To Venus and Back, the fifth album released by singer and songwriter Tori Amos, is a two-disc album set including a studio album and a live album. The first disc, titled Venus: Orbiting, features eleven original songs that finds Amos experimenting heavily in electronica. It spawned the singles "Bliss" (August 1999), "1000 Oceans" (August 1999), "Glory of the 80s" (Europe only, November 1999), and "Concertina" (U.S. only, February 2000). The second disc, Venus Live: Still Orbiting, is a thirteen-track album compiling live tracks recorded from her Plugged '98 tour. This is the first official live release of Amos' career.
All songs written and composed by Amos.
To Venus and Back, which began life as a proposed B-sides album, is sparser both in production and arrangement than From the Choirgirl Hotel, but is similar to its predecessor in that it features overt electronica influences and a relatively subdued piano sound. The album finds Amos' voice and piano subverted in a sonic maze of electronic washes and effects, and some songs, notably "Juárez" and the epic "Dātura," are largely built around these effects. Topics covered on the album include unsolved murdered female maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez on the U.S.-Mexico border, hallucinogenic plants, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
In November 1999, Tori Amos was quoted by Pulse Magazine as saying that this record says a lot about the shadows and the shadow world.
Given the conditions under which the album was created, To Venus and Back is unique in that it does not have any studio tracks that serve as B-sides. Instead the album's singles are backed by live tracks recorded from the previous year's tour.
Following the theme of the album's second disc, which is composed of live tracks arranged similarly to an actual concert, the B-sides that appear on the album's singles are live songs performed solo with Amos on the piano. The chart on the left lists only the songs that were released as B-sides on singles from To Venus and Back.
The sole track recorded during the To Venus and Back recording sessions that does not appear on the album, nor as a B-side, is the nine-minute "Zero Point". Of the song's exclusion from the album, Amos has said that the song wasn't intentionally left off the album, rather an over-sensitivity about a certain gardening issue led "Dātura" to being included instead. Interestingly, the liner notes of To Venus and Back state, "Zero Point - your time is coming". The song was released seven years later on A Piano: The Collection (2006).
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