"The Last Hour" is by far, in my opinion, the most unsettling of Elliott Smith’s last album From a Basement on the Hill. The title of this album, which Smith created before ending his own life in 2004, reflects his mental state at the point of its creation. A basement on the hill, to me, feels like Smith (although, perhaps, at the height of his musical career) was at the lowest point within himself- and the message of "The Last Hour" confirms that.
"The Last Hour" is a three minute song about what it feels like to have no life left to reach for. In the first verse, Smith sings “Here’s the army that you mowed to the ground,” and it made me instantly realize he was talking to himself. Smith was a known drug addict throughout his life, and with his addiction, came the relationships that he had ruined. He accepts these mistakes and knows that there is nothing left to do except end all of his relationships, including the one he has with himself. It’s placement on the album is also something I found interesting. Smith has been singing "The Last Hour" for years, but it happened to be placed on the album that was released postmortem.
The third verse was also a favorite of mine:
“I’ve been thinking of the things that I missed
Situations that I passed up for this”
It reveals his persistent thoughts of life and everything that has passed by. It’s a song of revelation, depth, and feeling stuck in your brain. It’s Smith’s way of relinquishing into self-isolation and viewing his mind as the saboteur. His voice is quiet, pained, and intimate. He captured dissociation perfectly- it feels like he is trying to talk to me when I listen to it. It’s like he was reaching for something, trying to communicate in such a way that could not be understood until he was gone in 2003.
It’s hauntingly beautiful.