Friday, April 13, 2012

20 Essential Albums: Either/Or

Either/Or - Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith really came to my attention when he appeared on the soundtrack to Good Will Hunting in 1997, which prompted me to get his second album Either/Or, released that same year and on which two of the soundtrack songs also appear.

I felt an affinity for the quiet reflection in these songs, the strong emotion held close.  My appreciation of Elliott Smith represented some sort of maturing. No longer did I require the loud volume, the large living of my earlier years. Of course, the melancholy that appears in much of my favorite music is here as well.

It is easy to appreciate the simple instrumentation on the album, the reserved drums often holding back during the verses, acoustic guitar as the basis for everything, and an electric guitar only showing up once in a while.  “2:45 AM”, one of my absolute favorites, is a good example.  The whispered vocals over a quietly plucked and strummed acoustic.  The turnaround that rests before beginning again.  Then, three versus in, the drums show up, and you nod your head as Smith sings “Been pushed away and I’ll never come back” before the song fades away.

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