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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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".Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Elliott Smith's music is so sincere and brutally honest that just him and his acoustic beat all those mainstream fishooks out there today. Read morePublished on May 17 2004
i highly recommend this album if you like the honesty and passion of artists like john lennon, kurt cobain, or leonard cohen. you know what i'm talking about. Read morePublished on May 5 2004
I love this cd and have listened to it at least once every day since I bought it. One of those great albums you never forget. Everyone needs to own a copy of this. Read morePublished on April 19 2004
Elliott Smith is my favorite artist because his music is so delicate, beautiful, sad, honest and real. Read morePublished on April 17 2004 by Karen Lee
I was at a recored store, and I was listening to some music when I came across this album. I was listing to it and it was awsome. Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by José
I've had this CD and all Elliott's since before he committed suicide and this one is his top effort. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2004 by Kyle Parker
If you're considering buying an Elliot Smith album (though it's amazing it's definitly not for everyone) please buy this one. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
I first became aware of Elliott because of the subconscious, melodic haunting he gave my ears while watching Good Will Hunting. Who is that singing those songs, I wondered. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004 by Bryan C. Bughman
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