14 April 2008

"floating city" || y kant tori read || 1988

Anyone who knows the story of Y Kant Tori Read may skip the next paragraph. For those who have never heard of them, please read on.

Y Kant Tori Read was piano rocker Tori Amos' first foray into recording music on a major label. After winning a songwriting contest as a kid and having her song pressed on a 7-inch single, Tori continued to write music and finally landed a deal with Atlantic Records in 1988 with a group that was essentially a rock outfit to play music to words that she had penned. They were called Y Kant Tori Read as an allusion to the fact that Tori had difficulty reading sheet music when she was in school. The album was not commercially successful, but there were singles released of the songs "The Big Picture" and "Cool On Your Island." A music video was shot for the former featuring Tori clad in leather and wonderfully large '80s dresses (check it out here). Tori doesn't consider the work on this album true to her style, and to this day I've only seen one interview where she even acknowledges its existence, only in the form of a reference to "her rock chick years."

While Tori and her current fans may not dig it, I actually think that the Y Kant Tori Read LP is one of the most brilliant works that I've ever heard. I love hearing Tori's silky voice and her gentle piano melodies over the amazing drum work. The sound of the album is almost forest-y; I feel like I'm in the woods near a beach when I listen to it. It's relaxing, yet exuberant, and it totally rocks.

"Floating City" is my personal favorite track from the album, so that's why it's featured today. I'm not going to follow my wont and deconstruct the song's lyrical content, because I think it's much too personal. This song could easily call different images for different listeners, as with any great track.

I will say, though, that the song does seem like an odd harbinger for Midgar, the city that's home to the main characters of the game Final Fantasy VII. Midgar is a big floating city, just as the song describes.

If you plan to track down a copy of this album, your best bet is to get the LP. Plan to pay about $50, but rest assured that you won't end up with a bootleg. DO NOT buy the Y Kant Tori Read picture disc LP. It is a bootleg. The official Atlantic LP was only on black vinyl. It was released on cassette and CD as well, but both are even rarer than the LP and you can expect to pay much, much more, and you're very unlikely to find a genuine Atlantic CD. Good luck hunting! You can do it! I found one!

Listen to it here.

Available On:
Y Kant Tori ReadAtlantic81845-1LP
Y Kant Tori ReadAtlantic81845-4Cass
Y Kant Tori ReadAtlantic81845-2CD