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To Venus and Back

To Venus and Back

4.5 9
by Tori Amos

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Few artists would lead off their fifth full recording with the lines "Father, I killed my monkey/ I let it out to taste the sweet of spring/ Wonder if I will wander out/ Test my tether to see if I'm still free/ From you." And only Tori Amos would make that track, "Bliss," the first single from the recording. But the choice is consistent with her discography; the


Few artists would lead off their fifth full recording with the lines "Father, I killed my monkey/ I let it out to taste the sweet of spring/ Wonder if I will wander out/ Test my tether to see if I'm still free/ From you." And only Tori Amos would make that track, "Bliss," the first single from the recording. But the choice is consistent with her discography; the single is Amos's latest in a series of songs about paternal and religious issues (issues that are intertwined, since Dad is a Methodist minister). TO VENUS AND BACK started out as a collection of B sides and rarities, but inspiration possessed Amos, and in two weeks' times she recorded a follow-up to 1998's FROM THE CHOIRGIRL HOTEL, sweetening the package with a second CD of live material. Both discs feature her band -- a striking new development dating from the CHOIRGIRL tour -- and the fuller sound inspires Amos to write rich arrangements as she wrangles a more dynamic rock vibe on the raucous "Waitress," the infectious, icy "Concertina," and "Datura," which layers melodic vocals and spoken-word elements. The live set is a collection of the band's favorite pieces from the 1998 tour, not a "greatest hits live" document. Amos calls TO VENUS AND BACK her Cindy Sherman album, a reference to the photographer who specializes in searing self-portraiture. Then again, that comment applies quite easily to much of Tori's discography.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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.

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To Venus and Back 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a Tori fan since Little earthquakes, and though I own every CD she has put out, I never thought any of her following CDs did justice to the first, but in this CD she leaves the industrial edge, albeit a small edge, and puts out this CD that nears perfection
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos' two-disc release, ''To Venus and Back'', is probably her least essential and is not the best introduction to the songwriter or her music. Disc 1 is a burbling electronic mess- Amos' voice and piano drown in a sea of techno-trance noise. Disc 2 is a bit better, but almost all of the live tracks can be found on her best recordings, ''Little Earthquakes'' and ''Under the Pink.'' For diehard fans only.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a great cd ever can't say nothing about tori because she is number 1
Guest More than 1 year ago
let me first say this: tori amos is a GENIUS. the first disk [orbiting]: a complete evolution of choirgirl, a perfect 10. from the chilling "bliss" to the sentimental "1000 oceans," you are taken on a musical journey guided by one of the best songwriters in history. granted, with tracks like "datura," i wouldn't send a new amos fan to this disk, they simply wouldn't understand it, it took me a while, even! she has gotten better each record, and this is proof. as for the live disk [still orbiting]: a MASTERPIECE! every track on this record is the feel of a concert. with b-sides and album favorites, this is a record you will love more and more each time you listen to it. in fact, i can no longer listen to the studio "bells for her" and "cloud on my tongue" without listening to these live cuts. exceptional and wonderfully well written, this is an album for true music lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos¿ fifth and final disc of the millennium, To Venus and Back, comes packed to the rafters with 11 new studio tracks and 13 live tunes from Amos¿ ¿98 Plugged Tour. Kicking things off with its synthesized tsunami swells and sublimely simple minor-key piano-figure, ¿Bliss¿ quickly skips into an upbeat, oh-so-typically-Tori chorus (complete with a Señor Wences-precious pronunciation of the title word). From there, Venus unspools as a series of woozy grooves, establishing itself as a not-altogether-illegitimate sibling to Madonna¿s Ray of Light. Like that 1998 release, Amos¿ latest is much more about feel and flow than it is about songs and singles, and both share a certain tuggingly irresistible undertow. Headphones are highly recommended, for only through such an immediate medium can subtle cuts like ¿Lush¿ ¿ with its asylum oubliette echoes ¿ and ¿Josephine¿ ¿ which evokes a homesick Napoleon marching heartbroken and horny into the winter of his discontent ¿ be fully appreciated in all their aural glory. Elsewhere, ¿Concertina¿ coasts on its sweetly insistent synthesizer-line, and ¿1000 Oceans¿ is either one of the most refreshingly straight-forward ballads Amos has ever wrapped her habitually sibilant lips around or a song so god-awful mawkish even Celine Dion wouldn¿t be caught dead covering it. Some things, only time can decide. If Venus¿ first disc sometimes seems too low-key non-confrontational for its own good, disc two commits the opposite sin. Clocking in at nearly six minutes each and loaded with bloated codas, the songs here are constantly crossing the line between intensely-felt transfiguration and just plain trilling overkill. While some songs succeed (¿Precious Things,¿ ¿Sugar¿), others merely pummel our patience (¿Cruel,¿ ¿Waitress¿). But even at her less-than-best, Amos still proves herself capable of finding diamonds in dross, as her full-band refurnishings of ¿Space Dog¿ ¿ with its scat-fractured piano and relentless Peter Gunn bassline ¿ and ¿Bells For Her¿ ¿ whose Exorcist-sinister piano and sparse, spectral guitar effectively transform a hauntingly-embalmed hymn into a full-blooded frightfest ¿ ably attest. Tori Amos is the first to admit that her music is an acquired taste ¿ ¿anchovies,¿ as opposed to ¿potato chips.¿ And, yes, she can certainly be one spooky chanteuse. Whether she¿s suckling pot-bellied pigs, cavorting with constrictors, or fraternizing with Faeries, the woman has an almost uncanny knack for insinuating herself just inches under the status quo¿s collectively prickly skin. Now, there may be no more appropriate a moment to reflect that, not so many centuries ago, a presence as vexingly bedeviling as Tori Amos would have been publicly shunned; locked in stocks; purged by pyre. Indeed, it is semi-tempting to speculate that that blazing scarlet ¿A¿ Nathaniel Hawthorne saw fit to stitch to his most infamous heroine may have, in fact, stood for something never before suspected ¿ not a 17th-century sin but a 20th-century surname ¿ and that, even then, it was borne not as a symbol of shame but as a blood-red reminder of the necessity of expressing one¿s art with uncompromising honesty and of living one¿s life forever unrepentant and unafraid, one exorcism to the next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved hearing this cd from the 1 and only Tori Amos she is a really great singer and sonwriter. To Venus and back is a cd i hear all the time and do't get bored of it's just really good music to be hearing and i hope she continues to do a great job in the music business. Love u Tori ###1 fan in america
Guest More than 1 year ago
The album is amazing, for all of you alternative music freaks out there, if you don't have the album you do not know what alternative music is. Tori's exquisite taste of lyrics complemented by her adorable tunes which vary from slow (suede,lust) to rhythmitic (riot poof which is my absolute all time fave. and datura) gives all her fans and the adherents of this wonderful swirl of sounds something to talk about for time to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago