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Thread: Song of the Week: Flavor

  1. #1
    Threat level: Bitch in a wheelchair andy's Avatar
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    Song of the Week: Flavor

    Battle of the minds
    Cries Below
    Cries Above
    You must pick a side:
    Will you choose fear?
    Will you choose love?

    What does it look like?
    This orbital ball
    From the fringes of the Milky Way...
    What does it feel like?
    This orbital ball
    On The fringes of the Milky Way
    Raining fla..fla...flavor
    Icing fla..fla...flavor,
    flavor, love...

    Who's god then is God?
    They all want jur..jurisdiction
    In the book of Earth
    Who's God spread fear?
    Spread love?

    What does it look like?
    This orbital ball
    From the fringes of the Milky Way...
    What does it feel like?
    This orbital ball
    On The fringes of the Milky Way...
    Raining fla..fla...flavor
    Icing fla..fla...flavor,
    flavor, love...

    Turn up the frequency.

    What does it look like?
    This orbital ball
    From the fringes of the Milky Way...
    What does it feel like?
    This orbital ball
    On The fringes of the Milky Way...
    Raining fla..fla...flavor
    Icing fla..fla...flavor
    Spread that fla..fla...flavor
    Flavor
    Flavor
    Flavor...
    Looking now at Flavor on my computer, it is the only song I have bothered to mark as having five stars on my iTunes – so what is it about this song? First of all, the context of the song within the Era of Sin. Although there is still a lot of debate, many of us here feel that Abnormally Attracted to Sin was a return to form (albeit with opinions on how varyingly successful it was) – Flavor was one of the songs that for me, really sounded like Tori Amos, something I don't think I'd felt genuinely for years (on record at least).

    When I first heard this album I was living on the coast with little else to do on my summer days off but walk a few miles along the rocks, by the sea, with my iPod, a couple of cans and a spliff in my bag. I remember the first time this song really hit me. The sun was beating down fiercely, everything was lit like a film set and coloured like a cartoon. The wind was strong, and I was coming up over a hill, looking at the horizon, under an utterly clear blue sky. I must have played Flavor five times over.

    The sparse beats at the start with the painted synth behind felt just like the wind coming off the land – this was the first time in the longest time I had felt Tori's music create an atmosphere. The expanse of the song opened up to me like the sky – like i could see forever. I was suddenly very very aware of space, of being on the 'little blue ball' that fades away. There was something of Venus about Flavor, that expanse over which the rest was painted over – it could almost take 1000 Oceans place on Venus to bring the galactic album to the perfect close. Of course it's production is cleaner, but each melody line and beat seemed to hover, suspended over an infinity, briefly twisting together to create the swish and swirl of a galaxy from afar.

    The piano line is so basic and simple, but it is dressed gorgeously by the synth back up, and that tinny little buzz of a hook, probably (for me) one of the most original moments in her last five records – and then something that reminded me of that unforgettable moment when her left hand hits the bass notes for the first time in the bridge of Siren - “icing fla-fla-fla-” - unbelievable. From here there is the subtlest build, as the song begins to chart her own depth, Matt's djembe slowly raising the pulse, another robotic beat slipping over the top. The production makes a sharp swerve at obvious and I do feel that when she sings “turn up that frequency” the song really does take off. It's not the grand swell of an orchestra, rather a held breath as you stand up on your tiptoes. Even the Space: 2099 guitar line can't ruin this song, but instead melds a perfect frame around it before suddenly dispersing all structure, and what is left cascades away from itself and the song is over.

    Did I mention I had a spliff in my back pocket?

    Anyway – as for the lyrics and the theme of the song I've always had the idea that the song is sung from the perspective of some alien force trying to impose logic onto the ways of our race in order to understand the way we behave “What does it feel like? What does it look like?” – hence the use of autotune, which isn't abused to the point where it makes Tori sound inhuman, but rather strikes the pitch of some silver, long-necked extra terrestrial, who is from an advanced culture that has somehow managed to move beyond war, religion – but by the same token, at the expense of some emotion – by being a race that has only focused on the advancement of its world. When I think about Tori's interviews about being addicted to sins that harm ones self, this song becomes like Ophelia, questioning why we treat ourselves so badly, but not only on a personal level, but as a planet, race and culture. Of course it never gives us any ultimate answer, rather questions that don't seem to have any answers at all other than dualities.

    From Wikipedia:

    “If there are two or more particles which have identical interactions, then they may be interchanged without affecting the physics. Any (complex) linear combination of these two particles give the same physics, as long as they are orthogonal or perpendicular to each other. In other words, the theory possesses symmetry transformations[...].”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavour...cle_physics%29

    To me, what this means in the context of the song, is that if fear and love (as an example) inhabit the same space in the human psyche, they can, they can be directly interchanged with one another, in order to create the positive to the negative.

    I think what really gets me about this song is that it is the first song in the longest time that paints a kind of synesthetic picture in my head, something I used to be very used to when I would listen to Tori's work. Despite the clean production or the autotuned voice, I still sense a great amount of emotion coming from her. It's a marvelous piece of music and it is the song that finally completed the trio of the three Tori songs that move me, outside of her catalogue – something that I think has allowed me to like the song even more. All in all, for me, one of the best songs in the last ten years of her career; simplistic, emotive, ambient and really really good when you're out on a walk, in the middle of nowhere, stoned.


    The Visualette:



    Live:

    Last edited by andy; 12-20-2010 at 04:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Get Out The Dark Adam's Avatar
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    Great thoughts, Andy. I'm off to listen to this song after quite some time. I love the idea of it being an alien being singing this song. Makes more sense to me now. But why "flavor"? What does that word have to do with anything?


    ETA: Back and you're right. If this was a new artist, I think tons of people would be creaming themselves. It really is such a great song and makes me realize just how versatile she really is...
    Last edited by Adam; 12-20-2010 at 05:32 AM.

  3. #3

    Great post...

    Great post and "Flavor". It definitely deserves such praise and focus. I find it quite an intoxicating tune and agree w/ its lineage stemming all the way to TVAB.

  4. #4
    impeccable armadillo May H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy View Post
    There was something of Venus about Flavor, that expanse over which the rest was painted over it could almost take 1000 Oceans place on Venus to bring the galactic album to the perfect close. Of course it's production is cleaner, but each melody line and beat seemed to hover, suspended over an infinity, briefly twisting together to create the swish and swirl of a galaxy from afar.
    I've had similar thoughts! When reading the comments on 1,000 Oceans a few weeks ago, I realised that 1,000 Oceans and Flavor could be paired -- the first song is sung by someone on Earth who has lost a loved one, the second (as I saw it) by the one who has died and is now watching the Earth from the stars.

    I love the sequence of Strong Black Vine --> Flavor on AATS. The first is about chaos and war on Earth, the second about peace in the universe and realising how petty the wars on Earth seem from afar. I see the narrator of the song as a deity, but an extraterrestrial makes sense too.
    Black Diamond finally confessed

  5. #5
    Spoiler King RisingPhoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrickidz View Post
    Great thoughts, Andy. I'm off to listen to this song after quite some time. I love the idea of it being an alien being singing this song. Makes more sense to me now. But why "flavor"? What does that word have to do with anything?


    ETA: Back and you're right. If this was a new artist, I think tons of people would be creaming themselves. It really is such a great song and makes me realize just how versatile she really is...
    I always took Flavor to represent the different religions/philosophies of the world....and sort of a jab at organized religion that people have a flavor of the day when it comes to religion. I'm not really articulating my thoughts well, so I hope this makes sense

  6. #6
    Threat level: Bitch in a wheelchair andy's Avatar
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    The quote from Wikipedia is from the page about 'flavor' - what I wrote after that was my take on why she is singing about that concept.

    On my own edit of Sin, I put Flavor as the second to last song (Lady in Blue, followed by Oscar's Theme). Sometimes I find the placing of the song on an album can really change both the track and the album, and I certainly feel Flavor has the kind of grnadure that can close a record.

  7. #7
    Get Out The Dark Adam's Avatar
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    Oh. Got ya, Andy. Agreed that it could end Venus. Definitely. And RisingPhoenix, thanks for that. I can see that, too.

    ETA: Guys, I've just started using headphones ( can you believe this?)... There are so many layers to this song I hadn't heard. I'm gonna have to re-listen to AATS with these on. And if this song helped close the album? Amazing.
    Last edited by Adam; 12-20-2010 at 05:06 PM.

  8. #8
    Neptunecello Neptunecello's Avatar
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    I don't know, guys...I love reading everyone's responses & will revisit this song. But I just find it so boring. At first, it seems very TVAB-era, which...well, I love TVAB and find nothing about it boring (except maybe "Josephine"). But Flavor is just one of those lackluster Tori tunes of the last 6 years (see: Mother Revolution, Girl Disappearing, Mary Jane)...
    But I'm open to having another listen. It's definitely moody, that's for sure. I don't like her pronunciation on "milky way." Ugh. But I love Tori, so it's cool. ;-)
    Diagnosed as sound

  9. #9
    I always heard "From the friend you sold the milky way". And I kinda saw it (in my head) as a follow up to David Bowies Man who Sold to World.

    Its definatly one of my favourite tori songs.

  10. #10
    worth a million in prizes .chris's Avatar
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    I love the piano in the live versions of this song. She really took it to another level. Flavor is proof that girl still can write and produce a good song.

  11. #11
    Love love love this song! Agree it's one of the pieces on the album that highlights some return to form - in lyrics, music and production. Venus is also one of my favourite albums, and the song really does sound like it could fit on there.

  12. #12
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    Flavor enveloped me when it came out on the barnes and noble website before the release of the album. I burned a cd with it on it, and I would play it and Give non-stop repeatedly. I was at the beach during that time, and it was just came across so beautiful listening to it while watching the waves crash on the shore. I didn't get to hear it Live on the past tour, but I love the Live renditions I have been able to find on youtube.com. I think it's probably my favorite song on AATS. I find that it and Lust sound rather nice paired together on a mixed cd, so it's funny that so many hear the TVAB connection, because I certainly did.

  13. #13
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
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    Flavor is just beautiful. I think the original post on here is beautiful, too. Flavor is definitely my favorite song from AATS/most played.
    I kinda like the visualette. Well the part where she is streamlining on that swamp boat thingy.

  14. #14
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    I liked Flavor ok enough. It does strike me as very Venus as well. I wasn't impressed with it live... It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my thing. While I like Space Dog too, the both of them together kinda mellowed me out too much together.

  15. #15
    thundering blissful towards death stillorbiting's Avatar
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    I love the song, but what is going on with that visualette? I'm not even trying to be particularly snarky; I'm quite serious. What does any of that have to do with the song (which evokes space for me, not water)? I do genuinely like the bit at the end with the tiny house, not that that has any more to do with it, but it's interesting imagery. But the rest of it... you better believe I wouldn't wear designer clothes, heels, and full makeup on an afternoon boat ride, anyway.

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