Twenty years on from its initial release, Elliott Smith’s much-beloved third album Either / Or receives an Expanded Edition reissue. As well as the original album in remastered form, this edition adds a disc of 1997 live recordings and as-yet-unreleased studio recordings. Double CD reissue out on Universal, with a double vinyl edition to follow in May.
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10/10 The Doc Customer review, 1st March 2017
This is Elliott Smith's best album by a country mile, and my favourite record ever. It sounds trite, but to me every single song on here is absolutely perfect. It's the ideal bridge between the skeletal sparseness of his early work and the lush studio orchestration of his later stuff, which is a touch over-produced for me.
There are some wonderful acoustic songs on here - not least the booze-stained Between the Bars ("Drink up baby, stay up all night/with the things you could do - you won't, but you might"), the spectrally beautiful Angeles ("Someone's always coming around here, trailing some new kill" and the claustrophobic, desolate 2.45 a.m. ("Holding onto whatever's around/the soaring high or the crushing down....." Other highlights are the breezy pop of Ballad Of Big Nothing ("All spit and spite/you're up all night and down every day"), the druggy drawl of Punch and Judy ("I used to like it here/now it just bums me out to remember") and the self-loathing of Rose Parade ("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 streets/I'll be the only shit that's left behind).
The melodies and harmonies on here are achingly lovely, the vocals so hushed and fragile they're almost whispered, and the lyrics unrelentingly, heartbreakingly sad. I've got an original pressing so won't need to be buying this, but this is a record that is crying out to be heard on vinyl, and I'd urge anyone who's not heard it to pick up a copy immediately. If you've never heard Elliott Smith before, do yourself a favour and order this now.
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- Either/Or: Expanded Edition by Elliott Smith
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