Pretty Good Career

(rant-mode enabled.)

Ahh, Tori. Were it not for you, I may have never been as obscenely fascinated with music as I am today. You were my adolescent obsession, and I still have all 8 copies of the first pressing of your third album, Boys For Pele. (The reason why is even sillier, and too irrelevant to post here.) Nonetheless, "Caught A Lite Sneeze" is still the greatest music video ever, largely because it can still give me a pleasurable feeling of vertigo every time I watch it. "1,000 Oceans" will always remind me of how I cried over getting dumped when I first heard the song, and "God" will never cease to produce an extended bite of the lower lip. Once one of the most interesting artists of the 90s in all creative facets - sonically, album concept, artwork, music videos, tour setlists, etc. - her die-hard fanbase wore the badge of their obsession like a purple heart.

Now, sInce the release of her last LP,The Beekeeper, in 2005, I've been on a steady decline from Tori Amos fandom, believing that album to be the material example of all that went wrong with her career.

Perhaps after the first two albums, something happened to her during: the creation of the untameable Boys For Pele (break-up, and [unexpected?] secret pregnancy at the end of its tour); the completion the four elements with From the Choirgirl Hotel (miscarriage); the making of the always-iffy "double-album," To Venus And Back (married her sound engineer); the release of the questionably fascinating album Scarlet's Walk (had a baby).

I think...she...ran out of ideas.

BUT HEY! Guess what...this post is actually NOT about The Beekeeper.

No longer available, a VHS was put out many years ago that paled in comparison to the Little Earthquakes tape or the unforgettable Concert For R.A.I.N.N. (from January of '97, when she was at the her creepiest having just experienced her first miscarriage only one month prior). Finally, this past Valentine's Day saw the release of Fade To Red, a DVD collection of her videos spanning her career's entirety, along with audio commentary and other special features. Though I'd ridiculed it around the time of its release, saying I'd "never waste my money on that bullshit" (again, still riding the anti-Beekeeper angst train), I finally decided to rent it and see - once and for all - how right I was.

And I am.

Worst videos on Fade To Red:
1. "Sleeps With Butterflies" - poor editing, boring, stupid concept (and the song sucks)
2. "Sweet The Sting" - camera focus going in and out giving me a headache, boring, and Tori is basically showing off her wardrobe (ATTN TORI AMOS: Who made the "Hung Up" video? Madonna? Yeah...let's keep it that way, kthnx.)
3. "China" - I know, it's from her first album, so I should therefore be screaming "Genius!" but you know what? That video is boring as well. She wrote the song when she was 11, and the video is her wandeirng around the beach while the camera does an odd stop-and-go motion that makes you mildly nauseous if you are not a die-hard fan of the song.

Best videos on Fade To Red:
Everything else.

I'm not kidding. Everything else. Caught A Lite Sneeze. God. Past The Mission. Hey Jupiter. 1,000 Oceans. Raspberry Swirl. Pretty Good Year. Bliss. Talula.

All of it.

Even "Winter," which I'd always thought was a bit dull, but it seems she and Cindy Palmano kind of had one good idea during her first album, Little Earthquakes, and just ran with it.

But is Fade To Red worthy of ownership for each and every Toriphile that has ever carried such a name for themselves? Yes. Absolutely. It will, at the least, redeem some of the seemingly irrevocable damage that The Beekeeper inflicted by ever coming into existence.


So, in closing:

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Album

Greatest Album In the History Of the World

A Very, Very Worthy Item To Own


Anonymous said...

All This Coming From the "TORI FANATIC" I Had Growing Up In My House ??? !!! Where are all you TORIPHILES out there to come to her rescue ???

Onward Charles said...

Oh yeah, I had 27...count 'em...twenty-seven Tori Amos posters on my wall in high school.

Anonymous said...

WOW...that is really how I felt after reading your blog....from someone who lived and breathed Tori Amos. I guess we all move on in life. But I hope that you don't get upset with me saying this...but I know that on May 15, 1996 at the Paramount Theater at MSG (wink..wink) was the greatest night of your life...even though I bitched all the way to Penn and bitched all the back to LI, deep down inside I saw your eyes glow like a lightbulb and a smile that could not be erased from your face, and for years to follow you thanked me in every card you gave me...i always laughed and made fun...but, the truth is, I was so happy because it was ME that was able to share that experience with you. So to the biggest Tori fan that there was...again I will say......"WOW"