Elliott Smith – Either/Or: #632 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Elliot Smith - Either-Or

Why is Elliott Smith’s Either/Or on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Watching the parade with pinpoint eyes full of smoldering anger.

Some stats & info about Elliott Smith – Either/Or

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Indie Pop, Singer Songwriter, Alternative Singer Songwriter
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #216
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Either/Or released? 1997
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #632 out of 1,000

Elliott Smith’s Either/Or on Spotify

So why is Elliott Smith’s Either/Or on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

This is an album of fascinating shades. Elliott Smith is a singer-songwriter with exceptional skills, heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Byrds but also steeped in the wonderfully melancholic Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon specifically) gloom.

“Between the Bars” is a stripped down, introspective number with relatively spare production, whereas “Pictures of Me” has a “bigger” sound – quite a departure from his earlier albums – that show off his willingness to experiment and evolve his sound over time.

“Angeles” was featured on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, and if you know anything about that movie, it was quite a phenomenon. “Angeles” is about Smith rejecting the capitalism he saw running rampant in LA versus what he presumably saw as a better lifestyle and culture in Portland.

The harmonies and unusual chord changes on “Alameda” are simply incredible.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Elliott Smith’s Either/Or

A few other things I should also point out about Elliott Smith – one amazing and one tragic.

The amazing thing is that he plays every instrument on Either/Or. He did this on his earlier albums as well, which was “easier” in that they were mostly acoustic guitar affairs. Either/or any which way, it’s rather impressive.

The tragic bit: Elliott Smith died from stab wounds in 2003, at the age of 34. While officially ruled a suicide, there remain open questions as to whether he was murdered. Smith had also battled what seemed like a fierce battle with drugs over the course of his adult life.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.