Music

Tori Amos - "Cruel" (video collection)

The videos below illustrate the versatility of the song “Cruel”, which first appeared on from the choirgirl hotel (1998).

“‘Cruel’ was always one of the favorite live songs, especially when we were recording…what ended up being the live disc on To Venus and Back,” Jon Evans recently told PopMatters. “It was a real exploration, a kind of super-aggressive take on the song. It started that way in the studio, but it definitely took on a life of its own live. I know I used to break strings all the time on that song, because it was such an epic venting. The studio version is three and a half minutes or so and the live version was generally seven or eight minutes long. We’d have these long, drawn-out sections where she would improvise vocally and we would just try to keep building and building until she cued us. Which is also a really great thing about that, playing with Tori as opposed to so many people who are, say, pop singers, or in the rock world where everything is so scripted, with her there’s always a ton of improvisation. They never turn into hippy jams, but where there’s room to explore, she has always very comfortable doing that and letting things go where they need to go, knowing that we would be paying attention so when there’s a subtle queue we could get back to where we needed to be.”

The videos below illustrate the versatility of the song “Cruel”, which first appeared on from the choirgirl hotel (1998). While Tori’s live version from the same year is the stuff of legend, perhaps the most ferocious incarnation of “Cruel” came in 2007 when Tori roared lived onstage as the character Pip during the American Doll Posse tour. Stepping away from the piano in character pushed Tori in a way that changed the song into something tougher than ever, something more dangerous. Her howling soprano rants in the song’s bridge are bone-chilling. “It’s full-on agro-noise,” said Matt Chamberlain. “That’s the kind of Tori I’ve always been attracted to: the noise part. Before I started playing with her professionally, I really liked “God” because it had all of that noisy guitar stuff in it.” In 2011, “Cruel” underwent yet another re-imagining, this time with the “noise” provided by the Apollon Musagete Quartett. Refined, elegant, yet still every bit as deadly as its 2007 cousin, this version of the song was more black widow than panther. “I saw her last show in LA with the quartet and I feel that it was the best realization of her music that I've seen recreated live,” said Eric Rosse. “It was really captivating. The arrangements that John Philip Shenale put together were great, and the players were really amazing. It seemed to be the clearest translation of what she's been trying to do with her music yet.”

 

 

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Music

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.

Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

Music

Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Music

Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.