Monday, February 26, 2007

album of the day

Tales Of A Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection.

Tori Amos, eh? Phew. Slightly mental, records thoroughly marinated in oestrogen, freshly-expressed breast milk and various menstrual outpourings and covering such cheery subject matter as rape, incest and how men are generally, well, bastards. Or so the popular received wisdom goes. And it's not a million miles from the truth, to be fair.

This is a 2003 "best of" which summarises her career up to the point she parted company with her record label. It features remastered versions of most of her best-known stuff, as well as a couple of obscure B-sides and a couple of new songs. Tori Amos fans tend to be somewhat obsessive and opinionated and there was some disagreement over whether this was a representative compilation featuring her best work, or not. To the less monomaniacally devoted listener, though, this is a collection of some terrific songs, most of the best ones loaded towards the first half of the album, including the "proper" hits like Silent All These Years and Cornflake Girl. Plenty of spicy lyrics, particularly Silent All These Years ("So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts / What's so amazing about really deep thoughts / Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon / How's that thought for you?") and Winter, which appears on the surface to be about a young girl and her father's concern for her as she approaches adolescence ("When you gonna make up your mind / When you gonna love you as much as I do / When you gonna make up your mind / 'Cause things are gonna change so fast / All the white horses are still in bed"), but there's just the slightly queasy feeling that there might be something a bit less wholesome going on. Tremendously bonkers piano-bashing throughout as well.

The only false note is struck by the inclusion of the Armand van Helden remix of Professional Widow; a major hit single but not really a Tori Amos song in the incarnation included here, and slightly incongruous in this company. I suppose they had to put it in, though.

All powerfully intense stuff; you might want a quick blast of AC/DC or something afterwards, though, just to redress the hormonal balance a bit.

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