Monday, December 04, 2006


Song: Humpty-Dumpty
Artist: Tori Amos
Album: China (Single

Tori Amos is a love her or hate her artist. You either dig her off the wall (to totally incomprehensible) lyrics, or find them cloying or even frustrating. When Tori burst on the scene with her sophomore album “Little Earthquakes,” she was a revelation to me in high school. Her subsequent albums have been a bit all over the place, at times I thought she lost her mind (“Boys For Pele”) that she had lost her touch (”To Venus & Back”) and then that she had made the best record of her career (“Scarlet’s Walk”) only to follow it up with her absolute worst (“The Beekeeper.”) [Tori has been many things but never this boring.]

What got me really hooked on Tori in the beginning wasn’t just how different and powerful (not to mention oddly catchy) that “Little Earthquakes” and “Under the Pink” were, but the myriad of amazing b-sides that could be found on the CD singles released during this time. B-Sides are of course the extra songs that were recorded during the time of an album but left off the official release for whatever reason. Only semi-obsessed music dorks like yours truly really pay attention to b-sides, but sometimes they offer an interesting glimpse into the creative process. The formula truly goes, great album, good b-sides, bad album, AWFUL b-sides.

Late September Tori released her fist box set called “A Piano” which collected many of her best known b-sides, alternate versions, and live cuts from all of her albums. Five CD’s of unabashed Tori, which may be way too much for the casual listener. I actually haven’t gotten the collection yet, as I own most of it already… but am still interested in getting it at some point. I have enjoyed, since its release, seeing fan boards go ablaze with typically crazy Tori fans arguing over what was included, what was excluded, etc. (Tori fans are particularly obsessive.) While a glance at the track list seemed pretty extensive by my knowledge, I did miss her fun cover/re-write of “Humpty Dumpty,” which was released on the “China” single. If you’re a casual fan, and maybe love “Little Earthquakes” but get lost in her further catalog, I would highly recommend both the “China” and “Winter” singles as they comprise the best of Tori’s b-side output from this period.


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