Friday, May 08, 2009

857. Elliott Smith - Either/Or (1997)

Track Listing

1. Speed Trials
2. Alameda
3. Ballad of Big Nothing
4. Between the Bars
5. Pictures of Me
6. No Name No. 5
7. Rose Parade
8. Punch and Judy
9. Angeles
10. Cupid's Trick
11. 2:45 A.M.
12. Say Yes


Some people in the music business who are unfortunate enough to die young get a personality cult going around them which often results in a overratedness of their career and achievements. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Nick Drake being some examples.

Elliott Smith is not a case of a shit artist being made great by his death. On the evidence of this album he is something different. A lo-fi artist who uses his lo-fi wisely as a way to actually improve his sound, a gifted lyricist and player capable of the greatest of delicate moments as well as venomous spite.

This is, then, a great album. A pretty sad album but also one where each song is great in itself, listen to it enough and all tracks will end up imprinted in your mind. No need for overcomplicated arrangements or vast instrumentation, Elliott Smith shows what everyone can do at home, provided they have talent. And he did.

Track Highlights

1. Say Yes
2. 2.45 A. M.
3. Angeles
4. Alameda

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The title is derived from the Søren Kierkegaard book of the same name, reflecting Smith's interest in philosophy, something he studied (among other subjects) at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Smith stated in a few interviews that the album follows the Kierkegaard philosophy in relation with the absurdist struggle between choosing an aesthetic life and an ethical life.


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