Tori Amos. Miami, Floria. October 23, 1996

Tori

Tori Amos appeared in my life back in 2010. In six years, she’s become so much ingrained in who I am musically, both as a listener and a musician myself, that her musical journey has become an inextricable part of mine. As I grow older (though still not particularly that much older, because I am now the same age Tori was when Little Earthquakes was released), I find myself understanding more of the songs I didn’t understand before. Tori’s music is filled with so many layers that people could probably spend lifetimes digging through the songs (numerous as they are, there are literally hundreds) and still glean new meaning as time goes on.

My first Tori album was her retrospective collection Tales Of A Librarian, which even now as a big fan I still don’t particularly like, both because the songs selected don’t really sound right to me when they’re paired together (for instance, Jackie’s Strength, Tear In Your Hand, Baker Baker, Bliss and Spark all sound completely out of place paired with Mary, Sweet Dreams, Angels and Snow Cherries From France), and because the new mixes weren’t remasters as much as they were so-called “reconditioned” versions of the songs, switching backing vocals with lead vocals, moving some instruments to the back and others forward, etc. On the whole album, I really only enjoyed three or four songs, and two of the songs I liked were a minute long each. I almost gave up, but I decided to keep trying and got American Doll Posse and Boys For Pele at roughly the same time. I chose these two because American Doll Posse was supposed to be a “new era,” and I thought that her new music might be more accessible than her old music, and because Boys For Pele was considered to be her most out-there album and I had a feeling I’d like it. American Doll Posse literally hurt my ears the first time I listened to it, and I don’t mean that statement as anything other than a reflection of what actually happened: the music had so much going on, so many layers of production, so many changes in genre from song to song without ever really changing, that it felt like one onslaught of sound that had no downtime and I couldn’t process it. The music all blended together and I couldn’t really grab a hook or a melody to remember from each song, and it made my head hurt.

Boys For Pele was another story, however. I still remember the day I got it, and that memory means something to me. I was agoraphobic at the time, or at least I was developing agoraphobia. I was home alone, which was the way I preferred it, and I was standing on the back deck of the house I lived in. That house was the nicest place I’ve ever lived, with a full back deck with a space for a (non-functional) hot tub, and an in ground pool. I always wanted to go swimming naked in that pool early in the morning when no one was home, but I don’t think I ever did (I did sometimes slip my shorts off and swim around naked when I was at home by myself, but usually came back to put them on after a few minutes of excitement. So, I was standing on the back deck opening a package that came from eBay. At first I was annoyed because when I pulled my copy of Boys For Pele from the package, though it was still factory sealed, the booklet inside had a big crease in it. This couldn’t technically have been the seller’s fault if my memory that the album was still plastic-sealed is correct, but it aggravated me. I pulled the booklet out and looked through the photos, the beautiful image of Tori suckling a piglet (the meaning of which, as far as Tori’s attempts at motherhood, was probably lost on me at the time, but I must have enjoyed some symbolism in it because I do remember thinking she looked like some Pagan goddess, and was reminded of the Fairy Goddess Lurline suckling an animal in her arm in the novel Wicked), a piano burning in the rain, and the words to the songs arranged vertically. The lyrics all seemed like strange gibberish to me, and I had sampled some bits of the album (I was terrified to listen to the song Father Lucifer, because I was just beginning to shake of the fear of the devil Christianity had instilled in me. I didn’t know it would later become one of my all time favorite songs), but I really didn’t know how big of an impact the album would have on me.

I put it in the CD player was sitting on the kitchen counter. My piano, whose maker was Marcellus, a piano maker based in New York circa the early nineteen-hundreds, sat in the living room. I still miss that piano. It was quiet and I was alone and the house was mine. I put the CD in and I seem to remember almost forgetting it, because Beauty Queen came on and it was so quiet, not much was happening, and I was walking around the room doing other things.

But then Horses started.

The piano began to sound like drops of rain, as Tori quietly sang “I got me some horses, to ride on, to ride on…” I fell in love with that song right there. And so it went on, I continued to listen to more Tori, to be completely spellbound by some songs and bored or confused by others, but even after six years I’ve only really managed to suggest maybe half of her catalog, and then there’s probably an infinite amount of reflection to be done on those hundreds of songs.

I discovered Tori bootlegs a little later, but not too much. The first one I ever heard was a live performance from 1996 and the Purple Rose in Berlin, with Tori playing American Pie and Smells Like Teen Spirit. It also had an interesting improv in Doughtnut Song I hadn’t heard before and Not The Red Baron, which would later become one of my favorites. Of the Tori shows that exist online (and mostly all of them exist in some form), my favorites are the 1996 Dew Drop Inn tour.

It’s hard to describe exactly how I feel when I listen to shows from that tour. But there is one in particular, Miami Florida, October 23, 1996. This was a night when Tori got sick on stage and ran off stage crying. She came back a bit later saying that she could either go to the hospital or finish the show, and she decided to finish the show. She took some of the pressure off of herself by not sticking to a set list for the majority of the rest of the show, and just playing what came to mind. What happened at that show, that night, is a part of who I am. It’s on my heart. It’s a part of me. That recording of that show has had an incredible impact on me.

She played so honestly on that tour, she was bleeding all over the stage (I say that as a metaphor, though one person online who says they were there that night claimed they could see Tori drooling on the piano because she was so sick), she was dying in front of everyone. I don’t know if it’s wrong, or cannablistic, or sadistic to ENJOY those performances, but I do. It’s not as simple as just hearing something that makes me cry, in fact I’m not sure that I ever really cry during Tori’s music. But it moves me on some very deep level, in something inexpressible, a dark place that I don’t have perfect access to, a place inside me that touches something, maybe magick, maybe other lives, maybe cosmic fabric. I don’t know. But Tori’s performances from that tour have stayed with me, and I’m still horrified (in a beautiful and very, very good way) and entranced, unable to leave those performances.

What I want. What I want is something that I don’t know if I can ever have. The way I feel listening to that Miami 1996 performance, it’s something I’ve never felt anywhere else. And what I wouldn’t give to be able to BE there. I don’t know what it was like there. In my mind, the concert was outside, Tori was up on stage and it was raining and overcast. It might not have looked like that at all. But I can just imagine what it might be like to stand there in that space, where someone whose connection to the divine, whose magickal power is so strong, to feel her aura, her sadness and her strength and her anger and her emptiness and her loneliness, swallowing me up, to be a part of that sound she created, that wave of fulfillment emanating from the piano and from the speakers and from the chamber of her own body, to hear it, to truly be there. To close my eyes as she sang and LISTEN, really listen. That’s what I want. That’s what I would like to experience. Tori still tours, and I hope to see her some day. But I don’t know that it could ever be like that.

I want to experience really being there. The best I have is one recording, the same bootleg that seems to have made it’s way around the internet. I would give so much just to have a perfect high quality recording of the show (and I don’t know if there’s any truth to it but I’ve heard that Tori records her shows, so maybe there IS a high quality recording of the show somewhere in the world). I keep hoping that when Tori’s promised remaster of Boys For Pele arrives, it will have some performances from that show, particularly Girl, or if I had my way, also Father Lucifer from the night before.

When I leave Tori behind and find other musical obsessions, she somehow finds her way back into my life. And you know, I don’t mean to sound like a person obsessed with Tori the PERSON, because I’m not. I love knowing the back story on the songs and how they affected her and where they came from and how her experiences made their way into the songs. And I would love to MEET Tori the person. But it’s Tori’s music itself that has such a strong presence for me. And that, I think, is an important distinction. It makes me a listener and not a stalker. I’m not obsessed with Tori the person, but I am infinitely fascinated, comforted, and inspired by Tori’s music. She made me believe that I was a musician, without ever speaking a word to me. She doesn’t even have a song in particular that feels like it bears a message that I can be a musician (although I suppose many of her songs, Silent All These Years probably being one, would come across with that message among their multitudes of messages, thoughts and concepts). It’s the music itself. It moves me so much that I HAVE to play music. I HAVE to sing and play piano. And it isn’t contrived or thought out or anything, it just happens. And that’s how I know it’s what I’m truly most passionate about. I don’t really have to think too much about it. It just happens naturally.

I never really thought I’d be a musician, or that it was in me. But it’s there.

 

Rain in Ireland

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The B-Keeper. See What I Did There?

I have been assembling B-Sides like a fucking madman over the last couple of weeks. You know what the secret is? Torrenting. If you’re going to download music illicitly, or go hunting for rarities, use torrents. You can almost always find what you’re looking for, and if you’re missing a specific song, you can do what I do and start checking mediafire and 4shared for individual audio files and comparing minute differences in starting time and audio quality to see which one is superior. I’m sort of an accidental audiophile.

Tori’s Infamous List of Bee Sides

So, of the artists that I “collect,” Tori Amos has unquestionably the most B-Sides (although Ke$ha wins for the most demos/unreleased songs, she has over 80, but I really didn’t bother with them). So, for you Toriphiles out there, I thought I would show you my list of Tori B-Sides as a guide for anyone looking to assemble their own collection of B-Sides. My source for the majority of these files is a thread on a Spanish website called Taringa! where someone very kindly uploaded pretty much every single Tori B-Side, remix, and promo single ever released. Finding it is difficult, I still have to go on a mad hunt for this thread any time I need it, because I never bother bookmarking it, and I also think that it’s been made private now so you have to make an account there to view it (which I did, earlier this year when I first compiled my B-Sides). Also, there are quite a few Tori Amos discography torrents that have a lot of these, and if you can find the torrent with a copy of the 4-disc bootleg called “The Lost Works,” you’re mostly set.

I have done my B-Side hunting for Tori on about 5 different occasions now, always on a different computer each time, and this time I’m getting some CD-R’s and backing this stuff up. Of course I should mention that the best way to go about getting some of these songs is to just BUY the music properly, but some stuff, you’re just not going to be able to find, and some stuff isn’t actually available on CD (like the audio rips of the instrumental versions of tracks from Tales of a Librarian, or the audio rip of Garlands from the bonus DVD in the deluxe edition of The Beekeeper). And for those of you who ARE going to buy the music properly, I have some words of caution for you.

iTunes’ Woefully Inaccurate 1996 Selection

Tori’s third album (and incidentally, my favorite) is called Boys For Pele, released in 1996. If you want to get a copy of this album (and I highly suggest you should), you should know that iTunes has fucked the tracklisting all to hell. Your best bet is to do what I did and order a copy of the album from eBay. I believe I payed about 6 dollars altogether for the physical album, which gave me perfect rips of the tracks without improper audio or tracklisting, for less money than it would cost to purchase the album online. So, there are three editions of Boys For Pele: the original version is 18 tracks long, and has all of the original versions of the songs. The second edition of the album is my personal favorite, and the one you’d find if you were to order the album from any major retailer, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble: this version of the album has one difference from the original, in that the song Talula is replaced with “the Tornado Mix,” which is a version of the song used on the Twister soundtrack. This version is just better than the original, it adds more percussion, makes the song a bit groovier, although it does omit a few little sections of lyrics. If you’re hardcore and want to have everything Tori has ever released, I would suggest putting the original version of Talula in your list of Pele B-Sides, or putting the Tornado Mix in your list of B-Sides. Personally, I just use the Tornado Mix on my Boys For Pele and I’m done with it.

Finally, there is a third version of the album, and this is my least favorite version. The fourth track, Professional Widow, is followed up by the famous Armand Van Helden remix that granted Tori her biggest hit to date when his remix went to the top of the dance charts. Not only does throwing a remix right into the middle of the album mess up the flow of the whole thing, but it also caused one of the songs, In The Springtime of His Voodoo, to be cut completely from this version.

iTunes’ version of Boys For Pele is the third edition of the album, which in itself is already a misrepresentation of the album, but to make things worse, they don’t actually include Professional Widow. Both Professional Widow and the Armand Van Helden Remix are the exact same audio track. It’s just the same track twice in a row. For this reason, I highly, highly suggest buying the original album on eBay or from any major retailer. Hell, if you go into a well-stocked Barnes & Noble, you just might find it.

Now, back to our original mission: B-Sides. The album is not the only thing iTunes has wrong, the Hey Jupiter EP is in even worse shape. The version of Hey Jupiter used here is NOT the Dakota Version (the remix used as the single version of the song, which is about 6 minutes long and includes some heartbreaking additional lyrics), though it’s labelled as such, and the Merry Widow version of Professional Widow, which is an intense, emotional performance of the song live on harmonium, isn’t here either, it’s the original version of the song. Once again, my advice is to buy the physical EP from eBay or Amazon, it’s not very expensive and it’s worth it to get the real stuff.

There’s one another album that iTunes has messed up: Tori’s box set release, A Piano: The Collection. It has all the right audio files, but there are a lot of inexplicable silences at the beginning of the songs. Me and a Gun, for instance, has about 4 seconds of silence before the song begins. It’s not done by the artist, it’s a mistake that for some reasons happens to a lot of album uploaded to iTunes, and I can’t quite explain it. If you really want to support Tori and buy her music, do what I did: purchase A Piano from iTunes, and then go and download a torrent of the album with the proper audio files. That way you’ve payed for it and you’ve got the proper songs.

Apart from the above mentioned releases, the rest of the Tori selection on iTunes seems to be perfectly accurate. The rest of the EP’s are all in good order, I got Crucify, God, and Raspberry Swirl from the iTunes store and they’re the right songs. The only thing is that beginning with Scarlet’s Walk, iTunes has posted multiple versions of the same album, some with no differences from one another. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, for instance, there are 4 versions of American Doll Posse, one with 23 tracks, one with 23 tracks and a digital booklet, another that is identical to the second one I mentioned, and a third with the digital booklet and bonus videos. It would have much more prudent to either post one edition of the album, or at very least a regular edition and a deluxe edition. But who am I to tell the geniuses at iTunes what to do.

See that? That was a pun. I was being funny. See how funny I am?

On to the B-Sides Already!

So, without further adue, I present to you, my collection of Tori Amos B-Sides. And no, I’m not going to give you download links, because firstly I can’t be bothered to upload them all, and also because collecting these songs isn’t really all that challenging, it just requires a bit of digging around.

Note on my formatting: I include studio tracks first, then songs from soundtracks, and then live tracks. I do not include remixes or alternate versions of songs. Other than that, the songs are pretty much in chronological order of release. Also, for album art, I used some of the Polaroids from the special edition box set of Scarlet’s Walk, just as a way to keep them all uniform, but it’s fun to find different single covers to use as album artwork. All of my information on these songs, as well as the photos I used for album artwork, along with pretty much anything else you would ever need to know about Tori Amos, is from my friend Jason’s very popular Tori Amos fansite, Yessaid.

Little Earthquakes: B-Sides

1 Upside Down [from Me and a Gun single]
2 Thoughts [from Me and a Gun single]
3 Sugar [from China single]
4 Flying Dutchman [from China single]
5 Humpty Dumpty [from China single]
6 The Pool [from Winter single]
7 Take To The Sky [from Winter single]
8 Sweet Dreams [from Winter single]
9 Angie [from Winter/Crucify singles]
10 Smells Like Teen Spirit [from Winter/Crucify singles]
11 Thank You [from Winter/Crucify singles]
12 Here. In My Head [from Crucify single]
13 Mary [from Crucify single]
14 Ode To The Banana King (Part One) [from Silent All These Years single]
15 Song For Eric [from Silent All These Years single]
16 Ring My Bell [Anita Ward cover – from Ruby Trax: The NME’s Roaring Forty]
17 The Happy Worker [from Toys Soundtrack]
18 Little Earthquakes (Live) [from Crucify single]
19 Crucify (Live) [from Crucify single]
20 Precious Things (Live) [from Crucify single]
21 Mother (Live) [from Crucify single]
22 Happy Phantom (Live) [from Silent All These Years single]
23 Silent All These Years (Live) [from Silent All These Years RAINN re-release single]

What’s missing: there is a single edit of China, as well as an edit of Flying Dutchman, both featured on the french China single, that I didn’t include. There’s also a remix of The Happy Worker called “Workers,” I don’t know if it’s an official release, but I didn’t include it. I also didn’t include the single remix of Crucify, not because I don’t like it but because it’s on A Piano: The Collection. In fact, A Piano saves me the trouble of including any of the single mixes, because they’re all featured in the box set.

Under the Pink: B-Sides

1 Sister Janet [from Cornflake Girl single]
2 All the Girls Hate Her [piano suite – from Cornflake Girl single]
3 Over It [piano suite – from Cornflake Girl single]
4 A Case Of You [Joni Mitchell cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
5 If 6 Was 9 [Jimi Hendrix cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
6 Strange Fruit [Billie Holiday cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
7 Home on the Range (Cherokee Edition) [traditional folk song with some added lyrics – from God single]
8 Daisy Dead Petals [from Pretty Good Year single]
9 Honey [from Pretty Good Year single]
10 Black Swan [from Pretty Good Year single]
11 Losing My Religion [R.E.M. cover – from Higher Learning Soundtrack]
12 Butterfly [from Higher Learning Soundtrack]
13 Famous Blue Raincoat [Leonard Cohen cover – from Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen]
14 Down By The Seaside [Led Zeppelin cover with Robert Plant – from Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin]
15 Upside Down (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
16 Past the Mission (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
17 Icicle (Live) [prefaced with a story from Tori – from Past the Mission single]
18 Flying Dutchman (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
19 Winter (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
20 The Waitress (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
21 Here. In My Head (Live) [from Past the Mission single]

What’s missing: every remix of God, and a live performance of Little Drummer Boy that was included on You Sleigh Me: Alternate Christmas Hits as well as More Pink: The B-Sides, the second disc of Under the Pink’s special Australian/New Zealand tour edition. I didn’t include it because firstly, no recordings of it, not even the one featured on More Pink, are very good quality, secondly because I just don’t like it, and thirdly because I haven’t really bothered to hunt around for it. There’s also a single edit of Cornflake Girl that I actually really like, which skips right ahead to the bridge after the second chorus, and I enjoy it as much as the original, they don’t cut out any singing, just a bit of rhythm playing between the second verse and the bridge.

It helped with some of these that the photos are the same color scheme as the album.

Boys For Pele: B-Sides

1 This Old Man [traditional folk song – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
2 Hungarian Wedding Song [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
3 Toodles Mr. Jim [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
4 London Girls [Chas & Dave cover – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
5 That’s What I Like Mick (The Sandwich Song) [Chas & Dave cover – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
6 Samurai [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
7 Graveyard [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
8 Amazing Grace – Til the Chicken [the first song is a traditional folk song – from Talula single]
9 Frog On My Toe [from Talula single]
10 Sister Named Desire [from Talula single]
11 Alamo [from Talula single]
12 Blue Skies [from Party of 5 Soundtrack]
13 I’m On Fire (Live) [Bruce Springsteen cover – from VH1 Crossroads]
14 Landslide (Live) [Fleetwood Mac cover – from Y-100 Sonic Sessions: Volume 1]
15 Sugar (Live) [from Hey Jupiter single]
16 Honey (Live) [from Hey Jupiter single]
17 Professional Widow (Merry Widow Version – Live) [A very different version of the song played on harmonium – from Hey Jupiter single]
18 Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Live) [Judy Garland cover – from Hey Jupiter single]

What’s missing: Well the obvious missing links are the Armand Van Helden remix of Professional Widow, along with every other remix of the song. There are also remixes for Talula, In The Springtime of His Voodoo, and even some unreleased remixes of Horses that aren’t included here. The Dakota Version of Hey Jupiter isn’t included either, for the same reason a the Crufiy single remix: both the Professional Widow remix and the Dakota Version of Hey Jupiter are on A Piano: The Collection. I also didn’t include the Tornado Mix of Talula because I have it filed under the album itself, and just omit the original version of Talula altogether. If you wanted to include it, I’d recommend putting it right between Graveyard and Amazing Grace, since that would be where you’d find it chronologically.

From the Choirgirl Hotel: B-Sides

(the amount of B-Sides drastically decrease after Boys For Pele, both because Tori started releasing remixes of her songs, and also I assume because CD singles were beginning to become obsolete. I personally enjoy a nice single EP)

1 Purple People (Christmas In Space) [from Spark single]
2 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas [traditional folk song – from Spark single]
3 Bachelorette [from Spark single]
4 Do It Again [from Spark single]
5 Cooling [from Spark single]
6 Beulah Land [from Jackie’s Strength single]
7 Never Seen Blue [from Jackie’s Strength single]
8 Finn [from Great Expectations soundtrack]
9 Siren [from Great Expectations soundtrack]
10 Merman [from No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees]

What’s missing: Every remix of Raspberry Swirl, Spark, Cruel, Jackie’s Strength, and Father Lucifer. Although I do personally like some of those remixes, I just don’t like including remixes in my B-Sides. There’s also a track in the Great Expectations score called Paradiso Perduto that features some Tori vocals, but I didn’t include it here either, both because I just didn’t want to and because it’s annoying to try and hunt down the score.

I used the garden because of Datura. Aren't I clever?

To Venus And Back: B-Sides

(Venus doesn’t actually have any original B-Sides, they’re all live performances that I assume were scrapped from Still Orbiting. It is interesting to note that all of the live performances featured as B-Sides are Tori playing solo without the band. The only thing that can be considered a B-Side from this album is Carnival, which is a song featured on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack. I personally think it looks weird and throws off the way the Venus B-Sides look. You might want to tack it on to the end of the Choirgirl B-Sides, even though it’d be chronologically incorrect, since Venus was the album that was out when she did the song)

1 Carnival [from Mission Impossible 2 Soundtrack]
2 Hey Jupiter (Live) [from 1000 Oceans single]
3 Upside Down (Live) [from 1000 Oceans single]
4 Baker Baker (Live) [from Glory of the 80’s single]
5 Winter (Live) [from Glory of the 80’s single]
6 Famous Blue Raincoat (Live) [from Concertina single]
7 Twinkle (Live) [from Concertina single]

What’s missing: the single mix of Concertina. However, as with the other single mixes, it’s included on A Piano: The Collection. I don’t ever let songs repeat in my collection, because as you can clearly see, I am extremely organized. On that note, this is not technically organized chronologically, because Famous Blue Raincoat and Twinkle were released on the Glory of the 80’s single first, but I prefer them in this order.

Strange Little Girls: B-Sides

1 After All [from Strange Little Girl single]
2 Only Women Bleed [from Strange Little Girl single]

What’s missing: not much. There are only two B-Sides for this whole album, and they were included on the same single, which is the ONLY official single released for the album. There is a promo single of Strange Little Girl, which contains supposed “single edits” of Strange Little Girl, ’97 Bonnie & Clyde, and Heart of Gold. I cannot find any difference between the “single edits” and the album versions, but I wouldn’t have included them here regardless.

Scarlet’s Walk: B-Sides

(some of the songs that I’m crediting as being released on Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures, the bonus CD that comes with Welcome to Sunny Florida, were originally released on Scarlet’s Web, a website that was accessible using the Scarlet’s Walk CD, but not only are the versions released on Welcome to Sunny Florida of generally better audio quality, they’re also just better in that order because it makes a very nice EP)

1 Ruby Through The Looking-Glass [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
2 Seaside [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
3 Bug A Martini [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
4 Apollo’s Frock [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
5 Tombigbee [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
6 Indian Summer [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
7 Operation Peter Pan [from A Sorta Fairytale single]
8 Mountain [from Scarlet’s Web]

What’s missing: the single mix, and the 101 mix, of A Sorta Fairytale. Both of them are good mixes, though. Also it should be noted that there are no versions of Mountain of very high audio quality, as far as I’ve been able to find at least. There are also some remixes of Make Me Come To Vegas, and some radio versions of Taxi Ride and Strange, that I am completely not interested in.

To be honest, that’s the end of the B-Sides as we know them, there have been singles or EPs released after Scarlet’s Walk, and we now get our B-Sides from poorly put-together bonus DVDs, and deluxe editions of the albums. However, for your convenience, I’ll include the remaining bonus tracks.

Tales of a Librarian: B-Sides

(there is one “reconditioned” [or “badly remastered”] version of Putting the Damage On that didn’t make the physical album, but it is on the bonus DVD, as well as the iTunes release. The live performances are taken from the sound check of the performance that was used on Welcome to Sunny Florida. I personally don’t have any of these in my library.)

1 Putting the Damage On [reconditioned version – bonus track on iTunes release of Tales of a Librarian]
2 Mr. Zebra (Instrumental) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
3 Putting the Damage On (Instrumental) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
4 Pretty Good Year (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
5 Northern Lad (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
6 Honey (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]

What’s missing: There is a radio edit of Mary that was released on a promo single, but my rule for Tori B-Sides is that I don’t include alternate versions, all the important ones, except for A Sorta Fairytale’s single version, can be found on an official release somewhere.

The Beekeeper: B-Sides

1 Garlands [from The Beekeeper bonus DVD]

What’s missing: there are some audio rips of Tori playing live on the DVD, but I’m not interested. In my iTunes, I have this filed as Garlands – Single, and I used the Sleeps With Butterflies artwork. Just a suggestion.

American Doll Posse: B-Sides

1 My Posse Can Do [from American Doll Posse bonus DVD]
2 Miracle [bonus track from iTunes release of American Doll Posse]
3 Drive All night [bonus track from Borders release of American Doll Posse] 

What’s missing: Not a thing. And in fact, the final three tracks on the album are apparently bonus tracks themselves, but there’s no version that doesn’t feature them, so I don’t quite see how they’re bonus tracks. Incidentally, Posse Bonus is an entire song dedicated to telling you that you’re getting bonus tracks. Yeah, it’s safe to say Tori’s albums are a little less entertaining nowadays when you get an entire number about your bonus tracks… Also, My Posse Can Do is an audio rip from the bonus DVD on the deluxe edition of American Doll Posse, I don’t know of anywhere you could properly buy the audio file, but the audio file is floating around, and can be found on some torrents.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin: B-Sides

1 Oscar’s Theme [bonus track on iTunes release of Abnormally Attracted to Sin]

What’s missing: That’s it, it’s just Oscar’s Theme. It’s track 18 on one of iTunes releases of the album.

Midwinter Graces: B-Sides

(All of these are covers of traditional folk songs. There are some original songs on the album, and Tori adds/changes some lyrics on all of the carols, but these tracks are still traditional folk songs)

1 Comfort and Joy [bonus track on deluxe version and iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]
2 Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night! Holy Night!) [bonus track on deluxe version and iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]
3 Good King Wenceslas [bonus track on iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]

What’s missing: Unless you want to count the bonus interview on the DVD of the deluxe version and the iTunes release as a B-Sides, nothing’s missing from here.

In Which Some Things Are Talked About

Warning! This blog entry is a bit of a downer. However it was unbelievably stimulating to my mood, so it was quite necessary. So, if you'd like to learn a little more about my personal issues, read on. If you'd like chipper thoughts on upcoming blog entries, refer to the last few paragaphs.

Nothing new here.

Nope, nothing.

Okay, well maybe there is one, eency weency thing.

I seem to have recovered, but I think mentally I just completely fell apart over the last couple of weeks. The good news is, I think I’m better now. Here’s basically what happened, along with the backstory so you’ll understand it:

The day was Monday. I work for my mother, who has a house-cleaning business. So we headed to our usual Monday house. The night before, I hadn’t gotten much sleep, and what was about to happen has always been worse when I don’t get enough sleep. We got to the house and we couldn’t get in; the key wasn’t working. So she let the owner know about our situation, and while we were waiting for an answer, we were outside in the afternoon heat.

I started to panic. No real reason, other than I knew, “This would be a bad time to panic.” That’s usually how it happens. You see, I have panic attacks. I suppose a panic attack can vary in severity, and I don’t want to say I have anything that I don’t, but I at very least have episodes that feel a hell of a lot like I think a panic attack would feel. There are multiple things that trigger it: lack of food, lack of sleep, heat, any reason that I would be dizzy or lightheaded, etc. etc. The number one thing that causes it, however, is the belief that any of those things can induce it. While it’s true that they do, what causes me to panic is when I think to myself, “I haven’t slept enough, I’m going to panic. I haven’t eaten enough, I’m going to panic. It’s hot outside, I’m lightheaded, I’m going to panic.” The symptoms are as follows: I become dizzy and lightheaded, my vision gets a little blurry (I already need glasses, so the fact that my vision is blurry during it’s best moments doesn’t help), there’s an immense heaviness and heat in my chest, along with a general feeling of “Oh shit get me out of here! I’m in a confined space and I want to go home, NOW!” There’s also a burning feeling in my head like the one in my chest, and all of this just grows larger and larger.

The way I overcome this is with breathing. It’s what I’ve been taught to do. The recommendations vary, but in general I’m told to take a deep breath, hold it in, and slowly exhale, and repeat this as many times as I need to until I feel calm. Usually what happens is that the worst of the feelings will pass, but the fear that the panic attack will come again often causes it to slowly resurface in weaker forms throughout the day until I get back to my comfort zone, which is usually home.

Apart from these things, there are also physical side-effects that I don’t think are normal. When I begin to panic, before the panic attack even begins, the entire left side of my body, from the tip of the left side of my head to the very bottom of my left foot begins to feel uneasy, and eventually numb to some degree. Sometimes there is a feeling in my left arm like a tight pinching, and this feeling sometimes occurs around my heart too.

Even now I need to stop and calm down because talking about this is kind of hard, and makes me feel some of the symptoms. But this problem has been following me for years now, everywhere I go and especially in public. So, my biggest problem is stress/anxiety/panic. Along with that are various physical problems, some of which make the anxiety worse and some of which could be completely unrelated.

To begin with, throughout my life I’ve had a random shooting pain in the veins on my wrist. I can’t remember if it’s my left or right wrist, but there it is. I don’t know what it means, and it usually only lasts a little while, seconds to minutes. I don’t know what it means but it’s always been there.

Also, I’m just generally out of shape. I was a skinny kid, and at about 10 I started overeating, mostly out of sheer bordom. I got pretty fat and since then I’ve had a thin build but some definite extra weight. When I hit my growth spurt and started getting taller, the weight distributed and I was close to bein thin for a while, but eventually I just got fat again. Now it comes with stretch marks. Yep, I’m 20, and I have stretch marks. I’m not even morbidly obsese, I think I’m actually only between 10 and 20 pounds overweight, but I have stretch marks, on my arms, my sides, and my butt (you really wanted to know that, didn’t you?). It makes me feel ugly and unnatractive. Sometimes I feel the only real attractiveness I have is in my face, which hasn’t been clear of redness or acne since I was 12.

Let’s continue with the strange health problems, shall we? I don’t know how to eat healthy. I honeslty wish I knew people who had all the information I want. I’d have such a healthier life if only I knew how to do it. I hate soda, and I love water. Yet I drink soda constantly. I hate hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak, yet I eat them. It’s not because I specifically want to, it’s because I don’t know where to begin looking for information on what else to eat. My mom claims to want to eat healthy, but she thinks that just means buying some fruits and lettuce along with the ice cream and processed meat.

Everything about modern food is really so disgusting and unhealthy when you look at it in the broad scope of history. Our food comes in CANS, for crying out loud. Cans of meat, “soup,” vegetables, and anything else you can think of that has been so altered that it scarcely resembles it’s original form. Basically, on the whole, Americans eat lumps of chemicals and preservatives that have been prepared for them. Then you have fast food. It’s not an exaggeration when people say that McDonalds is so unhealthy it’s deadly. It’s barely anything close to resembling a meat patty on bread. All fast food is like that. It’s sickening stuff, and it’s also incredibly bad for you in every way. You’re probably better off taking a vitamin and eating some grass than you are eating fast food.

But back to my point. When I eat things like salt and peppered (I admit I have a problem with salt and pepper, it just makes everything taste better) Hot Pockets, fast food, or anything of the like, my chest hurts. And it’s always the area of my chest where my heart is. I have a lot of pain around the area where my heart is. The problem is, even mentioning it now gets me stressed and makes my heart hurt. It’s a pretty vicious cycle.

Some other problems are of the digestive nature. I have acid reflux, and I stopped taking medicine both because I’m forgetful about medicine and because my refills ran out, as did my Medicade when I turned 18. If I drink soda (especially “green” or “white” sodas, like Mountain Dew, Mello Yello, Sierra Mist, Sprite) it’s much worse than if I drink “dark” sodas, but it happens nontheless. Interestingly enough, you’d think the answer would be to drink water, but water, especially when I haven’t eaten anything, makes it happen worse than anything else! So, if I want to avoid acid reflux, I know I shouldn’t drink soda or water. What does that leave?

Milk? Well, I’m also, to some degree, lactose intolerant. This appeared when I was about 15. I ate some high fiber cereal, not knowing what fiber does, and you know what happened afterward. Now, you think “Oh, it was just the cereal itself that did it to you, not the milk,” but this is probably the earliest memory I have of any and all cereals doing this to me. Especially if I eat a lot of it. If you’re still lost, I’ll make it clear: milk gives me diharrea. Along with other issues in that region, so let’s just say you don’t want to be hanging out with me on the couch if I’ve drank milk.

So if I drink milk, I get stomach problems, and if I drink soda or water, I have acid reflux. If I eat too much I have chest pains, and if I eat too little I’m weak and thus panic attacks are induced much easier. When a panic attack is happening, I’m lightheaded, so taking a lot of deep breaths to slow my breathing just makes me more lightheaded, while on the other hand if I don’t take deep breaths the panic gets worse. In all these situations, I’m pretty much screwed if I do and screwed if I don’t. The digestive ones I can handle, because none of them involve me throwing up, and throwing up is really the only digestive thing I just can’t stand. Diharrea doesn’t bother me because it gives me plenty of time to think/read/play GameBoy, any of the other fun things you can do in the bathroom.

Oh, I forgot this one, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I honestly don’t want to get into what this one does, because it’s just altogether incredibly weird, but suffice it to say the main symptom of this one is that I constantly mumble things under my breath. It’s not as bad as it was when I was a kid, where I had to do things in even or odd incraments, or when I had to compulsively blink, crack my jaw, or any of the other behaviors. Now the obsessive behaviors are mostly of the mental kind, and I have for years included certain key words at the end of my sentences under my breath, and those key words have changed. If you’re still confused, I don’t blame you, but for example, after every sentence I used to mumble “One might have said.” That became, “or one might have said,” for some grammatically inexplicable reason. Now it’s usually, “or stop it hush Jesse.” Yeah, they usually begin with “or,” I don’t know why.

 Also, another weird mental thing I think is caused by the OCD is that because I have a fear of having no control over my life, I fear death immensely, and especially the death of those close to me, so when I’m feeling scared or vulnerable, it’s almost as if mentally I feel that that “death energy” is radiating from me, and if I touch the person I care about, I could cause them to die. It’s very weird, I know, but there it is. I’m a pretty messed up guy.

 So, those are my issues. But that’s only one element. We’ve covered mental and physical, but we still have emotional. Due to some weird stuff that happened to me when I was a child, I’ve got quite a few emotional issues. I have problems with control in my own life, and as such I’ve sought solace in many a fantasy world, primarily the reason why I was interested in Final Fantasy as a child and a teenager. I live in the real world now, and losing myself in a fantasy world isn’t as tempting as it used to be, I feel I’m mature enough to appreciate the borders of fantasy and reality now. Regardless, I tend to create comfort zones to stay in: the computer, listening to music and hunting through iTunes, playing video games and listening to TV audio in the PIP window. I always need a ritual to keep myself calm.

Oh that’s right, I was going to tell you about the past couple of weeks.

So, it began when I started panicking that Monday. Throughout the day, I had little panic episodes, but I assume I was fine when I got home. Every time I went out during that week, I got scared of having another panic-filled day, and because I was scared of panicking, I of course panicked. It got so bad that on Thursday I refused to go with my mother to help her, and as a result I was fired (along with being “grounded” from the phone and the internet like a juvenile). Oddly enough, that day we went to the bookstore (I managed to do pretty well there, I ran into some people and actually talked to them a bit about what was going on with me and my anxiety), and the manager basically offered me a job, and told me to put in an application and call him. Of course this would be during the week when I started regressing so far that going out in public was horrifying for me.

To make a lengthy story somewhat less lengthy, during a visit to the mall on that same day a friend jokingly said to me over the phone that I had agoraphobia. I looked it up and apparently I actually have all the symptoms of agoraphobia exactly. Now, I’m not saying I have it or diagnosing myself with it, but this entry is to get all this off of my chest, so I’m mentioning it. So I convinced myself I was scared to go out in public, and guess what, I’ve been scared to go out in public. I really think part of it is just that I psyched myself out, but it has been really scary. July 4th was horrible, not only because of the fireworks but because I rode along for a 15 minute trip to check on someone’s house who’s out of town, and the whole time I was freaking out and wanting to get back home.

At this moment, I feel alright, especially getting all of this off of my chest. I’m sorry to dump so much drama on you but hey, it’s my blog, right? I’ve never kept a journal for nearly as long as this before. I could continue about how my father called me this morning and made several possible references to a scathing Facebook message I sent him about how he fucked me up as a child, but I just don’t have the energy right now to go into all of that and I’m finally feeling positive. I think we’ve had a sufficient amount of drama, I feel like I’ve got more in me to dump out, but hey, there’s always next time, right?

I think it might be time for another fun blog. Maybe about Final Fantasy VII! I ordered a PS1 memory card a couple weeks ago and I’ve been playing nonstop since it arrived, it’s really a fun game! I might do a “Jesse’s thoughts, tips, and precautions on Final Fantasy VII” type thing. I’ve been wanting to do reviews for a while now, I just never really finish anything. I want to do a review on Boys For Pele, when I feel I’ve sufficiently sucked what juice out of it I need for a review. Right now I’m moslty in video game mode though.

So! I think it might be time to start doing reviews. After slowly making my way through it for almost a year, I finished a book called The Innocent Mage. It was really stupid. The plot didn’t even thicken until about 100 pages before the ending, and the book is 500 pages long. But I’ll have to tell you about it some other time. The one thing I did like about it is that it ended on a cliffhanger. I like cliffhangers; I like staying hooked. That’s what makes True Blood a good show. Anyway, it might be time for a review on that one soon.

Until next time.  And remember: there ain’t no gettin’ off o’ this train we’re on! This train we’re on don’t make no stops!

Barret reference anyone?

Wow, what a dramatic change in mood I’ve had since getting all that weight off my chest. This blog, mentally healthy? I think so.

Family

My Tori Amos collection has grown by two CDs: one album, Under the Pink, and the Hey Jupiter EP.

Under the Pink is Tori’s second album, the followup to 1992’s Little Earthquakes. Funny story: before I ever really knew who Tori was, I actually found two mint condition copies of Under the Pink, as well as the Crucify EP (and since it didn’t include Smells Like Teen Spirit, it has to have been an international version), and I bought none of them. That’s right, I left them all there, assuming that Tori would turn out to be another Annie Lennox: I’d get excited, decide to buy all  of her albums, and then decide she wasn’t quite my style, and I’d have another CD I didn’t want. I probably would have enjoyed Under the Pink had I bought it then, I’ve heard a few people say that this is the best of Amos’ albums to start with. It walks a fine line between the somewhat radio-friendly sounds of Little Earthquakes and the off-kilter obscurity of Boys For Pele. It also has Cornflake Girl, one of my favorites which includes an awesome piano breakdown in the bridge.

In preparation for the arrival of Under the Pink (I bought it on eBay), I downloaded the music video for the album’s first track, Pretty Good Year. Later on, in the Boys For Pele era, Tori would release a music video for the remix of Professional Widow, featuring clips from all of her videos up to that point. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the clips were of Tori in a white dress doing choreography, and choreography seems quite out of the norm for her. I, of course, love choreography, and constantly make music videos in my head that include it. Anyway, the choreography clip was from Pretty Good Year, during this awesome moment in the bridge where the song transforms from a soft ballad to a screaming, rocking anthem, and then back again.

The second new addition is the Hey Jupiter EP, the title track of which isn’t the album version, but a remix called the Dakota Version. This is also the version used in the music video, the version featured on her retrospective collection A Piano, and generally seems to be the one listened to the most. It seems to me almost every single from Boys For Pele was remixed when it became a single; that doesn’t surprise me since much of Pele is very out in left field as far as radio goes. The remixes aren’t always a bad thing though, I’ve heard the original version of Talula and I think it’s terrible compare to the Tornado Mix.

The rest of the EP is live performances. Sugar and Honey are both B-sides from Under the Pink, the former about a cafe boy who couldn’t remember how many sugars Tori liked in her tea after serving her for nine months, and the latter Tori says is her favorite song from Under the Pink, but it was cut during mastering. The next track is a live performance of the Merry Widow version of Professional Widow. This is a very different take on Professional Widow, slow, brooding, and emotional, with Tori literally screaming through the bridge, and the entire song is backed by a harmonium. She jokingly mentions before beginning the song that the last time she tried singing it she “gave myself a brain annurism.” The final track is my favorite, a cover of Over the Rainbow. Having been a fan of Evanescence, I’m too used to seeing the word “haunting” attached to songs, and I wouldn’t say that it is haunting in my opinion, I just find it to be very emotional. This rarely happens, but I actually can’t seem to hear the song without tearing up, and that’s special because not every song effects me like that. It’s very soft, very quiet, very vulnerable, scared, and wishing.

As for the Tori Amos material I already have, I’ve basically given up on listening to A Piano: The Collection, because I want to hear the originals before I hear their remastered versions. Even though many of the songs stay true to their originals, I would still prefer to hear them on their respective albums first, and then if I ever get the collection, I’ll enjoy it a lot more.

I’ve revisited Tales of a Librarian, and found that after some time away from it I’ve found that it’s grown on me. I still think it’s not the best of Tori Amos’ albums to start with, the feeling is too country for my tastes. The album isn’t without it’s own original material though: Angels and Snow Cherries From France are new tracks, while earlier B-Sides Sweet Dreams and Mary were completely redone for this collection. Tales of a Librarian also features the radio edit of Armand Van Helden’s Star Trunk Funkin’ remix of Professional Widow, which was included on the second re-release of Boys For Pele and the Professional Widow single.

American Doll Posse is finally beginning to grow on me, the album is radically different from Tori’s earlier works, particularly Boys For Pele, which is almost entirely instruments and vocals, with little to no studio work really done. Every now and then a bass guitar shows up, but for the most part, Boys For Pele is piano, harpsichord, and vocals. American Doll Posse comes off as being over-produced upon the first listen, but after some time the songs do begin to grow on you. Tori did say that A Piano was the end of an era, and that American Doll Posse was a step in a new direction. Her tenth album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, seems to be just as studio-focused as it’s predecessor, and while it is kind of a shame that Tori probably won’t be making another Under the Pink any time soon, it is good to know that she refuses to become a fading memory in the mind of the music world, and that she’s trying to stay current and explore new composition styles.

In personal news, I had a brief chat with the owner of my local bookstore, he saw me wandering and asked if there was anything he could help me find. I fecetiously replied, “A job,” and he told me to fill out an application and call him. Now, that’s something that managers usually say, but he also went as far as to ask if I had a problem working in the cafe. I don’t think he would have been so thorough about it if they didn’t need new help. This is actually the job I’ve always wanted, but as it would happen I’ve had a really fucked up past week.

Emotionally, that is. I have problems with panic/anxiety/stress/etc. and they usually rear their ugly head when I’m out in public. Now they’re starting to take over my whole life. I’m having small panic attacks all the time, regardless of where I am, even in my room which is usually my sanctuary. I’ve had a hard time this week trying to stop thinking about it, and I feel a little better now that I’ve gotten away from my house, but still, it’s becoming a serious problem that I can’t handle on my own anymore. I need medication. I know that sounds like a quick fix, but it isn’t. I want a psychologist, I want someone I can really talk to about all this and get all of this off of my chest, and if need be, I want medication. I want to be able to get in a car or walk into the grocery store without feeling like I’m going to pass out, without my vision blurring, and without my heart beating out of my chest. It’s not fair, I’ve dealt with this for 3 years now and I need it to stop. I just want to be able to feel normal, like I did before I ever passed out in the middle of my classroom in 11th grade, when my life was forever changed, and I would spend every day until this very moment fearing for my health.

And that’s really what it comes down to: fear. If I’m not afraid, I don’t have any significant problems. If I am afraid, the terror follows me around, looming over me and casting a shadow on everything I do. I can’t be brave by myself all the time anymore, I need help. I need someone who knows what I’m going through and knows how to combat it to give me the tools to stop it. I don’t expect it to go away by magic, but I have to have the help I need to be able to get a job and live my own life. If not, my relationship is going to fall apart, and I’m going to become just like the rest of my family: an overgrown child. I already am.

I hate to say those things about myself, if for no other reason than because I know my mother would agree with them. Have I ever mentioned my mother? I hate her. Sometimes I can get along with her, sometimes I even find her pleasant, but when it comes down to it, I hate her in a way so deeply that I can’t stop myself from hating her. And it’s her fault. I know it’s unhealthy to blame your problems on other people, but the majority of my problems are her fault. She’s exactly the opposite of everything I think a parent should be. She has, for half of my life now, disrespected, humiliated and deeply hurt me in ways that I think I’m probably going to spend a lot of time getting over. She is the reason I have stress problems, both because I inherited them from her and because she taught me to fear life, and most importantly to fear her. I honestly have many times wished that she were dead. Because my life would be a lot brighter if she were. Not physically, because I wouldn’t have anyone supporting me, and yes, she does support me, and no, I am not happy about that. The problem is, she never taught me how to be an adult, because I don’t think she really knows how to be one herself. She didn’t raise me, she just kept me fed and clothed, and because she’s become crazier with age, she’s ruined my sister, who now is an entitled brat because her mother has always given her anything she wants. If myself and my brother are any indication, my sister might realize what kind of a person my mother is one day and try to fix all the problems she’s already created for her, but I have a feeling that in the end I’m going to be living somewhere far away from my family with no contact with them at all, and my sister along with the rest of my family will be conditioned to hate me.

Family. I don’t know what that really means. But one day, I’d like to create my own. I’d like to raise a child and teach them about truth, I’d like to try and bring a person into the world who has the ability to question, someone who isn’t fooled by society, someone who yearns to bring love and peace to the human race as much as I do. And maybe he wouldn’t hate society, or humans as a whole, the way I do. Maybe he’d be better than me, because I would give him a chance to flourish. I am a brilliant flower blooming amongst a family of weeds, and I hate them for being who they are.