Sunday, 8 July 2012

May 2012 - Popular Music

Tori Amos
  • Little Earthquakes
  • Under the Pink
  • Boys for Pele
  • From the Choirgirl Hotel
  • To Venus and Back (studio disc)
  • Strange Little Girls
  • Scarlet's Walk
  • The Beekeeper
  • American Doll Posse
  • Abnormally Attracted to Sin
  • Midwinter Graces
  • Night of Hunters
Kate Bush - The Sensual World
Sheryl Crow - C'mon C'mon
The Dissociatives - The Dissociatives
Eurythmics - Be Yourself Tonight
Peter Gabriel - So
george - Unity
Gotye - Making Mirrors
Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night
Wendy Matthews - The Witness Tree
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Joni Mitchell - Wild Things Run Fast
Pearl Jam - Vs
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Something for Kate - Desert Lights
Sting - Mercury Falling
Talk Talk - It's My Life
Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Fire and Air volumes
Washington - I Believe You Liar

Yes, I did.  I went even more Tori-crazy than usual.  All twelve studio albums in one month.

I certainly hadn't tried to do this in the relatively short time that there's been 12 albums.  I almost certainly have done this kind of 'career overview' before, but I'm not at all sure what the album count might have been on the last occasion.  And 12 is just one of those numbers that gives a sense of completeness and order. It just felt like time.

I should also point out that I do "career overviews" for many of my favoured musicians. I suppose that none of the others have been on this scale (for pop music at least).  Taking into account not just the number of albums but the fact that half of them are quite lengthy ones.

Rather than be chronological, I used a random number generator to choose the next album for me. By sheer chance, someone started a new 'rank the albums' thread just after I'd started, so I was also trying to judge the albums at the same time - and definitely doing that on an album basis, rather than counting highly favoured songs.

I might as well report here on the ranking.  At the top was Boys for Pele, then From the Choirgirl Hotel VERY close behind. Next pair were American Doll Posse and Scarlet's Walk, again close to each other.

The next group were virtually inseparable, but in the end I ordered them as follows: Strange Little Girls, Little Earthquakes, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, Night of Hunters and Under the Pink.

Trailing slightly behind was To Venus and Back, then The Beekeeper and lastly Midwinter Graces.

The overwhelming impression, though, was how much satsifaction and enjoyment I got even from the 'lesser' albums.  Or, to break it down further, that's 180 songs and I'd say there's really only one that I consistently don't get much pleasure out of.

What IS it about this woman? As she changes and varies her style, with arguably 4 or 5 distinct 'periods' to her career already, what is it that stays and that attracts me so much?  As best I can tell, it's her sense of musical structure and sonic colour. And it's the combination of that with her desire to change her musical language in some way on each occasion that keeps yielding rewards for me. Twelve different musical worlds to spend time in.  Twelve different palettes.

I can't see me getting tired of it.  Yes, there are periods where I don't listen to her much (for example, after this enormous binge), but each time that I return I continue to find rewards.  So I'll keep returning.

PS And it's worth mentioning that I listened to plenty of other music during the month as well.  I mean, there are another 18 albums on that list!

1 comment:

  1. I can't foresee getting tired of her either! I recently listened to ADP again and was appreciating songs in utterly new ways. There aren't many albums that age like fine wine and continue to enhance flavor over the years.

    Still, I agree... Pele reigns.