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4.8 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Redeye / Kill Rock Stars
  • ASIN: B00000373U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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. Cupids Trick
11. 2:45 AM
12. Say Yes

Product Description

Product Description

Either / Or


Blessed with the voice of a wispy angel, Elliott Smith creates sad little pop songs, which, like the work of Nick Drake (to whom he's been compared) threaten to disappear into the night air. Several of the tracks here were featured in Gus Van Zant's movie Good Will Hunting, and they're among the album's best (though "Miss Misery," nominated for an Academy Award is only available on the soundtrack album). "Angeles" and "Say Yes" are bittersweet laments that feature Smith's idiosyncratic guitar picking, which is well served by the album's decidedly low-fi production. --Rob O'Connor

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Recently I looked through all of the CD's that I have reviewed and I realized that, for the most part, I never review the albums that mean the most to me. Those albums that strike a chord deep in my heart and that have true meaning in my life, not just records that are catchy and fun to have on in the background. Maybe it's because I am worried I won't be able to do them justice? Or maybe I'm worried that I'll detract from the special feeling that comes each time I listen to it if I analyze it too much. More likely than not though, I think I never discuss these albums because they are personal and private and something I want to keep to myself.
However, in light of recent events I feel like I need to say something about Elliott Smith's work and how devestatingly beautiful it is. I'm not going to try to analyze anything here or try to come up with creative metaphors for his sound. I just want to make it clear that I absolutely love everything he's done.
Either/Or is my favorite of his albums, and is tremendous through and through. It is raw and beautiful in a disturbing fashion. Listening to his simple melodies and open-hearted lyrics is both therapeutic as well as haunting and it is so tragic that more people never were tuned in to his amazing work.
Maybe it's better that way though? Elliott never wanted the spotlight or the fame. He wanted his life to be simple, quiet, and held close to himself. Maybe that's how his records should be for those of us who do treasure them.
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Format: Audio CD
Countless reviews have analyzed Smith's records, including this one, with perception, accuracy, and an effective summary of the album, Smith's talents, etc. However, just listen to it.
Are you a pretty average human being? Have you felt doubt? Confusion? Heartache? Fear? Frustration? Well, I'm betting that when you listen to Elliott, you're gonna say "Yeah man, that's what it feels like". Unless you're some unreal fabricated person like a schwing-athon 19 year old on those WB network shows, you're probably gonna feel touched when you listen to Elliott.
Only a few of the best reviews I've seen really hit the nail on the head, when it comes to his work. You can't really break it down - yeah there are great lyrics, yeah his voice is awesome, yeah the music is good. But it's not just the pieces - it's the WHOLE THING. I won't even quote lyrics here, 'cause even though they often look impressive on paper, that's just robbing them of their true value when you hear them in the songs.
Yeah, Elliott incorporated elements from lots of earlier musicians. Yet, I like his stuff better than most of theirs. It all depends on whether his blend of elements and his "touch" hits you. But, like I said, unless you're not really a human, you'll probably feel it. He might not have the "masterful" touch of giants like, say, the Beatles or the Beach Boys. Whatever - Elliott's stuff WORKS. Who needs an arrow to be immaculately polished in order to feel its sweet sting?
I can more or less say the same stuff for Elliott's "XO". But this one is EVEN BETTER. Anyway, it's pointless to compare them - you need BOTH. :) "Roman Candle" and "Elliott Smith" are quite great too - they're a bit different in sound, though, than this and "XO".
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Format: Audio CD
Okay, Elliott Smith just died. Stuck the knife in. Well, here's his best album. Just know it blew a hole into everything else I was listening to in the late 90's. Either/Or still stands as the perfect anchor between the whispered confessionals of his 1st two albums & the big Brian Wilson productions of his last couple efforts. Meloncholic but never depressing, Either/Or is strewn with the same kind of achingly beautiful melodies that keep people coming back to the likes of the Beatles, Big Star, Nick Drake & the Kinks. In terms of lyrics, Smith seemed to have that uncanny ability to accidentally stumble unto the kind of truths we're all searching for but are too self-involved to notice. "Between The Bars" might just be the epitome of all I'm talking about. Featuring a double entendre worthy of Cole Porter. "Say Yes" is as sweet as it gets. I wouldn't venture to interpret what he means by, "he's pleased to meet you underneath the horse in the cathedral with the glass stained black" but he manages to pull "Speed Trials" off on an unconscoius level. "Almeda" & the rest display a talent for melody few have. My personal favorite might just be, "no name no.5 " with the line, "got a broken heart & your name on my cast". The kind of thing that hits the funnybone in a bittersweet way. A sentiment that pretty much sums this guy up. So, leave all the eulogizing & rubbernecking to the popular press, this guy was no sad sack. A classic in the best sense.
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Format: Audio CD
Attaining brilliance with this wistful, sentimental, gem of an album, Elliot Smith is the perfect soundtrack for perpetual loneliness. He has this philosophy that I've actually taken to heart. Rationalized relationship-phobia. Goes a little bit like this:
I don't deserve to be loved, yet I yearn for it all the time because we live in a culture that brainwashes us into thinking that we need a better half to be whole. But do we? And what if it happens to me? Actually experiencing love can be a shocker that can make every thought a paranoid analysis. What do I do now? How do I act? Why the hell does this person love me, let alone LIKE me enough to spend all this time tolerating my personality? Do I really trust this person not to hurt me? And if he does, should I contemplate taking anti-depressants like everyone else to achieve some level of normalcy and balance instead of becoming so bummed out I can't even see the bottom of my wine glass? If love makes us ultimately miserable, why do I always long for an end to loneliness?
Elliot Smith is the undisputed master of this neverending cycle of thought. "Nobody broke your heart. You broke your own 'cause you can't finish what you start," the classic lyric on ALAMEDA, is more reflexive/universal than offensive. Listen to the lyrics, and adopt the philosophy. Maybe there will finally be hope for the rationalized relationship-phobe in all of us. Or maybe we'll continue to wallow in our lonely confusion. Either (/or) way, this is an amazing, intense, beautiful acoustic album that makes my top ten every time.
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