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album analysis - Cynthia Careccia Album Analysis Elliott...

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Cynthia Careccia 10/22/07 Album Analysis Elliott Smith’s album Either/Or Elliott Smith’s album, Either/Or , is a compilation of ballads and slow moving simplistic songs. His monotonous sort of a haunting voice creates sadness, peacefulness, and a state of mellowness when heard. Themes that are dominant in his music are Sadness/Emptiness, Journey, and Personal Events. They give off a lot of emotion. It is hard to understand some of his lyrics, because they seem to pertain to just him, not anyone else. It’s a very personal album. As you go throughout each song in the album, you discover a new part of Elliott Smith. The first few songs are about his childhood, the next evolve to his young adult years and music career, and later they seem to be random moments, but about love and desire. He shares how he felt during the beginning of his career and points in his life that mattered most. In the midst of his personal songs, a few about love are involved, but more are dealing with sadness. In the song “Speed Trials,” Smith’s lyrics capture the essence of a child, wanting to explore new things each day, but always coming back to the same thing it’s not afraid of, whatever it is. The first stanza, with the lines, “In the cathedral with the glass stained back, singing sweet high notes that echo back, to destroy their master,” is implying that the chorus’s lyrics heard in the church are reverberating to inflict some kind of damage or message to their audience. Their real master may be God, but the people sitting in the church may also be channeling their excitement and anxiety to sing to the crowd. The boy that Smith is talking to in the song is sitting patiently, possibly in a pew, but his thoughts are running around in his head.
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He can’t stay still for much longer, “running speed trials still standing in place.” The theme in this song is “Journey” or a passage of time.
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