"New Disaster" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
The ghost of your smile is always looking for new
Bodies to haunt
And its been here
And disappeared
Its hanging around aloofly for awhile
Gradually gone
Its pleasing
And freezing

Well I wonder what it is you're after
Keeping company with this disaster
You looked all over town
Got turned around
To walk back through the mud
The kind you had left behind you

Everybody is the same in this long no-win game
Where every new blood gets time to
Become resigned

Now I wonder what it is you're after
Keeping company with this disaster
Why you never tried to tame your master

You just blow through the coals
Blow through the coals
Blow through the coals
Till everyone knows
That your smile is just a ghost
The ghost of your smile was seen on a body in the park
Its old news
You see that its no use
Waiting to start
Waiting to light
Waiting till dark
I told you man
I told you
Well I wonder what it is you're after
Keeping company with this disaster
Why you never tried to tame your master


Lyrics submitted by RomanCandle

"New Disaster" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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New Disaster song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationHere's what I think.

    First of all, the drums were not "added" later. The leaked versions that don't feature drums (or organ, but no one seems to have a problem with that being on the "New Moon" version) were shabby mixes thrown onto the internet just to get the songs out there. Go read about the production on "New Moon". They didn't add anything, they only removed tape hiss and smoothed things over. Some purist might say that's too much, but at least they didn't add anything. Please don't make things up based on assumptions.

    Second, I too thought this was either about a lover or about himself. However, today I was listening to the song for the first time in years and it occurred to me that it's probably about his mother. She had remarried an abusive man named "Charlie" who pops up in Elliott's stuff occasionally. I think "you" is to his mother, and the "New Disaster" is Charlie. I think the image of a "ghost of your smile" is that his mother isn't happy with her life with Charlie, but won't admit it, so her smile is dead but makes phantom appearances on a rare occasion.

    Anyway, that's my hypothesis. Give 'er a think-over and draw your own conclusions.
    yertrudeon May 22, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is doubting love:

    "Everybody is the same in this long no-win game
    Where every new blood
    Gets time to become resigned"

    Meaning everyone learns that love is one of those things that can't be achieved by everyone and so you resign your efforts, hopes, dreams, trials for it.

    Whats beautiful about this song is that he goes into an example of his own life. So its also about his connection to someone that he wishes to be with. But that person who has a smile is searching for someone for herself and wonders who she going after now.

    "The ghost of your smile is always looking
    For new bodies to haunt
    And its been here and disappeared
    It's hanging around aloofly for a while
    Gradually gone
    It's pleasing and freezing"

    Meaning that the person has left him looking for other people to leave. Its pleasing to have someone like you but then its freezing and not warm anymore when that person is gone. Which is why i like the metaphor of the ghost of her smile because ghosts are cold, not real, and ghosts can also be someone you want to be back and want to be real.

    "Well, I wonder what it is you're after
    Keeping company with this disaster
    You looked all over town
    Got turned around
    To walk back through the mud
    The kind you had left behind you"

    However those lines could be talking about himself as well. Like asking himself what is he doing with her if she is going all over town looking for other people. Which is why this chorus is really amazing because it goes with the general idea that i said before about how everyone is looking for someone but rarely finds it. Its doubting love. Then the next lines about the mud are beautiful because if the chorus is about her then that means he is the mud. Mud is sticky and not somewhere you want to be. Its a shitty ugly place. So Elliott is the mud to her.


    "Now I wonder what it is you're after
    Keeping company with this disaster
    Why you never tried to tame your master"

    This is really nice because this stanza has dual meanings to me. He could be saying this to the girl about how he wonders where she is and how she could be doing this to people etc. and why she never tries to tame her master. Now master is the key word because master to her means her longing for someone and master for him means his longing for someone/her. So this is an example of his long-no win game because he can't have her.

    :)


    Brenguyon October 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe no one has commented on this song yet. Though it is one of his more obscure ones and is pretty new to me, a true hidden gem. A definite song that should have been in From a Basement on the Hill.
    mr_sniffleson January 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree, i thoroughly enjoy this song
    mtolskyon January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgeesh, i just heard this song for the first time right now. it's amazing.
    ()on March 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about anitcipation and feeling impatient waiting for that one person. either that or they wont let you know what they want.
    beautiful song.
    tronistroyon March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow, this has to be one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs. it's amazing.
    n_hallon June 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so amazing. definitely a favorite of mine. i agree with tronistroy about it's meaning, too. i think it's kind of talking about being haunted by loving someone, always wondering if they love you, all that stuff.
    gorgeous song elliott.
    myxangelxelliotton August 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"You looked all over town
    got turned around
    to walk back through the mud
    the kind you had left behind you"

    bonechilling..

    "you just blow through the coals until everyone knows that your smile is just a ghost" ~ i see this as a reference to elliott's crack cocaine use in his later years.

    gotta love the basement 2 demos, seriously. so stripped down. so pure and real. so much...tragedy and truth.

    i wouldn't be able to go throughout the days in this shitty town without elliott.
    prettywhnsedatedon December 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like how his voice sounds in this song, it's beautiful.
    Made_in_Secreton December 28, 2006   Link

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