The sprite has returned as a techno meadowlark with double cd -the first composed of new tracks, and the second of live ones. This is sure to enthrall her followers, and have a few more that are not yet Toristas hop on the bus too.
Venus orbiting is cd one and it is filled with a few radio friendly tracks destined to make her more accessible. Yet accessible or not, deciphering some lyrics is more trying than reading Egyptian hierglyphics. With ambiant techno beats and her calm, velvety voice, just listening is enough.
In "Juarez", a reference to the girls and young women being killed in that maquiladora ridden city over the border, her melodious voice blends well with nervous drum beats to create an unnerving world. "Concertina" sounds like unlike any song ever written about that instrument."glory of the 80ís" gives a glimpse of Tori struggling in LA, and chronicles her audtioning for commercials with Raquel Welsh. Amos plays Napoleon talking to his wife in the moody "josephine". "1000 oceans" is quite beautiful and makes it hard to exhale until you are finished listening to the entire song. This is the song that should help her win a larger audience on the radio. "Datura" sounds like Amos is reciting an ancient Persian poem, yet in reality she is listing the plants in her garden
The live tracks were recorded during the Plugged Tour 98 and include a smattering of songs from previous albums as well as live versions of B-sides that only those truly in the know will immediately recognize. Fortunately, the sound quality is much, much better than what I witnessed at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA last fall. Note that on a new album with one of her most listener friendly songs ("1000 Oceans") is expertly balanced with songs that are more mysterious. "Purple People", "space dog" and "cloud on my tongue" stand their ground next to "precious things" from her first album, and "Cruel" from her last effort From the choirgirl hotel. "Cornflake Girl" embodies the spirit of the concert, while "Waitress" has never sounded better.
While listening to Amos can be daunting to those unfamiliar with her music, the pleasure comes from letting the songs break open and grow on you.