Thursday, March 03, 2005

At long last, I finally picked up Notorious on DVD last night. I am very happy. I've watched it already and it's gorgeous. I love Criterion DVDs.

I also recently picked up a collection of Cocteau Twins songs that Spooky recommended to me. I'd been looking for a while but any Cocteau Twins album seems to be almost impossible to find around here. I finally spotted this one filed with John Cocker at Borders.

I'm enjoying Stars and Topsoil, but I wished I'd gotten Treasure. However, Trisa picked up a copy and said she'd copy it for me, so it all works out . . . This is the blog of happy endings, you know. Welcome.

Or maybe not all endings are happy. For example, the new Tori Amos album has ended up being a significant disappointment. It pains me to say that because I've been an enormous Tori Amos fan for a long time. But this LP has strayed into vain, banal territory.

Well. I got nothing against pretty, I suppose. Even pretty for pretty's sake--I was able to enjoy Gigi and American in Paris, after all (both of which, incidentally, I got on DVD in a pack for just twenty bucks). But this is Tori Amos! There used to be more to her than that. And--actually, the problems with the album go beyond vanity. It also seems to bespeak a lack of self-awareness on her part.

This point is epitomised in my least favourite track on the album, a song called "Hootchie Woman." Whether or not that title is cheesy, you may decide for yourself. But regardless, Tori sings from the perspective of a financially successful woman who catches her husband cheating on her with what she refers to as a "Hootchie Woman." She goes on to revel in the fact that she is the breadwinner, and the powerful person, in the end. Basically; "Victory!"

Now, compare this with one of her earlier works, a song off Under the Pink called "The Waitress." This was a song about rivalry between waitresses having to do with male attentions. The song was far more effective in conveying the viciousness of the emotions involved, and it also had a thoughtful quality to it. A feeling of regret that these conflicts seem to result from a persistent tragic flaw in the characters of so many people.

And this went with the general premise of Under the Pink--the idea being to cut through the sort of sweet pretence she perceived in women, and show the effects of this emotional atrophy.

So with that in mind, her new album, The Beekeeper, could justifiably be called On the Pink. "Hootchie Woman" is the celebration of one woman's victory over another. It's as though she has effectively become one of the characters in "The Waitress."

All in all, I'd say Tori's basically ended up in the same place, artistically, as she was in the days of Why Kant Tori Read. But . . . Hell, she did have a good run in between. Most artists don't get that much. And we'll always have the recordings.

I hate feeling this way about Tori.

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