the POLL's in circles and circles and circles again: tori amos - 'under the pink' poll

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bells for her is intoxicating and perfect

you have to forgive me (surm), Saturday, 6 February 2010 19:08 (ten years ago) link

sry i just think that anyone who says Boys For Pele is the beginning of the end is crrrrazee

well wouldn't it be a boring old world if we all liked the same thing. Tried it, didn't like its wilful eccentricity and stretched-thin songwriting.

anagram, Saturday, 6 February 2010 19:54 (ten years ago) link

said this before but as much love as i have for earthquakes/pink, i still consider them the (relatively) conventional warm-ups to the pele/choirgirl/venus trilogy

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Saturday, 6 February 2010 19:59 (ten years ago) link

see, that's where those later records fall down for me. I agree w/you that the first two are relatively conventional. the problem is that she can't do unconventional – she just ends up sounding forced and trite.

anagram, Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:06 (ten years ago) link

i didn't like Boys For Pele at all in the beginning either. i found it hard to follow, too random and over-eccentric. but the open space in the songwriting (a style that actually resembles that of Yes, Anastasia), is a lot less contrived than it might first appear, and its eccentricity soon gives way to a baroque brand of classic simplicity.

you have to forgive me (surm), Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:07 (ten years ago) link

shit, had completely forgotten that the UTP era contains some of my favourite b-sides - basically everything on this EP is fucking golden. "honey" is just gorgeous - the way the piano and guitar intertwine with each other, that melody; "daisy dead petals" deceptively slight at first but sort of melts into something really beautiful; and "sister janet", with tori still at the stage where she could actually translate her penchant for mythology into something that sounds genuinely mystical.

only shitty live fan recordings on youtube! ugh. well it seems you can download all the bsides here anyway -

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:14 (ten years ago) link

also w/r/t to tori breaking with convention -- i would never say that she doesn't do well in unconventional territory, even though i understand that this can be the case at times. the first 2 albums are far less conventional than she makes them sound after repeated listens. that's why people took notice.

you have to forgive me (surm), Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:18 (ten years ago) link

^^^yeah exactly; to me, pele=>venus feel less like a conscious departure or switch-up in her style as the, uh, blossoming of an aesthetic that had always been latent - what made it compelling was how it seemed to be triggered both by the confidence of success (at no point in her more experimental albums does she seem tentative - there's a real certainty about what she's going for and a mastery in how she executes it) and the more talked-about necessity of successive personal tragedies.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:21 (ten years ago) link

though i still have no idea where some of her sonic ideas came from, i guess that's a discussion to be saved for when we come to it though

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Saturday, 6 February 2010 20:22 (ten years ago) link

I don't think there was a sudden left swerve with Boys For Pele actually - it seems to be roughly the size of the shift/expansion that UTP was on LE (and likewise Choirgirl vis a vis BFP). The relationship between Tori's piano playing and her actual songwriting is possibly at her loosest here, at least in part (see in particular the final five tracks), but the album's extremities are veiled somewhat by its manicured sound. I think what BFP did by comparison was make those qualities more explicit - the sound is much starker and the arrangements are mostly sparser, with most songs choosing to push a particular instrument or instrument combo (harpsichord, piano & strings, piano & horn) such that the sound appears to be more wideranging. It's like, if you used to paint with a large palette, and then you restrict yourself to just a couple of colours, then your choice of which colours to use will start to seem much more radical.

And I see Choirgirl as making different decisions again - it doesn't follow some line of logical development implied by BFP at all.

We really need a b-sides poll.

I'd be inclined to say:

Upside Down / Here In My Head / Honey >> Sister Janet / Flying Dutchman / Sugar / Alamo / Cooling >>> the others

Tim F, Saturday, 6 February 2010 23:12 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, "Cornflake Girl"'s hook is monstrous, even when you are overfed by it.

Under the Pink was the big space in my Tori love for years-- when I was a kid, I was more immediately attracted to the record with "Silent All These Years" and then to the weird long record with "Hey Jupiter," respectively. So I've only properly encountered Under the Pink in the past few years. The first half suffers wildly from this quiet-loud-quiet sequencing which I've heard explained as "the style at the time," which makes sense, because I've always seen Tori as simultaneously in lock-step with pop trends and completely anachronistic, i.e. Choirgirl being one among many late-'90s rock and pop flirtations with "electronics" but also it is so strange and naked compared to that grouping.

The second side of Pink, when it enters its spare piano suite, is real magic. I don't think I'll ever stop retrieving new sweet things out of it.

Brad Nelson (BradNelson), Saturday, 6 February 2010 23:31 (ten years ago) link

Also, it's a tie between "Cornflake Girl" and "Yes, Anastasia," which do such entirely different things, one is like a good friend you invite over occasionally though you bristle at their sizable collection of knives, and you occasionally find one in your back pocket, or in your fridge, splitting the roast, and the other is this, at first, cold and distant thing that, when you squint, suddenly grows and envelopes you and kind of feels like home, though it is a very fragile sort of home.

Brad Nelson (BradNelson), Saturday, 6 February 2010 23:35 (ten years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 7 February 2010 00:01 (ten years ago) link

Liking the idea of a Tori b-sides poll, especially the part about having to listen to a bunch of them again to make up my mind. If I had to pick without time to review, though, it's be "Sweet Dreams", with "Take to the Sky", "Upside Down", "Sugar" and "Flying Dutchman" close behind.

glenn mcdonald, Sunday, 7 February 2010 00:53 (ten years ago) link

always loved this, i guess v close second to choirgirl as my favorite of her albums? or my favorite, sometimes. i'm certain she's said 'honey' was supposed to be on the album and got kicked off at the very last minute, and she regrets that. i would've voted for that one, i think!

anyway, 'pretty good year.'

kicker conspiracy (b. favre ha ha) (daria-g), Sunday, 7 February 2010 01:42 (ten years ago) link

I will say this for "The Wrong Band" - it's a great example of that sense of generosity I was describing upthread. The way at the end it subsides into the "instead of just leaving..." bit and then rises again to the (totally new) "she says it's time I opened my eyes / don't be afraid to open your eyes / maybe she's right, maybe she's right / maybe she's right, maybe she's right." Which is just this totally triumphant (but about what???) storm-the-barricades climax for a song that seems mostly joking.

Tim F, Sunday, 7 February 2010 05:09 (ten years ago) link


honey = siren = here in my head > bachelorette > sister janet = purple people (christmas in space) = upside down > alamo > daisy dead petals = mountain >> the rest

("sugar" is terrific but it's the version on TVAB that i prefer)

(excluding covers - of non-SLG covers i guess i'd pick out "do it again", "landslide", "i'm on fire" and "angie")

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 10:26 (ten years ago) link

The first half suffers wildly from this quiet-loud-quiet sequencing which I've heard explained as "the style at the time,"

i didn't know it was a trend at the time! explains a lot.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 10:29 (ten years ago) link

Oh yeah I forgot about "Bachelorette" and esp. "Purple People"! I don't actually have "Siren" at the mo. What is "Mountain"?

Tim F, Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:29 (ten years ago) link

"mountain" is the song that was only available on the website you could only access with the scarlet's walk cd. i never did bother checking the site out! it's better than half the album, lol.

"siren"! everyone should d/l it, what an incredible song.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:39 (ten years ago) link

Lex did you ever hear her "Smells Like Teen Spirit"?

Tim F, Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:56 (ten years ago) link

yes! i really like it, even though i have basically no time for the original.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 12:03 (ten years ago) link

Ha i thought so!

My favourite cover though is "A Case Of You" I think - not flashy, but she gets it so intuitively right, right down to the tiniest nuances of phrasing, like the way she sings "you said, 'I am as contant as a northern star', and I said..." ever so slightly slower than the original, such that instead of Joni's suggestion of defensiveness it comes across as some kind of declamation - and then she sings "constantly in the darkness" with this perfect wry chuckle at the back of her throat.

People tend to underestimate and/or forget to draw attention to the subtlety of vocal performance at work.

Tim F, Sunday, 7 February 2010 12:12 (ten years ago) link

that's one i'm not sure i've ever heard!

yeah, she's a great interpretative artist - cf her conscious springsteen imitation on "i'm on fire" which highlights how the song is a pose, without losing any of its emotion. and i guess we'll cross the strange little girls bridge when we come to it...

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 12:26 (ten years ago) link

Lex, "A Case Of You":

Tim F, Sunday, 7 February 2010 13:03 (ten years ago) link

thx tim. i love the liberties she takes with original tracks, and how she frames them as perfectly natural - here, when she gasps "my blood - my holy wine - you taste so bitter and so sweet", revelling in the addiction where joni maintains at least a slight air of detachment.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Sunday, 7 February 2010 18:47 (ten years ago) link

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

System, Monday, 8 February 2010 00:01 (ten years ago) link

Cornflake Girl 1


"cloud on my tongue" got jobbed but this had the correct winner.

لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Monday, 8 February 2010 00:11 (ten years ago) link

Cornflake Girl 1

This was me.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Monday, 8 February 2010 14:46 (ten years ago) link

two months pass...

goddamn am I bummed I missed this. i'm with anagram -- this is her strongest record top-to-bottom. can't understand at all how this could disappoint after Little Earthquakes other than maybe there's nothing as singl-y as "Silent All These Years" and "Crucify"?

I probably would have voted "Yes, Anastasia," and I'm happy to discover that everyone loves "Pretty Good Year" and "God" as much as I do, but "Past The Mission" and "Cloud On My Tongue" definitely got a raw deal here. Dunno tho... I think the only track I couldn't see myself voting for would be "Bells for Her"...

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Sunday, 18 April 2010 04:21 (ten years ago) link

eight years pass...

one vote for cornflake girl is pretty lol

Ross, Monday, 27 August 2018 16:34 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

This album is amazing, can't believe I slept on it so long. She covers a lot of ground but executes it all so well - I don't think there's a weak track here.

"The Waitress" reminds me a lot of 90s Nine Inch Nails and would have come out around the time of Downward Spiral, to the point where I thought maybe he had influenced her or vice versa. I couldn't find anything where she talked about it, but in the process discovered Reznor sang backup vocals on "Past the Mission"! Neat little coincidence

Vinnie, Monday, 7 October 2019 12:11 (nine months ago) link

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