Snack keeps asking me, "What's the deal with Elliot Smith." And I keep giving him the short answer. So for his sake and the few of you that are reading this that don't know here goes. 1997 marked a turning point in Smith's career, his music was featured prominently in Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting soundtrack, which led to the singer suddenly becoming the Oscar-nominated center of attention. His performance at the Oscars was characteristically nervous but brilliant. It seemed to be a surprising turn of events for both Smith and his fans. 1997 was also the year that Either/Or was released. The album, with the introduction of instruments aside from the singer-songwriter's guitar and voice, serves as a bridge between the lo-fi darkness of Roman Candle and Elliott Smith and the studio sheen of XO and Figure 8. His lyrics are as bleak and dark as ever, but the songs have a certain pop sensibility to them. Either/Or captures Smith's ability to play with that contrast beautifully. The constant push and pull between the dissonant and melodic, dealing with today's disappointment and loneliness knowing that things could change tomorrow. It's no secret that Smith dealt with alcoholism and addiction, but through his music you can see that he was able to experience love as well.
- 180g vinyl pressing
- Music Label: Kill Rock Stars 1997/2012
reviewed by Joey Coco 10/2012
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