Elliott Smith: Either/Or: Expanded Edition (Kill Rock Stars)

Elliott Smith
Either/Or: Expanded Edition
(Kill Rock Stars)

Elliott Smith’s last studio album for the Kill Rock Stars label finally gets a proper re-release 20 years later, complete with some cool added music.

‘Either/Or,’ Smith’s third album, was as well received as his two previous records and helped cement his reputation as one of his generation’s strongest songwriters. Though this one didn’t have the major label backing that its followup would have, the record managed to find a fan in director Gus Van Sant, who borrowed three of the tracks from this album for “Good Will Hunting.” Listening back two decades later, it’s easy to see the appeal. This album is as close to perfect as you could ask for. From the opening chords of “Speed Trials” to the album closer, the brief (just over two minutes) but beautiful “Say Yes,” Smith’s voice is stripped down and haunting throughout the record. Lyrically, he’s up there with Dylan and Townes Van Zandt.

This special edition includes a second CD of live tracks and previously unreleased and rare studio recordings.