The Digital/Daily Cardinal
October 6, 1999

Added March 16, 2000

Crystal told me about a review of "to venus and back" that is online at The Digital Cardinal, which is the web site of The Daily Cardinal, the newspaper of the University of Wisconsin-Madison based in Madison, WI. It was posted on October 6, 1999. Read it online or below.

Bring The Noize

Moody Noize muses with Best Boy Electric, NIN, Amos

Tori Amos
to venus and back
Atlantic Records

For the casual listener, Tori Amos is an easily dismissed oddity, the girl with the wild red hair who has a penchant for fairies. On the opposite end of the spectrum, diehard fans often see a spiritual savior in Amos, a priestess guiding them to wisdom and truth.

To say there is no in-between would be a lie, but it's not far from reality. A devoted fan base has turned Amos into a star, even if she receives limited play on the airways.

The passing of time has not clarified the obscure poetry that is Amos' lyrics--if anything, the two-disc to venus and back carries some cryptic words to rival anything else she has released.

The sound of a fast wind wraps itself through the layers of "Bliss," which builds from a haunting opening into a crescendo of words and notes. The airy "Concertina" quickly lodges itself in the subconscious, and "Lust" feels like old-school Amos with its focus on her and her piano.

The disc closes with the painfully beautiful "1,000 Oceans." As blatantly close to a love song as Amos has ever written, delicately powerful vocals convey the desperate longing behind the words. This raw emotion is her trademark, ensuring "1,000 Oceans" outclasses every ballad manufactured for today's pop divas.

The second disc in the set consists of live songs recorded on her 1998 "Plugged" tour.

"Bells for Her" gains a power and immediacy it lacked on Under the Pink. Unfortunately, "Cruel," off 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel, is given a somewhat tortured treatment that occasionally slips in directions that might have shined if they'd been explored but are too quickly left behind.

Backing by an actual band prevents the songs from being exact retreads of the original studio versions, but that is impossible to completely avoid.

With songs her fans will love but the adventurous newcomer can enjoy, to venus and back is guaranteed to earn Amos another platinum.

--Jessica R. Garnter

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at