Tori Amos,
Hey Jupiter
(Atlantic, 1996)

This EP shows how much Tori Amos loves her fans, for this is truly a magical collection of songs. The Dakota version of "Hey Jupiter" somehow manages to be even more beautiful and powerful than the original version from the Boys for Pele CD. Then we have four live performances that really highlight Tori's personal interaction with her audience. She personally introduces the first three, while audience members chaotically shout out one song request after another.

"Sugar" is a marvelous song that inexplicably never appeared on a full album. Another live performance of "Sugar" made its way on to her later To Venus & Back release, but that does nothing to take away from the classic performance offered here. Next is "Honey," which Tori describes as her favorite song from the Under the Pink album -- however, the song was inexplicably cut from the final release of that CD (because, Tori admits, she was a "ding-a-ling"). "Honey" deserves its place among Tori's very best songs.

The most interesting (and weird) track on this EP is the "Merry Widow" version of "Professional Widow." The song begins rather slowly and darkly, accompanied by a Gothic-style organ, and the essence of the song continually builds up toward a raucous ending. This live version is quite unlike what you will hear on Boys for Pele. Finally, Tori delivers a soft, mellifluous rendition of Judy Garland's trademark song. I consider Judy Garland to be the greatest singer to ever live, and I would normally endorse jail time for any performer covering one of her songs, but Tori's version of "Over the Rainbow" is a sensitive, respectful and perfectly acceptable rendition.

In this case, EP stands for essentially perfect.

by Daniel Jolley
3 December 2005

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