boy you better make her raspberry POLL: Tori Amos - From The Choirgirl Hotel poll

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
Playboy Mommy 3
Hotel 3
Jackie's Strength 3
Liquid Diamonds 2
iieee 2
Spark 1
Raspberry Swirl 1
Cruel 1
Pandora's Aquarium 1
She's Your Cocaine 0
Northern Lad 0
Black-Dove (January) 0


لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:17 (eleven years ago) link

playboy mommy

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:22 (eleven years ago) link

so this is probably my default favourite tori amos album, and therefore my default favourite album of the 90s. it's certainly amos at the height of her powers - somehow both her most accessible and her most experimental.

huge, huge turnaround from her previous work in that, having previously used a full band only occasionally, and mostly almost as an afterthought, the use of not just the band but weird electronic excursions on from the choirgirl hotel is so full-blooded and committed - "spark" for example is structurally and melodically a classic amos ballad but the surging arrangement lends it a real extra power. the whole album is really percussive - even on the ballads, the sense of rhythm is extraordinary.

anyway, lots to choose from! probably her most accomplished example of songcraft, "playboy mommy"; the aqueous percussion-and-bass of "liquid diamonds"; the deeply fucking weird electronic/structural mentalism of "iieee" and "hotel"; the, uh, cock-rock pastiche of "she's your cocaine"; the way she reacted to the van helden remix by making a pounding house joint herself - and pulling it off, "raspberry swirl" is a banger:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXjMgolX3IM

i can't choose, like, at all.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:25 (eleven years ago) link

fuck i forgot about jackie's strength

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:28 (eleven years ago) link

and i just voted

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:28 (eleven years ago) link

"jackie's strength" is so pretty, the way the chorus floats like a memory

"liquid diamonds"!! so luxurious.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:36 (eleven years ago) link

Pretty sure I'll be voting for "Jackie's Strength"... a gutpunch wrapped forget-me-nots...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXEsAb_jEEg

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 16:39 (eleven years ago) link

It's gonna come down to "Liquid Diamonds" vs "Hotel" vs "Playboy Mommy" for me.

Tim F, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:42 (eleven years ago) link

playboy mommy

lol +1 ainc fuiud

alt-3, gold & silver (Lamp), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

excuse me?

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:47 (eleven years ago) link

wanna try that with words?

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:49 (eleven years ago) link

"hotel" is all kinds of next level, eh

all-beef patty hearst (donna rouge), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:49 (eleven years ago) link

that one or the BANGER

all-beef patty hearst (donna rouge), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:49 (eleven years ago) link

cocaine?

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:50 (eleven years ago) link

banger = rasp swirl; i tend to skip "she's yr cocaine" tbh

all-beef patty hearst (donna rouge), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:51 (eleven years ago) link

raspberry swirl is cool but it's a little too much for me sometimes.

hotel is stunning

big (surm), Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:53 (eleven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 23:01 (eleven years ago) link

Lots of great choices, but "Jackie's Strength" takes it. My favorite song on my favorite album of the 90s.

glenn mcdonald, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 03:39 (eleven years ago) link

"iieee" is perhaps the most desperate chorus she's ever written, which is saying something given all of Boys for Pele.

Brad Nelson (BradNelson), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 04:32 (eleven years ago) link

"iieee" also sort of summarizes everything I like about the record as a whole in one song (riveting percussion of unknown origin, mellotron (?) (really just indicative of Tori conveying through venues other than Bosendorfer and harpsichord, which at the time was exciting as hell and did not yet suggest how she would bore me with her Rhodes throughout the '00s), Tori a mass of raw nerves and existential rage/dissatisfaction).

Brad Nelson (BradNelson), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 04:39 (eleven years ago) link

yeah otm, and it's soooo amazing in the second chorus when she manages to somehow ramp the desperation up even more by adding those extra lines - "in this chapel, little chapel of love, can't we get a little grace and some elegance" - where you'd swear there was no room for any more words. i love the lyrics too - all these jarring words and images thrown together in deeply odd ways - "need a lipgloss boost in your america/is it god's, is it yours, sweet saliva" - but in such a way that they're evocative and poetic rather than nonsense or weird for weirdness' sake.

i often wonder what the hell drugs she was on in the '96-'99 years. i mean "iieee" would suggest e, at any rate.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 10:53 (eleven years ago) link

"Spark" vs. "Raspberry Swirl" vs. "Liquid Diamonds" vs. "Hotel"...

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 14:16 (eleven years ago) link

i am going to log into my old handle to vote for jackie's strength, since i mistakenly opted for playboy mommy in the beginning.

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 14:33 (eleven years ago) link

hmm it won't let me . some bullshit

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 14:35 (eleven years ago) link

Jackie's Strength is a seriously beautiful song, gorgeous video, but completely out of place on this murky, menacing album. See also "Northern Lad" and "1,000 Oceans" on the next one.

I vote "Hotel" with runners up "Spark", "Liquid Diamonds" and (out of competition) "Purple People".

Great album!

Megadeth Panel (Ówen P.), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:09 (eleven years ago) link

shit, "purple people", yes. also "bachelorette" (not a björk cover, a slightly tipsy-sounding tango about going to paris on your own) and "do it again" (completely stunning, full-blooded steely dan cover with some heavy, heavy bass and drum fills). goddamn i wish she'd let non-live versions of her songs on youtube.

idk about "jackie's strength" being out of place; what i still find astonishing about this album is how much stylistic ground it covers without ever seeming incoherent - part of this is due to the singularity of her voice, of course, but whereas her previous work had covered a relatively narrow range of styles, here we suddenly - and for no apparent reason - have full-blooded soft rock balladry ("spark"), fairly conventional-for-the-time trip-hop ("cruel"), completely unconventional and experimental electronica ("iieee", "hotel"), country balladry ("playboy mommy"), bluesy cock-rock ("she's your cocaine"), and weird aqueous jazz ("liquid diamonds", "pandora's aquarium"). so a couple of fairly conventional - indeed unusually accessible - singer-songwritery piano ballads don't really seem out of place; if anything "spark" and "jackie's strength" sort of anchor the album in what's gone before it...

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:28 (eleven years ago) link

and duh straight-up HOUSE MUSIC in "raspberry swirl" obv

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:29 (eleven years ago) link

i still find this album too hard in its sound. the perfectionist slant is impressive, but somewhat rigid to my ears.

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:32 (eleven years ago) link

i think she could have used a little more vocal backing on some of these tunes to soften the sound, along the lines of " God " on " Under The Pink." i find it strange that a song as perfectly composed as Black-Dove or Spark isn't even more beautiful. they are gorgeous, but they should be breath-taking.

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:44 (eleven years ago) link

see, i do find them breathtaking, and prefer them to "god" - possibly because they're less soft. it's kind of impossible to play choirgirl quietly - her voice is right at the front of the mix, the percussion booms and echoes so much, that it really fills the room, which i find magnifies the emotional effect...

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:54 (eleven years ago) link

for me this is

pandora's aquarium vs. iieee vs. liquid diamonds.

I'll go with Pandora's Aquarium tbh.

Turangalila, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:59 (eleven years ago) link

Side note: I love this album (favorite Tori), was a huge fan in high school (1999-2003) but sold all my Tori stuff due to very poor associations with a certain someone I dated. Actually haven't bought any of it back, but I think now may be the time. I'm longing to hear this album again, in particular.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 16:07 (eleven years ago) link

xp, yeah, lex, i wasn't trying to say that i prefer God as a song, just that there are certain production values about it that i like

2 guys 1 gag (surm), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 16:18 (eleven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 23:01 (eleven years ago) link

Pretty happy with these results. I ended up going for "Playboy Mommy", it was gonna be that or "Liquid Diamonds" I think.

Tim F, Thursday, 8 April 2010 07:29 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

only just saw this revive. it really is remarkable, the relative lack of interest in her. as i think i've said before, i think she is the only artist for whom the tim finney seal of approval has failed to work on ilm.

lex pretend, Sunday, 14 August 2011 23:24 (ten years ago) link

But that's only because she herself has made it taboo to like her, once glamazombie Shirley MacLaine took over.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Sunday, 14 August 2011 23:38 (ten years ago) link

Good write-up, Lex.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Sunday, 14 August 2011 23:45 (ten years ago) link

^ yes good piece lex!

one of my favorite albums ever ever ever

i genuinely thought when i first joined that he was the admin (ilxor), Monday, 15 August 2011 00:18 (ten years ago) link

she really has fallen off though i think.

lex i'd be curious to hear yr thoughts on anything from The Beekeeper forward... last one i liked a good bit was Scarlet

i genuinely thought when i first joined that he was the admin (ilxor), Monday, 15 August 2011 00:19 (ten years ago) link

Between this and the Teedra Moses piece lex is smashing it at the moment.

Tim F, Monday, 15 August 2011 00:24 (ten years ago) link

http://bit.ly/nVc16d Love this part of Pandora's Aquarium - one of her only songs not ruined by production.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 15 August 2011 00:51 (ten years ago) link

lol wrong link http://bit.ly/rjeZuD

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 15 August 2011 00:51 (ten years ago) link

Also, I had forgotten how much I adore the synth sound on Purple People. Is that synth sax?

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 15 August 2011 00:53 (ten years ago) link

lol there are 17 people on ILX who voted in a Tori Amos poll. #lossofrespect

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Monday, 15 August 2011 01:43 (ten years ago) link

It's a Mellotron!

lil wayne newton (Ówen P.), Monday, 15 August 2011 01:52 (ten years ago) link

Makes sense. You need to cover that song.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 15 August 2011 02:11 (ten years ago) link

I always thought it was a tenor put through some filtering, hahaha.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 15 August 2011 02:43 (ten years ago) link

lex i'd be curious to hear yr thoughts on anything from The Beekeeper forward... last one i liked a good bit was Scarlet

my thoughts on her 00s output:

strange little girls - i like this! some really interesting ideas, the fact that it was a concept album AND a covers album kinda balanced out the potential negatives of each - i loved how she turned all the originals inside out, a lot of the time it was using the cover version as an aggressive tactic to challenge the original song. her eminem cover is one of the most incredible things, also love "rattlesnakes"

scarlet's walk - this was my first active disappointment when i heard it cuz it seemed so conservative and unexperimental, a regression from the path she'd seemed to be going down. but it really does sound very, very lovely at its best - stuff like the last minute of "virginia" is next-level prettiness. i love a good two-thirds of this album, only complaint is length! some good b-sides scattered around the various EPs and web-only shiz that accompanied it - "seaside", "mountain" etc

the beekeeper - dreadful, i prefer not to think about it. iirc there was one song i'd salvage but i haven't got the faintest idea which one it was

american doll posse - this is actually good! overlong and you can lop off a good quarter of it but less than you'd assume. some absolutely gorgeous, light, drifting songs - "bouncing off clouds", "beauty of speed" - and some really awesome dark, brooding ones - "code red", "smokey joe". "teenage hustling" is pretty fierce and "big wheel" as about as great a POP SONG as she's ever written. "i am a M-I-L-F, don't you forget" lol

abnormally attracted to sin - not as bad as the beekeeper but i can't really remember much about it and can't fully cosign an album with that title :/

the xmas album - yeah, no

lex pretend, Monday, 15 August 2011 12:31 (ten years ago) link

Oh Tori, be less terrible.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:29 (ten years ago) link

These songs are leaving me less than optimistic.

I've been revisiting American Doll Posse and Scarlet's Walk, and they're much stronger albums than I initially gave them credit for. She just needs to edit. From the Choirgirl Hotel is an example of her putting out an album with no filler, and thus making it her greatest piece of work.

thinveneer, Thursday, 18 August 2011 20:15 (ten years ago) link

boys for pele is also 18 tracks but i don't think i'd consider any of them filler

mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Thursday, 18 August 2011 20:16 (ten years ago) link

I haven't listened to Boys for Pele in ages, so I don't really remember if i considered some tracks as filler. Except for "Mr. Zebra" which I hate hate hate (I know Tori fans love it).

thinveneer, Thursday, 18 August 2011 20:38 (ten years ago) link

As for her first two albums, they're nice and compact but I don't think they have the level of songwriting that Choirgirl has. I mean, when I listen to "Crucify" now I just feel like a sullen teenage girl being talked down to.

thinveneer, Thursday, 18 August 2011 20:44 (ten years ago) link

"she needs to edit" OTM

clams cassingle (donna rouge), Thursday, 18 August 2011 20:59 (ten years ago) link

wow just hearing ..Doll Posse for the first time after lex's recommendation upthread and some of it's great! much better than 'Venus..' for example.

piscesx, Thursday, 18 August 2011 21:31 (ten years ago) link

The strongest Tori records seem to have been borne out of a period of intense personal drama

idk about that - it's the accepted wisdom but y'know i loved to venus and back which was written and recorded after she moved to cornwall in marital bliss etc. i think her more disappointing choices have been down to getting old and surrounding herself by the same small team who don't push her out of her comfort zone.

agree w/ lex here. i haven't listened to anything beyond Scarlet's Walk with careful ears though. also, To Venus & Back is gorgeous

i genuinely thought when i first joined that he was the admin (ilxor), Saturday, 20 August 2011 17:36 (ten years ago) link

OK, so To Venus And Back is an exception. Even then, best tracks on it strip-mine certain dramatic life-events ("Bliss", "Glory of the 80s", "1000 Oceans")
I can't think of any other singer-songwriter for whom the adjective "confessional" is so often applied, and accurately.
Lex you yourself focused on the irl drama as reflected in "Spark", "Playboy Mommy"
I'm not saying she can't write a fictional song, or an observational song ("Josephine", "Juarez" are both 100% amazing, plus hundreds more)
But when I see the quintessential "confessional" singer-songwriter getting all mundane, as in those clips above, I feel similar to how I feel about latter-day Alanis
i.e. "she seems to be doing well"

I am bordering on uncomfortable talking about this, ha!

Ban or Astro-Ban? (Ówen P.), Saturday, 20 August 2011 17:49 (ten years ago) link

What would be bestest, of course, would be if she completely turn her back on any cult-of-personality appeal and instead play to beat Meredith Monk at her own game

Ban or Astro-Ban? (Ówen P.), Saturday, 20 August 2011 17:52 (ten years ago) link

^^inclined to agree

also HB tori! she's 48 today.

horribly formed jokes...in my display name? (donna rouge), Monday, 22 August 2011 19:28 (ten years ago) link

Ugh. To Venus and Back is like, the worst thing ever.

The Not Liking Radiohead Awards (Turangalila), Monday, 22 August 2011 19:53 (ten years ago) link

american doll posse - this is actually good! overlong and you can lop off a good quarter of it but less than you'd assume. some absolutely gorgeous, light, drifting songs - "bouncing off clouds", "beauty of speed" - and some really awesome dark, brooding ones - "code red", "smokey joe". "teenage hustling" is pretty fierce and "big wheel" as about as great a POP SONG as she's ever written.

^^ vigorously otm, i was worried about the direction she was going in after "the beekeeper" but a large percentage of the songs here are really strong.

speaking of "the beekeeper," that album really rubbed me the wrong way, production and songwriting both. the first thirty seconds of "cars and guitars," for example -- ergh it makes me itch.

sea jasper, a vagina, rose quartz and quartz (reddening), Tuesday, 23 August 2011 07:27 (ten years ago) link

Lex you yourself focused on the irl drama as reflected in "Spark", "Playboy Mommy"

i guess the thing, especially with "playboy mommy", is how she wove the confessional into the fictional/observational so well: i think she performs in such a confessional way that it's been easy to overlook how a ton of her actual words actively shy away from it. and on TVAB, the IRL events she drew on for "bliss" and "glory of the 80s" were memories more than stuff actually happening to her at that time, while eg "lust" and "concertina" showed that she could still channel her contentment into exciting music.

i think what she's lost since then is whatever enabled her to throw completely oblique, batshit stuff out there as though it was totally normal: starting from SLG, what's characterised her approach to her work is her insistence on over-explaining it. i don't really know what that quality was in the first place - not giving a shit about "meaning"? taking loads of psychotropic drugs? i've never heard meredith monk but i agree that i'd like to see her ambition channelled into her music more than the concepts.

lex pretend, Tuesday, 23 August 2011 14:42 (ten years ago) link

Last para OTM. And whether this is just a resulting perception or reflective of something underlying, I think the insistence on these overarching album concepts makes it harder for the listener to care about any song as a song - the length of the albums also being an issue here.

Worth noting that Under The Pink is not a confessional album at all with the exception of "Icicle" (maybe "Bells For Her") and works brilliantly.

Tim F, Tuesday, 23 August 2011 20:11 (ten years ago) link

what's fun about boys for pele is that she deals with all these terrible, recent events in her life at a tremendous rhetorical distance, so there's a kind of confessional vertigo

choirgirl is a bit more literal and grounded but that also serves the material there.

mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 04:46 (ten years ago) link

what's fun about boys for pele is that she deals with all these terrible, recent events in her life at a tremendous rhetorical distance, so there's a kind of confessional vertigo

haha this is so OTM.

Tim F, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 09:59 (ten years ago) link

I've been occupied and haven't had enough time to think this through and form an appropriate response
But basically, yeah, lex OTM, I feel my statements above were superficial

Ban or Astro-Ban? (Ówen P.), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:31 (ten years ago) link

i think what she's lost since then is whatever enabled her to throw completely oblique, batshit stuff out there as though it was totally normal

my friend was annoyed at the title track of "the beekeeper" for this reason -- the metaphors for watching a loved one nearly die just...drop into literal depiction partway through. In your gown with your breathing mask on / plugged into a heart machine / as if you ever needed one. that said, i relistened to "the beekeeper" the other night after complaining about it here, and the title track is easily my favorite: moody & atmospheric with a sense of real tension that dissipates with the "maybe I'm passing you by" part at the end.

FLIP FLOPPING HILL BILLY! (reddening), Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:51 (ten years ago) link

seven years pass...

"iieee" sure is something

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 June 2019 14:59 (two years ago) link

No votes for "Black-Dove"???

geoffreyess, Saturday, 1 June 2019 18:30 (two years ago) link

Only one each for "Spark" and "Raspberry Swirl" shocks me more.

Herman Woke (cryptosicko), Saturday, 1 June 2019 18:33 (two years ago) link

Northern Lad got nil points?!

kinder, Saturday, 1 June 2019 19:10 (two years ago) link

Brad was OTM about “Black-Dove” above, it’s maybe the weakest song here for all its melodrama.

Also Brad and Lex and I all OTM above to the effect that thinking of TA’s work (after the debut, at least) as “confessional” really misses something crucial about it.

Tim F, Monday, 3 June 2019 23:18 (two years ago) link

Women with pianos get pegged as the Confessional Ones.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 3 June 2019 23:22 (two years ago) link

I don't really ever listen to Tori Amos, but I have really fond memories of a show I saw her do, as the trio with Matt Chamberlain, in a small venue behind From the Choir Girl Hotel. It, like the album itself, just sounds so good.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 3 June 2019 23:23 (two years ago) link

Anyone read the 'Pele' book? It had been delayed *for a decade* so i'm hoping it's decent.

piscesx, Monday, 3 June 2019 23:26 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

"spark" is the most amazing song ever made

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:00 (three weeks ago) link

Brad was OTM about “Black-Dove” above, it’s maybe the weakest song here for all its melodrama.

i'm not so sure i'm otm about this. think maybe my entire relationship with this record is a little distorted by towering expectations i had for it after falling in love with pele and only being able to hear "spark," "jackie's strength," and "raspberry swirl" for a year before i was able to buy the album (why i was prevented from purchasing albums for a period of time when i was a teenager is a long story), anyway the moral of the story is every single thing the piano does in "black dove" is astonishing

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:03 (three weeks ago) link

Let's go.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:06 (three weeks ago) link

i think i wrote a really bad essay ten years ago about how i had a sexual awakening to "raspberry swirl"

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:08 (three weeks ago) link

and folks.....................that's why i'm trans

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:08 (three weeks ago) link

i think i wrote a really bad essay ten years ago about how i had a sexual awakening to "raspberry swirl"

― STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson),

using Hollinghurst's prose as a model

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 21:19 (three weeks ago) link

I still really like "Black-Dove" and agree the piano in it is amazing, I mostly just find the transitions between the spooky bits and the loud bits a bit clunky - compare with the sense of sheer inevitability of the build-up on tunes like "Mother" and "Icicle", or the way that the disparate sections of "Father Lucifer" or "Professional Widow" really play off each other productively.

I realise the slightly jarring nature of the transitions in "Black-Dove" is the probably the whole point, but I feel like "Hotel" manages that kind of structure better, by really leaning into the disjointed, alien feel, opening up this mutating swamp of pure need. "Hotel" feels like it's trying to move beyond Tori's typical songwriting approach entirely, whereas "Black-Dove" feels a bit like a halfway house - it still wants to resemble a more "traditional" piano tune telling some kind of coherent story.

(probably doesn't help that "you're not a helicopter / you're not a cop out either" has always bugged me, even though I get what she's trying to say)

Tim F, Thursday, 7 October 2021 01:21 (two weeks ago) link

So of course (inspired by this thread) I listened again this morning and "black-dove" didn't seem nearly as clunky as it does in my head. It's really only the first "but I have to get to texas" section that feels forced to me. Sympathetically, it feels like an attempt to fuse together a lot of disparate ideas she had previously explored.

OTOH:

anyway instead of talking about that we could talk about the piano breakdown in "hotel" and how i can't believe that it's played in any earthly time signature

― mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:58 (ten years ago) link

which, is it 5/4? it's just played so well that you get lost in it

― mutant slow drum (BradNelson), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:05 (ten years ago) link

10/8?

― clams cassingle (donna rouge), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:10 (ten years ago) link

This bit is so fucked up in the best way.

Counting it out in my head, it feels like the bars for the first cycle of "where are the velvets" bridge go 10/8, 12/8, 10/8 and then 13/8, then for the second run-through it switches to 10/8 throughout, and then immediately switches to 4/4 for the "you were wild, where are you now?" section - but none of this ever feels remotely jarring!

Tim F, Friday, 8 October 2021 00:59 (two weeks ago) link

went looking to see if anyone transcribed it and this has it as basically what tim describes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFMQtRm2R_A

whole channel is filled with tori covers & transcriptions, really glad to have found it

ufo, Friday, 8 October 2021 01:19 (two weeks ago) link

So of course (inspired by this thread) I listened again this morning and "black-dove" didn't seem nearly as clunky as it does in my head.

I did the same (for the first time in MANY years) and those transitions read to me as something like another iteration of what she'd already done with the bridge of "Pretty Good Year". Not in a lazy sense at all, more in the sense of "reaching into one's bag". (An aside: not sure if anyone was better at writing bridges than Tori circa '92-'98.) "Black-Dove" also a much better song overall than I'd remembered it being, though the me of 1998 would've voted "Jackie's Strength" (which seems heavy-handed now, but then, I was an actual teenager in 1998) and the me of 2021 is all in on "Spark" (speaking of killer bridges).

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Friday, 8 October 2021 02:06 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah bridges - or if not always technically bridges then a profusion of new melodic sections and overlays appearing in the second halves of songs - was her secret weapon. You can hear Taylor Swift leaning into this style on recent tunes like "August" and "Ivy", but the other parallel I think of sometimes is Xenomania. If Tori had ever moonlighted as a pop songwriter she might have ended up producing tunes a bit like Sugababes' "Ace Reject".

Tim F, Friday, 8 October 2021 02:28 (two weeks ago) link

it's a bit of a shame to me that "hotel", which is my favourite on the album, ultimately ended up being an extreme of her sound, having pushed her songwriting as far as she could, & not a branching off point for all sorts of new ideas. she did keep playing around with electronics on to venus and back but none of the songs on that come close to "hotel".

ufo, Friday, 8 October 2021 02:55 (two weeks ago) link

imo: "datura"

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:03 (two weeks ago) link

but yeah it is a shame that there are not more tori songs like it, and that she retreated from this sound pretty much entirely

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:05 (two weeks ago) link

the thing about "spark"'s bridge that makes it even better somehow is that it feeds right into that stretched out version of the chorus, where every line just builds on the already overwhelming emotion of the previous: "you thought that you were the bomb yes well so did i / say you don't want it / say you don't want it / again and again / but you DON'T / DON'T really mean it." and then i love the way it deflates after that, exhausted, and retreats back into the first verse. ugh. "spark." it's the greatest song of all time

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:10 (two weeks ago) link

If Tori had ever moonlighted as a pop songwriter

Ha, while I was thinking about bridges earlier today, I briefly considered an alternate reality in which instead of going solo after Y Kant Tori Read, Tori became an industry writer who was brought in on other peoples' sessions as a specialist in fixing the problem of "this song has two parts, but should have three", had a solid 8-10 year run of cowriting credits, then got forced into retirement by Swedish Math.

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:11 (two weeks ago) link

xp Exactly this. "Spark" is so, so good.

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:12 (two weeks ago) link

"Datura" goes further on paper, but in reality it feels more in the tradition of "cruel" / "iieee" / "juarez" / "riot poof" but with a long spoken-word section. That's not a criticism, as all of those songs are great, but there's a sense of them using obliqueness as a strategy, as if one of the aspects of trip hop that really fired Tori up was how the apparent diffusion of the songwriting impulse into production (like aspirin dropped into a glass of water) resulted in moodscapes where tension is creeping and cumulative, where the song weaves around the listeners rather than confronting them head-on.

"Hotel" can't be described in those terms IMO. At a vibe level it's more like techno than trip-hop, a direct attack with the filters pushed into the red throughout. I wonder if Tori ever got into the big singles from Beaucoup Fish?

Tim F, Friday, 8 October 2021 03:17 (two weeks ago) link

i would probably bargain with satan to have more music that sounds like "hotel," maybe it's good that we only have one. keeps us humble

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:17 (two weeks ago) link

yeah as soon as i mentioned "datura" i should've been like disclaimer: "datura" is not a funhouse ride through progtronica

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:18 (two weeks ago) link

there's a sound effect on "hotel" that reminds me directly of a song on the passengers album but that is probably a coincidence

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:24 (two weeks ago) link

Ha, while I was thinking about bridges earlier today, I briefly considered an alternate reality in which instead of going solo after Y Kant Tori Read, Tori became an industry writer who was brought in on other peoples' sessions as a specialist in fixing the problem of "this song has two parts, but should have three", had a solid 8-10 year run of cowriting credits, then got forced into retirement by Swedish Math.

― New York Review of Wooks (swim), Friday, 8 October 2021 03:11 (five minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah! "Tear In Your Hand" is always the go-to example for me, the way it appears to start as a fairly conventional post-Elton John pop song and gradually, almost imperceptibly becomes more ambitious and complicated: the way the melodic shifts are so intimately locked into the shifts in the lyrics (e.g. "maybe it's time to wave goodbye now" or "I know, I know you well - well, better than I used to...") as well as into each other. Until you realise that she's also picking up (consciously or otherwise) on the compositional ambition of Rickie Lee Jones' "Living It Up" and "Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)" but replacing the vertigo of those tunes with a kind of sweep-of-inevitability, more convertible sports car speeding through the Alps than rollercoaster.

Tim F, Friday, 8 October 2021 03:29 (two weeks ago) link

I never even noticed the uneven beats in the bridge of "Hotel"! The rhythmic displacement in this song that I always loved was her phrasing of "I guess that what I'm seeking, guess that what I'm seeking...isn't here."

a profusion of new melodic sections and overlays

"Almost Rosey" on American Doll Posse is the song of hers I always think of this way. Each new section introduces rhythmic, harmonic and melodic ideas to the song to increase its intensity; it's like a series of bets being laid down, and she wins each one.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 8 October 2021 15:30 (two weeks ago) link


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