… and I remember being bummed that he had made the love song into a druggy song. That’s where he was then. And as he was playing it live sitting on the floor, pretty much in the dark, I remember thinking that ‘I hope this fella makes it through this hell.’ I still miss the guy from before all that.”
Recorded with Jon Brion at his studio, the track has been given a new mix by Larry Crane for Heaven Adores You. Take a listen below.