Thursday, July 21, 2011

For a Song: Talula [The Tornado Mix]

Tori Amos: Talula [The Tornado Mix]


The album title Boys For Pele has nothing to do with soccer. Like so many people, I first became aware of Tori Amos when her solo debut, Little Earthquakes, came out. Here was a set of songs by a woman who had been badly mistreated by the men in her life, and who was releasing years of pent up anger in her songs. Musically polished and emotionally raw, these songs featured Amos voice and piano, with only a bit of embellishment. Yes, there were strings, but the sound was still intimate. This couldn’t go on forever. At some point, Amos had to broaden her musical palette, and also her emotional range, or people would stop listening. And she did. Boys For Pele is Amos’ transitional album. Emotionally, she has talked about how she had to cast aside the various men who had hurt her, so that she could reach an emotional state where she could welcome love into her life. So each of the album’s songs is about one of these “Boys”, and Pele is the Hawaiian volcano goddess to whom Amos is symbolically sacrificing them. Musically, Amos started working with a band, particularly with bass and drums, and there are some unusual instruments in the album’s songs. This would lead Amos to the more muscular sound she is known for now. Talula [The Tornado Mix] is a key song in this development. Here a strong beat supports Amos’ lead on harpsichord. The combination shouldn’t work at all, but does. There are also horns on the song, used for accents. If you have an older edition of this album, you may be wondering about the “Tornado Mix” in the title. Apparently, this is not how the song was originally released, something I didn’t know until I researched this post. The strong beats were added in this remix, which has replaced the original version on more recent releases of the album. Amos apparently didn’t like the way the beats were done on this remix, and said that she would have rather done them herself. Since then, she has, and that has become a key part of her sound. I don’t have the original version of Talula. If anyone does, please let me know. I would love to add it to this post.

Update: I have the best readers in the world. A big thank you goes out to David Heil, who sent me the original version of Talula. Here it is:

Tori Amos: Talula (original version)