Elliott Smith’s ‘Either/Or’ Is Number 173 On The Billboard 200 Albums Chart
According to Billboard, Elliott Smith’s expanded Edition of ‘Either/Or’ has reached number 173 on the Billboard 200 albums chart! Each time a musician dies, we observe the same strange phenomenon, sales increase dramatically, and for the first time in nearly 10 years, Smith is back on the Billboard chart. ‘Either/Or’ was released in 1997, and never reached this kind of ranking until now, but the new release, a revamped version of his lo-fi album, is obviously getting a lot of attention and probably reaching a new public. According to Nielsen Music, ‘Either/Or’ entered with 5,000 other albums in the week ending March 16, with 4,000 of them in traditional album sales.
Of course the album features gems such as ‘Ballad of Big Nothing’, ‘Between the Bars’, ‘Angeles’… among many others and each song could become a classic like the beloved ‘Say Yes’, a song that fans were always requesting during live shows. This is also the album which made Gus Van Zant choose Elliott for a contribution to the soundtrack of his film ‘Good Will Hunting’ and later propelled the singer songwriter to fame when his song ‘Miss Misery’, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1998.
‘Either/Or’ is highly regarded by critics, and Pitchfork gave recently a 10 to the expanded edition. Of course, it is always cooler to raise the bar after a musician’s death, and I am curious how much they would have given to the album in 1997 if they had been around… for comparison they only gave a 6.9 to ‘Figure 8′ in 2000.
Personally, I don’t have a favorite Elliott Smith album, I love them all for different reasons, ‘Either/Or’ is certainly very intimate, almost disturbing at times, as if we were witnessing confessions we should not hear, and it is certainly one of his last lo-fi albums (after ‘Roman Candle’ and the self-titled album) as he switched to a more fully orchestrated recording with his next albums, ‘XO’, in 1998, then ‘Figure 8’ in 2000.
According to Billboard, ‘Either/Or’ sold with 429,000 copies including the 4,000 sold of the expanded title, and this is the second time he is on the Billboard chart, as his second posthumous album, ‘New Moon’ (released in 2007) peaked at Number 24 and spent six weeks on the Billboard 200.
Should I remind everyone that Elliott wrote all the songs and lyrics and even recorded all the instruments on this album? In these times when it often takes an entire town to record an album, it is something to ponder with awe.