Christopher O’Riley

Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute

After two records of Radiohead arranged for solo piano, the classically trained pianist Christopher O’Riley brings us Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute. Should this have been prevented? Let’s just admit that the songs were perfectly realized already. OK, maybe O’Riley’s soporific indie-darling idolatry has its place—as NPR bumper music, not as an apparently endless series of whole albums (heaven help us; his next project is a package of Nick Drake covers). What’s alleged as an exercise in musical cross-pollination actually reads like one of demographic desperation—the classical kid who really wants rock-snob respect. Not gonna happen. A pet project like this is a bullet to the foot; it threatens the double damage of turning people off to two talented and very different musicians.