Articles - February 2000

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The Times (London)
February 12-18, 2000
    Ken Tough sent me a review of Boys For Pele that appeared in The Times (London) in the weekend "metro" supplement on February 12-18, 2000. Read it in my Articles Archive.

February 19-25, 2000
    TV Guide, in addition to their national publication, also publishes various local cable guides. Toriphiles blue girls, Sean Sutton (gender nectar), and blackdove have informed me of a recent Tori interview that appears in the February 19-25, 2000 issue of CABLE Guide (Called Ultimate Cable in at least one instance.) I am not sure how widespread this publication is or in how many local areas this article appeared. It was not published in the National TV Guide. This is the most recent Tori interview that I am aware of. She talks about Alanis Morissette (she calls Alanis a person of "integrity", about the drunk in Las Vegas that she had to give the finger to, and the secret soundtrack project she is currently working on. It is a very interesting interview and is a must read. You can find it in my Articles Archive. It also includes a beautiful photo of Tori on a snail, which was taken by photographer David LaChapelle.

New York Daily News and other newspapers
February 2000

    An interesting and disturbing article has appeared in several U.S. newspapers. The article was written by Jim Farber of the New York Daily News and discusses the relative low sales of some of rock's smarter women in comparison to acts like Britney Spears. You can read the article below.

    I just want to say that the figures that the writer includes seem too low to me, although I sadly agree that acts like Britney Spears are outselling smarter artists. Keep in mind that "to venus and back" has been certified both Gold and Platinum by the RIAA. Platinum means 1 million units, although I think they count each tvab album as 2 units since it is a 2 disc set. Also, these certifications are based on the number of units shipped rather than actually sold, which may account for some differences. But I still think the numbers mentioned in this article are a little too low for Tori and some of the other artists...

    Latest intelligence: Music fans aren't making smart choices

    by Jim Farber
    New York Daily News

    It doesn't pay to be a thoughtful woman in pop these days. Witness the fate of the female singer-songwriters so celebrated at the Lilith Fair three years ago.

    Formerly chart-topping literate lasses like Alanis Morissette, Jel, Melissa Etheridge and Tori Amos have seen their newest albums bomb. At the same time, audiences have favored a virtual inversion of these women: such preening bimbettes of teen pop as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore.

    The ladies of Lilith have fallen to the attack of the Lolitas.

    Of course, several of the older women have released albums that couldn't be hoped to do as well as their former works. Morissette released an album of mainly recycled material in a live "Unplugged" set. Jewel's latest, "Joy," is a holiday record.

    Yet both stars already had been experiencing a pattern of eroding sales that doesn't augur well for their future.

    Morissette moved 13 million copies of her "Jagged Little Pill" breakthrough LP in '95 and '96. Her followup, 1998's "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie," was unlikely to match that level. But its actual sales - of 2.4 million - represented a deep enough falloff to rate as a genuine flop. Now, her "Unplugged," despite significant TV promotion and the inclusion of several new songs, has pushed only around 300,000 copies.

    Jewel's "Joy" may have done fairly well for a seasonal record, selling 600,000 copies, but it continues a downward spiral in the star's fortunes. The twinkly singer's debut moved 6.7 million. Its chaser, "Spirit," halved that to 3.4 million.

    Melissa Etheridge has seen an even more precipitous drop. Her 1993 album, "Yes I Am," moved 4 million copies. Its follow-up in '95, "Your Little Secret," sold 1.2 million. Her latest, "Breakthrough," has managed just 425,000 scans at the registers.

    You'll find an equally sad pattern in the sales of Tori Amos. In '96, the arty star moved 940,000 copies of "Boys for Pele." Two years later, she lured 680,000 fans to "The Choirgirl Hotel." Her latest, "To Venus and Back," has inspired just 350,000 sales.

    Meanwhile, the likes of Britney and Christina move multimillions.

    Maybe someone should write a book: "Smart Women, Dumb Audiences."

    Yet there is one bright spot in this story. Aimee Mann, by far the brainiest of the older women mentioned, has seen her fortunes suddenly rise after having her work hooked to a celebrated movie. The "Magnolia" soundtrack, which contains nine original Mann recordings, shoots to No. 58 with a bullet in this week's Billboard Top 200. That's by far the star's best showing to date. Maybe it's not quite curtains for pop's bright lights just yet.

Sound & Vision Magazine
February/March 2000
    Karla Canales told me about an article that appears in the February/March 2000 issue of Sound & Vision Magazine. It has the title, "Download Downer - Big record labels aren't so quick to unlock their vaults." The article talks about charging for music downloads and the lukewarm response consumers have had to this. Here are the parts that mention Tori:

      In August [1999], Atlantic was the first major affiliate to offer a download for sale, the "Bliss" single by Tori Amos. It was offered to Internet shoppers through various e-merchants, who charged 99˘ to $1.99 (some also gave it away free to shoppers who pre-ordered the album). The result: only 1,200 fans downloaded "Bliss."

      ... Given the paltry responses to Amos, Bowie, and Dave Matthews downloads - and that speedy broadband connections are still several years away for most people - the big labels don't see any need to rush to put their vast catalogs of albums up for sale on the Internet.

Spin Magazine
February 2000
    The February 2000 issue of Spin Magazine includes the results of the "Spin '99 Reader's Poll," and Tori is included in several categories. According to Magdalen Wargo, Tori was voted best (#1) in these categories:

    Best Solo Artist
    Most Underrated
    Favorite Spin Cover
    Best Live Act
    Sex Goddess

    Doug Smeath and Salvador Saca also point out that Tori was also #2 for Best Album. (The Fragile from Nine Inch Nails was #1 on that one.)

    Here is is each category that Tori appeared in and what Spin said about it (Thanks to David Conner):

    The Skinny: The Cornflake Girl beat
    everyone else by a landslide, thanks, we suspect, to a little fan club
    campaigning and bribes of vicarious Tori-hugs. Chris Cornell and his new
    'Beatlesque' sound took second. Beck placed third. One readter took
    'artist' a bit too literally and voted in Genius Lessons illustrator Sean
    Spin Sez: Jolly good show, Tori!

    The Skinny: The Tori faithful won't rest till she achieves sainthood.
    Second-place Staind will be the next Limp Bizkit, or perhaps the new Faith No
    More. Ani DiFranco, at third, continues to be Buffalo's best musical export
    since the Goo Goo Dolls.
    Spin Sez: Tori! Toray! TourČ!

    The Skinny: Self-hating concept angst trumped baroque piano ballads (Tori's
    To Venus and Back) and toilet-bowl mosh-fests (Limp Bizkit's Significant
    Spin Sez: We're all building a Winchester Mystery House in our heads!

    The Skinny: Once again, the People Who Come to See the Shows raise Tori to
    the top of the heap, beating out
    can't-seem-to-avoid-getting-mentioned-in-every-category Limp Bizkit and the
    somber trappings of Spin's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s" cover.
    Spin Sez: The tree-humping photo wasn't even on the cover!

    The Skinny: Proving that a girl and a piano is sometimes all you need, Amos
    trounced jumping-around-white-dudes Korn and Limp Bizkit.
    Spin Sez: We'll pass the mic to Matt from Cincinnati, who voted for Busta
    Rhymes based on this bit of onstage banter, directed at the parents in the
    crowd: "Why'd you bring your kids here? This is an X-rated show! I love my
    kids, but I don't bring them in the bedroom with me and my freaky bitches, I
    put their asses to bed! Flipmode!"

    The Skinny: A happy trail and a nice pair of daisy-dukes earned Britney
    "Lolita" Spears second place; Shirley Manson took off her eyeliner for Calvin
    Klein and still placed third.
    Spin Sez: Everyone over 21 who voted for Britney will be reported to the
    proper authorities!

    Spin Sez: Somehow, "stick it up your yeah!" got more mattress springs
    bouncing than even Orgy's "Stitches" (huh?) and, stranger still, Tori Amos'
    father-daughter tribute "Bliss."
    Spin Sez: You all need counseling!

    Tori is also featured prominently in the reader letters section of Spin, where people commented on Spin's November 1999 cover story on Tori. Sadly, only a few of the letters dealt with the bias and bad reporting that was prevalent in the original article. Here is what Doug Smeath reported about that:

    A large portion of the reader letters section is about the Tori article. Unfortunately, many of them are from readers who didn't catch on to Maureen Callahan's apparent bias and who were just happy to see Tori in another magazine. One was from a guy who said he finds Tori scary but strangely erotic. :-) There were two from concerned fans, including Pat Kochie's husband Tom. For some reason they titled the part about Tori "Earth Girl First!" (?) Anyway, in what is fairly rare for Spin contributors, the writer of the controversial article actually made a little reply: "I meant in no way to slight Pat's work. But most of her dolls do look like Tori, and when I said the same to Pat, she replied, 'That's what everyone says.'" Also, Spin has this really hilarious little section they do with their reader letters where they claim to break down their letters into categories, such as "5% Blink-182 concertgoers who 'really dug seeing their pseudo-punk-rock penises.'" This is always one of my favorite parts of a Spin issue. Anyway, it usually only dedicates one or two statistics to a particular subject or artist. This month's dedicated 6 to Tori:

    42% Deluded Toriphiles who claim to write "on behalf of Tori"
    99% Grateful subscribers who "thank the Lord that Fred Durst wasn't posing with that tree"
    50% Disturbed Tori-heads who make dolls out of their feces
    .01% An Amos aficianado who wanted "to crucify myself after reading your blasphemous tripe"
    25% Tasteless new-schoolers who think Christina Aguilera is "the next generation's Tori Amos"
    25% Unaware old-schoolers who didn't realize Amos recorded anything after Y Kant Tori Read

    Here are a couple of the letters published emailed to me by Testmytether:

    "Thank you for putting a real artist on the cover. Tori Amos is an excaptional woman whose talent in unsurpassed. Her fantastic stage presence during her shows transports you into another dimension. Most people to it for the money or fame, but she is really expressing a part of herself. Your article was informative and interesting, but I would have liked to read more about her and less about her fans."
    Rhea Petrella

    "How incredibly hysterical I was after spotting the Goddess on your cover! Did I mention the slap in the face I needed after opening to the page of the divine Tori Amos straddling the tree trunk? The faeries are with you. SPIN is sublime."
    Kate Hill

Alternative Press
February 2000
    The February 2000 issue of Alternative Press magazine features the yearly "A.P. Readers Poll Awards." Tori was voted the #2 Live Act in the poll, after Marilyn Manson, who was #1. Korn was #3. Thanks to Heather G. and Salvador Saca for letting me know about this.

Metal Edge Magazine
February 2000

    Lauryn Peterson and GimpyPoop (you have to love screen names!) report that a Tori mention and photo can be seen in the February 2000 issue of Metal Edge Magazine. Lauryn says:

    My metal-head brother gave me a cute pic of Tori from the music mag Metal Edge. She's backstage with Dave Wyndorf (frontman from Monster Magnet) who apparently is a big fan. It was his first time meeting her, and he stated, "For a girl who sings such pretty songs, you have such a filthy mouth." I got a kick out of that. Plus, he's sticking his tongue out in a grungy crude fashion, standing next to this red-headed paragon of beauty in a gossamer bit. Just another example of Tori's eclectic sheep followers in wolfwear.

    This photo above comes from Lauren Peterson (with the help of Eric Peterson) and shows Tori with Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet. This photo appeared on the February 2000 issue of Metal Edge Magazine. CLICK TO SEE LARGER.

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