A review of Tales Of A Librarian was posted to Advocate.com on December 15, 2003. The review is part of a special holiday gift giving edition which takes a look at some of the new greatest hits compilations on the market. Thanks to Woj for making me aware of this.
You can read the review online at Advocate.com or below:
Twelve discs for giving
Special holiday gift guide edition: breaking down a dozen of the season's new greatest hits compilations
By Rob Chin
An Advocate.com exclusive posted December 15, 2003
Tori Amos o Tales of a Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection (Atlantic)
What is it? A "musical autobiography" that retraces Myra Ellen Amos's solo career with a twist: She went back and freshened up the songs specifically for this project. One disc, 20 tracks, plus a DVD.
What does it have? Half of her seminal debut, Little Earthquakes, interspersed with one to three selections from each of her subsequent four albums. The remixes of these songs aren't drastic, merely adding melodic flourishes, slightly relayered arrangements, and new vocals (a spoken line in "God," a short coda appended to "Way Down") to bring extra color to the original outlines without redrawing them. After all, why fix what isn't broken? Amos's work has always drawn uniquely devoted fans who will be delighted that such beloved album tracks as "Tear in Your Hand" and "Mr. Zebra" earned a place beside trademark singles "Silent All These Years" and "Cornflake Girl." And tampering with the harrowing a cappella "Me and a Gun" would've been, in a word, sacrilege.
What's missing? Since it's not about the hits per se, Tales really can't be judged by that standard. That said, a bucketload of singles was jettisoned, including "China," "Hey Jupiter," "Raspberry Swirl," and "1000 Oceans." Covers album Strange Little Girls is ignored, presumably because those songs aren't part of Tori's own story. Last year's Scarlet's Walk was released on another label, so that's out as well, and anyone who asks about the Y Kant Tori Read material is just trying to be funny.
Anything special? Two new songs, "Angels" and "Snow Cherries From France," plus two early B-sides that were fully rerecorded, "Mary" and "Sweet Dreams." Armand van Helden's techno remix of "Professional Widow" stands in for the original.
DVD notes: Sound-check footage shows Amos rehearsing three songs not on the audio disc ("Pretty Good Year," "Honey," "Northern Lad"); a fourth ("Putting the Damage On") and "Mr. Zebra" get montage clips.
Bottom line: The best of both worlds--musically approachable for newbies, while longtimers who analyze her every word are offered a fresh perspective through this carefully assembled dissertation.