The Universe. Some scratches of Beryllium. Diving. The Navel of the Galaxies. Maybe god. Maybe the void. Maybe you. Maybe it's just cryptical

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Vote if You Are...

Place: Lebanon
Mood: Perplexed

Song: Give * Tori Amos

So with our Lebanese legislative elections over, here are the results:
The faces are the same.
The level of dumbness is the same.
The people are still as stupid as ever.
And the corruption will still prevail.

That's when you know that your duty as a citizen, which is to vote, has never been more jeopardized. Who shall we vote for if, not only no one represents you, but worse, no one is worth being voted for. It's like the Royal / Sarkozy death match in France.
And that's when you know that voting white is your best option, you would have accomplished your duty as a citizen without tarnishing your tormented mind.

And speaking of voting, many of the 54% of the Lebanese who did vote had other conceptions than mine, and voted for this against that, some others have been bribed to do so. And for those who believe that change will come through the same leaders (or heirs) that led us to civil war, well I don't think that's the best option, because more sin will not lead us to a better Lebanon.

And speaking of sin,
Let's present
Abnormally Attracted to Sin

the title of Tori's 10th studio album which has been released in late May. "Sin" still holds the excruciating length of its predecessors (clocking at over 70 minutes), and eventually contains filler material which disrupts the flow of the good tracks that are in there. Because there ARE some pure gems in there.

The usage of synths and some electronica reminds of the Venus days but there's a particular aura there emerges out of the good tracks and makes these a cohesive collection, had the album been shortened.

So without much talk, here are my top 5 songs of the album, in random order:

Give (Track 1)
There are some
Some who give Blood

I give Love
I give

I know
know that
I must give
So that I
can live

Talk about a powerful opener. The vampire-like lyrics, the synthesizer/piano combo, the fusion of drums that remind Portishead and Massiva Attack, make this such a broody track. And the vocals in the chorus soar to higher levels. Easily a favorite and Tori's best opener since 2001's Strange Little Girls' New Age

Abnormally Attracted to Sin (Track 11)
She may be dead to you
But her hips sway a natural kind of faith

That could give your lost heart a warm chapel You'll sleep in her bell tower
And you will simply wake

Abnormally attracted to sin

Tori has a reputation of producing excellent tracks that hole the title of their respective albums, from her haunted Little Earthquakes, that closes her debut album, to Scarlet's Walk which has powerful lyrics at the core of her debut Epic release and until The Beekeeper, perhaps her most ambitious and dark work in the 2005 album, this is no different, if not to say it surpasses maybe anything she has released lately.
I cannot express how much I love this song. The psychedelic drums in particular, the very fine usage of the organ, the bridge which jumps at you all of a sudden, the eerie effect of the synths, the dreamlike vocals. Everything about this is just perfection, and no wonder this is my favorite off the record.

Lady in Blue (track 17)
What is left?
What is right...

You may understand I left
the right man
said the Lady in Blue
"I left the right man"

When I heard this back in March after the first live performance in support of the soon-to-be-released album, I couldn't believe it. A deep and soulful blues meets jazz number that reminds of Billie Holiday. I was over the moon. And then when the rumors emerged that this will have a big band moment outro, I did not know what to think of it.
So the song is in two parts, the first very dirge-like, dark jazz. The coupling of piano and synths with the torchy vocals could have not been any better. But then comes the second part. A different animus, almost a different song. The awakening of the dead warrior. The drums kick in, the piano gets to the front, the guitars ressucitate. And a desperate call from Tori that resonates and still finds its place within the harmonious band.
I only wish that the guitars were less loud and the piano more upfront, but it's perfect the way it is, really.

Flavor (track 4)
Who's god then is god?
They all want your jurisdiction

In the Book of Earth
Whose god spread fear

Spread love

What does it look like

This orbital ball
From the fringes of the Milky Way

This was not an instant favorite. But a couple of spins later and it sucks you in to the far ends of the galaxy. This one screams To Venus & Back. Electronic and acoustic drumming, ethereal vocals, piano notes that look like droplets of rain of and atmospheric guitars that could be the best on the album. The whole sound of this reminds of Tori's song Lust from Venus. These could easily be twins on a music level.
But there's so much more to it. It elevates you somewhere else and has a very particular "flavor".

Oscar's Theme (UK Bonus Track)
Warm autumn breeze gliding in
In the distance a tailspin
Languid is Oscar's them
He awaits Juliette's landing

The real b-side. Like B-sides are meant to be. The thing is that many other tracks on this album feel like B-sides and yet they're A-sides, in a time when the album would have been much better without them and would have gained a more cohesive approach. As to this little gem, it's sad and simple but most importantly it doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It could be utterly bittersweet and devastating in its melody. 

As to other tracks, save the seemingly b-side material like 500 Miles, Mary Jane and Fire to Your Plain, there are several good tracks sprinkled throughout the album like the Tear in Your Hand meets Scarlet's Walk (the album) Fast Horse, the rockus Strong Black Vine which reminds Led Zep's Kashmir, the instant Tori classic Curtain Call, the experimental Starling, the complexly layered single Welcome to England and the one that's taken straight from a musical, That Guy, with its lush vocals and equally lush instrumentation.

And with that, Tori takes us on yet another ride, a challenging and different one, and minus some cliffs on the way, the ride was sure a perfectly executed one.

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