I’ve mentioned my love for Elliott Smith and his music numerous times since I started this blog. When I say that his music changed my life, I actually mean it.
For those who aren’t as familiar with him, he died on October 21, 2003. Because of this, October tends to be a month during which I really immerse myself in his music. It may seem a little morbid, but for me it’s more of a celebration of his life and music … A kind of private tribute.
Image courtesy of http://www.last.fm.
For this reason, I’ve decided to feature something Elliott Smith related in each of my Music Monday posts for October. If nothing else, I hope this might inspire others to check out his work (especially if they’ve never heard any of his music).
My first Music Monday post on this blog featured the album XO. This week I’ll be focusing on another of my favorite Elliott Smith albums, the classic fan favorite Either/Or.
I have to admit that I never noticed the “Fuck you” in the lower left corner until today. (Crazy, considering how many years I’ve owned this album!) I guess taking a picture with flash brightened it up enough to make it stand out. Personal photo.
From the moment this album opens with the haunting sounds of “Speed Trials,” it completely sucks you in. At the close, with the strangely sweet “Say Yes,” you realize this isn’t just another 12 songs … This is something special.
One of the best things about Either/Or is that the songs are simple. These aren’t overly stylized Hollywood studio mega hits. These are lovely (if not slightly haunting at times) melodies with beautiful lyrics. The songs are mostly “bare bones” (basically a man and his guitar with a few additional instruments and background vocals thrown in to give a richer sound), but they’re good. Really good. If you’ve never listened to Either/Or, now is the time to pick it up. I’ll recommend my top 5 favorites, but the album as a whole is fantastic.
* Between the Bars
Personal Favorite Line(s): I’m seeing you there with your hands in the air, waiting to finally be caught/Drink up one more time and I’ll make you mine/Keep you apart deep in my heart, separate from the rest where I like you the best/And keep the things you forgot/The people you’ve been before that you don’t want around anymore/That push and shove and won’t bend to your will/I’ll keep them still
* No Name No. 5
Personal Favorite Line(s): Got a broken heart and your name on my cast/And everybody’s gone at last
* Ballad of Big Nothing
Personal Favorite Line(s): You can do what you want to, there’s no one to stop you
* Rose Parade
Personal Favorite Line(s): I’d say it’s a sight that’s quite worth seeing/It’s just that everyone’s interest is stronger than mine/And when they clean the street, I’ll be the only shit that’s left behind
Personal Favorite Line(s): Nobody broke your heart/You broke your own ’cause you can’t finish what you start
If there are any Elliott Smith fans out there, how do you feel about Either/Or? What are your favorite songs on the album?