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Tori Amos|To Venus and Back

To Venus and Back

Tori Amos

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Originally intended as a rarities collection to tide fans over until she completed the follow-up to From the Choirgirl Hotel, the double-disc To Venus and Back mutated into something entirely different as Tori Amos worked on it. She experienced a sudden creative burst, writing 11 new songs. In light of these new tunes, she decided to devote the first disc of the collection to the fresh material, with the second dedicated to live material recorded during 1998. As such, it provides an interesting contrast. With Choirgirl, she decided to add muscle to her music by working with a full band, which naturally transformed her fragile, intimate songwriting into something weightier, or at least heavier. That much is evident from the live album, Still Orbiting, which puts many old favorites in a new light. The first disc, titled Venus Orbiting, proves that Amos is better in a more intimate setting. Ironically, the album was recorded with her touring band, but the arrangements aren't as showy as the live reworkings, and her songwriting is a bit more straightforward. That's not to say that she has changed direction or ironed out all her quirks -- her lyrics remain almost impenetrably cryptic, her songs follow elastic, unpredictable structures -- but she has returned to her strengths: namely, concentrating on ethereal, dream-like song-poems. She's still expanding her music, but she's letting it breathe naturally, resulting in her best, most cohesive record since Under the Pink. It's a bit of a shame that it's married to the live album, since that gives the impression that both discs are for hardcore fans. That's not the case at all -- Venus Orbiting will likely win back fans that have strayed from the fold in the past few years.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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To Venus and Back

Tori Amos

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1
Bliss
00:03:42

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

2
Juarez
00:03:48

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

3
Concertina
00:03:56

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

4
Glory of the 80's
00:04:03

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

5
Lust
00:03:53

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

6
Suede
00:04:58

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

7
Josephine
00:02:29

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Upright Bass - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

8
Riot Poof
00:03:28

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

9
Datura
00:08:25

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

10
Spring Haze
00:04:44

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

11
1000 Oceans
00:04:19

Matt Chamberlain, Drums, Percussion - Jon Astley, MasteringEngineer - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Andy Gray, Programmer - Marcel van Limbeek, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar - Mark Hawley, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Rob Van Tuin, Assistant Mixing Engineer, AssistantEngineer

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

DISC 2

1
Precious Things (Live)
00:07:37

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

2
Cruel (Live)
00:06:47

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1998 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

3
Cornflake Girl (Live)
00:06:31

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1994 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

4
Bells for Her (Live)
00:05:42

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1994 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

5
Girl (Live)
00:04:15

Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation

6
Cooling (Live)
00:05:09

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

7
Mr. Zebra (Live)
00:01:17

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1996 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

8
Cloud on My Tongue (Live)
00:04:58

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1994 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

9
Sugar (Live)
00:05:10

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

10
Little Earthquakes (Live)
00:07:37

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1991 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

11
Space Dog (Live)
00:05:46

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1994 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

12
The Waitress (Live)
00:10:24

Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Steve Caton, Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jon Evans, Bass Guitar

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1994 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

13
Purple People (Live)
00:04:11

Tori Amos, Producer, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

© 1999 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States ℗ 1998 Atlantic Recording Corporation and Anthem Entertainment for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States

Album Description

Originally intended as a rarities collection to tide fans over until she completed the follow-up to From the Choirgirl Hotel, the double-disc To Venus and Back mutated into something entirely different as Tori Amos worked on it. She experienced a sudden creative burst, writing 11 new songs. In light of these new tunes, she decided to devote the first disc of the collection to the fresh material, with the second dedicated to live material recorded during 1998. As such, it provides an interesting contrast. With Choirgirl, she decided to add muscle to her music by working with a full band, which naturally transformed her fragile, intimate songwriting into something weightier, or at least heavier. That much is evident from the live album, Still Orbiting, which puts many old favorites in a new light. The first disc, titled Venus Orbiting, proves that Amos is better in a more intimate setting. Ironically, the album was recorded with her touring band, but the arrangements aren't as showy as the live reworkings, and her songwriting is a bit more straightforward. That's not to say that she has changed direction or ironed out all her quirks -- her lyrics remain almost impenetrably cryptic, her songs follow elastic, unpredictable structures -- but she has returned to her strengths: namely, concentrating on ethereal, dream-like song-poems. She's still expanding her music, but she's letting it breathe naturally, resulting in her best, most cohesive record since Under the Pink. It's a bit of a shame that it's married to the live album, since that gives the impression that both discs are for hardcore fans. That's not the case at all -- Venus Orbiting will likely win back fans that have strayed from the fold in the past few years.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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