Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 42

Thread: SOTW: Sugar

  1. #1
    A Matter Of How You See It Kala's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,452

    SOTW: Sugar



    Lyrics:

    Saw my first Tori Amos show with a friend the summer of 1998 (Plugged Tour). Iíd only been casually listening to her music for a few months, so although I owned LE through FtCH, I knew nothing about the B-side catalog. After performing Precious Things, iieee, Cornflake Girl, Crucify and Spark, Tori played a 6th song that I didnít recognize and throughout the entire performance I kept asking my companion ďWTF is this song?!Ē It was so powerful and beautiful and riveting that I immediately fell in love with it. Rarely had a song impacted me quite like that after just one listen. And although the rest of the show was fabulous - very high energy, stellar set, Tori in top form vocally - I kept thinking back to that unknown 6th song which had really captivated me.

    Soon afterward, I discovered that the mystery song was called Sugar. About a week later, my buddy whoíd accompanied me to the show turned up with a present for me. I opened it and inside was the Hey Jupiter EP. And I was like ďYOU FOUND ITĒ. But when I listened to track 2 ĎSugar - liveĎ, I heard a very different sounding song to the one Iíd remembered from the concert. This song featured just Tori & the piano and it was then that I discovered a whole different sort of love for the music: less urgent and immediate, but sweeter and more poignant.

    I was thrilled when the following year Tori released the band soundcheck version of Sugar on TVaB: Still Orbiting. Itís by far my favorite track on the disc and thatís saying a lot since there are many gems on the CD. Whatís more: I bought the sheet music for TVaB even though Iíd not played piano in almost 20 years (!) And it was Sugar that I really wanted to learn, so I hand wrote the letters next to each note and kept repeating ďEvery Good Boy Does FineĒ. It took days of fumbling about on a borrowed keyboard, but I kept at it, (probably much to the annoyance of my neighbors) and finally ended up playing something that resembled the first several bars of the verse.

    Now it is coming upon thirteen years since I first heard the song and I still adore both the band and solo live versions. (Although I donít care for the production on the studio version, and besides, this is a song that's meant to be listened to as it's being played live). Iíve been to 12 Tori shows & have been delighted to hear Sugar at half of them. Always get the same goose flesh when I hear the first few notes.

    Iíve gone on quite a bit here and itís pretty ironic considering Iíve been a fairly harsh critic of her post SW output: I didnít even buy the last two albums. But this SOTW write-up has been like a wonderful trip down memory lane and has reminded me once again why I became a fan of the very talented and at times intensely engaging singer/songwriter/pianist/performer weíve come to know as Tori Amos.

    A little background about the song from the HIMH website:

    "I was carrying some [troll dolls] with me when I went down to the West County about a year and a half ago. And I take them with me when I'm in big trouble. So, I had to come up with a song in like seven hours. And I didn't know what I was gonna do. And I had my little trolls with me eating my egg salad on the train. And we weren't getting very far. I was writing stupid things like you know...(sings) 'i've got trolls in my pocket and I'm going to the West Country and maybe i'll get some of that cider that they all talk about and not get my ass kicked and it'd be really great!' Well, anyway, um..I can write terrible things but nobody hears most of those. So, I finally got there with my trolls and I showed up and I was sitting at the piano and I was going, "I don't know what I'm gonna write". And the engineer was there and everybody was ready to record. And I didn't tell them that I hadn't written it yet. And so I was sitting there not knowing what I was gonna do, right. And all of a sudden... Freddie Mercury had just died, who I totally adored. And he...all of a sudden I hear this voice in my ear.. and my trolls never sounded like Freddie Mercury before so I didn't think it was them. And all of a sudden I hear this voice going...(sings) Sugar...brings me sugar....
    -- Tori in-concert; Detroit, MI 07/04/94

    "I was riding on this train to the west country in England, cuz I had to make a b-side in about 12 hours. And um...usually I cheat, right, I have something already written when I'm eating like egg salad or something and I scratch things down on my lite bill that I never pay. and it's always hanging around and i always have some--ya know, a cheat. i didn't have a cheat this time. So I was like going down to the west country. and uh...you know you try to sit on the train and write about stuff. i'd like little trolls with me and i'd be like writing songs about my little trolls - that ain't gonna cut it! ya know! and um, that's when you get like delusions of serious grandeur. nobody wants to hear about my fucking trolls! (laughter) so, anyway i'm sitting there going ok that didn't work. and There was like nobody cute on the train, so i couldn't like get off! but what's cute to me is like sick to most people, you know. we won't touch that one. anyway, i end up at this place, right this house where we're recording. and nothing's coming and all of a sudden this little voice pops in my head, right here on my shoulder and freddie mercury had just passed the week before. and in his voice he sang this to me. i guess i really should have given him publishing, but it didn't work."
    -- Tori in-concert; Tampa, FL 08/03/94, Anything But Honey bootleg


    And the intro from the Hey Jupiter EP:

    "So, I had to get this song together in about um 2 hours. And this boy really pissed me off, because I had a crush on him, right...and he'd been making tea for me for nine months. [Audience is shouting, so Tori says: ĎHang on Iím telling a story!í] And so, the whole thing is...he would sit there and ask me... Now if you're making tea for a girl, right, for 9 months don't you think, guys. I mean help me out here. Your noodle, I know it can hold a lot of information, right? But don't you think, you can remember how many sugars a girl takes in her tea after 9 months!"

    Performances Ö.

    With the band - she looks and sounds gorgeous!



    Solo - again, just gorgeous.


  2. #2
    I think Sugar is definitely a definitive Tori Amos song. It is one that always goes into a mix tape for a friend.
    It's quite beautiful because it has evolved and been played in many different forms and has always been successful in any variation. It has remained poignant and it's meaning is easy to shift. It has legs. It has power and is one of the few older songs that can still bring passion to her performance.

    And how old is this song anyway? Was the studio version an LE b-side or a UTP? And I LOVE that old radio performance with the organ.
    Love the cold, stark feeling of the original, too. Musically it's unaffected and disconnected, but lyrically it's a different story.
    Truly an awesome song.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Soda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    325
    Sugar along with Precious Things were the songs that got me hooked onto Tori. I saw both of those HRL videos on youtube, and they were just insane to me.

    I had heard Winter and seen the videos for Crucify, Silent All These Years, and Bouncing Off Clouds before this I think. Not much besides that. I liked Tori I had SATY and Winter on my iPod and listened to them occasionally but they really got lost in the fray of generic pop music. :P

    But when I saw these perfomances...I just went crazy! I started crying during Precious Things after awhile cause it was just so um...powerful, I've only ever done that with one other Tori perfomance! Everything about these perfomances made me go wild! I mean who is this lady and how is she doing this to me?!

    I listened to them on Youtube as loud as possible on repeat until my dad came home and kinda ruined the party! I posted them on my Facebook and was like PEOPLE PEOPLE WHAT IN THE WORLD HOW DOES THIS EXIST? I didn't get the responses I was expecting but that's whatever.

    Coincidentally, this song (and PT) also made me want to learn the piano. On impulse I bought an expensive keyboard (well to me...I was 14 and paid for it by myself) and some piano learning stuff. I knew going into it I probably wasn't gonna learn it and I haven't. The keyboard has been sitting lonely in my room for almost a year now. So yeah...this part didn't have a happy ending like yours did.

    Ha. I wish my story was like yours and I heard it at an actual show, Youtube isn't so glamorous.
    Last edited by Soda; 01-03-2011 at 07:19 AM. Reason: i might regret this post

  4. #4
    :: dutch oven :: wout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    behind you!
    Posts
    4,012
    My favorite Tori track, period.

    One of the main reasons I think Sugar is such an amazing song is because it works so incredibly well in all its different versions. The Studio version is, I feel, vastly underrated. It's incredibly dreamy and mysterious and if you think back to when she recorded this, her girl-and-a-piano period, it goes to show how diverse she already was. I forgive her for recycling the percussion in the Hey Jupiter Dakota mix
    Actually, the use of synth and percussion almost makes it fit to be on Venus, which is funny since the ultimate Sugar is found on Venus disc 2.
    Plugged live is simply where it's at. She taps into that raw energy she was so famous for during the 90's and not only transforms but redefines the song. She brings it! I've been lucky to see it live a few times and it never fails to amaze me.
    post28!

  5. #5
    Don't turn away Partisan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Underground
    Posts
    1,290
    Quote Originally Posted by Kala View Post
    Saw my first Tori Amos show with a friend the summer of 1998 (Plugged Tour). I’d only been casually listening to her music for a few months, so although I owned LE through FtCH, I knew nothing about the B-side catalog. After performing Precious Things, iieee, Cornflake Girl, Crucify and Spark, Tori played a 6th song that I didn’t recognize and throughout the entire performance I kept asking my companion “WTF is this song?!” It was so powerful and beautiful and riveting that I immediately fell in love with it. Rarely had a song impacted me quite like that after just one listen. And although the rest of the show was fabulous - very high energy, stellar set, Tori in top form vocally - I kept thinking back to that unknown 6th song which had really captivated me.
    I had a similar experience my first time hearing the song! During the first show I saw (Under The Pink tour), it was the first song she performed. I was stunned. I'd only heard Under The Pink at that point, and I knew she was good, but I remember thinking, "ok, she's really fucking good," during Sugar. After finding out it was a b-side, I made it a mission to find every single b-side she had released.
    When they're calling
    From the edge

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cairn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2,235
    I agree with Wout. The studio version of this song is vastly underrated and remains among my favorite Tori recordings. I've been lucky enough to hear it live several times in its various incarnations.

    When Sugar got plugged, she got some ass kicking boots the likes of which very few of the other songs have ever worn. I was amazed by the transformation, however I never understood the need to ram that "you're just a pussy" in there and for me, that was one of first surfacings of Tori's self caricaturing.

    It's interesting to note that the hand gestures for the song have evolved as well. When the song was performed during the first few tours it was "when they find you gotta little in here" *hand points to crotch* and most recently it's been "when they find you gotta little in here" *hand points to heart*

    The most powerful version of Sugar I've witnessed live was somewhere in Ohio during the Scarlet's Walk tour. I have always sort of seen Sugar and Honey as tied. Could be all about the context in which I first discovered them, could be more, I don't know for sure. I felt like I had heard Sugar at my last several shows and it just hit me how I'd never heard Honey.I wrote a cutesy little note to Tori, spur of the moment (honestly it was ridiculously silly and I have no idea what possessed me to do it, one of the goofiest things I've EVER written), mentioning this and making some lame joke about knowing she was baking a cake but maybe she could substitute a little honey for the sugar. Well, not only did she deliver the MOST kickass Sugar I've ever seen, complete with puddles of drool, she immediately followed it up with a stellar version of Honey, with Jon Evans on that amazing hybrid stand up of his. I also happened to have the best seats I've ever had for a Tori show that night. Yup.

    Kala, I love that you posted the sheet music. Great choice for song of the week.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Maeby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    631
    Quote Originally Posted by Cairn View Post

    It's interesting to note that the hand gestures for the song have evolved as well. When the song was performed during the first few tours it was "when they find you gotta little in here" *hand points to crotch* and most recently it's been "when they find you gotta little in here" *hand points to heart*

    .

    I remember seeing the hand gestures during the 5 1/2 weeks tour. "Bobby's collecting bees..." Tori motions jacking off. "He used one on me." -hits the piano with her fist. I thought it was hilarious, and a little embarrassing considering the fact that I was seated next to my FIL for the show.

    I absolutely love the intensity with which Tori plays Sugar live. That's the Tori I go to the shows for. The studio version? Blah. I actually hated Sugar until I heard it played live.

  8. #8
    proud saab owner Gale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1,448
    Sugar is one special Tori song, and I definitely favor the live version. It's a song that I don't revisit often, but each time I hear it, I get wrapped up in the intensity of her voice. Classic Tori, for sure.

  9. #9
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    14,135
    Sugar is in my top two favorite Tori b-sides, and probably in my top ten all-time favorite Tori songs. I heard Sugar live for the first time in Atlanta '99, and loved it. I had been listening to the hey Jupiter EP before the concert, so it was a real treat to hear that wonderful version Live. And the live version on Still Orbiting seems to be the definitive version of the song.

  10. #10

    LOVE the earlier versions of this song!!!

    You see, for me, the definitive version is the one on the Hey Jupiter EP. That version is this song at its strongest, its core. The original version is quiet and seething, but the HJ version is open, wide, & pure. The Still Orbiting version seems to be schizo...starts out angry then turns into some tribute? Eh, I'll take the earlier versions.

  11. #11
    Senior Member lettyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    294
    I love this song. It has such a great marrying of almost completely oblique lyrics and emotional delivery--she fills out the song so well in almost every performance I've ever seen, though on paper there isn't any clear narrative or even clear emotional content to the song lyrics (imo). The first video the OP posted is one of the Tori performances I can watch over and over again--it's just so on. This is one of the songs I'd definitely put on a Tori Amos mixtape for anyone who wanted to know her best work.
    I miss, I miss,/how you'd sigh yourself to sleep
    When I raked the springtime /across your sheets

  12. #12
    You are what you wear. Corey Haim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2,155
    i love the studio version with the chirping crickets! the structure of sugar, with the chords (and tied whole notes transitioning into half notes), reminds me a little of the structure and parts of songs like parasol, suede, enjoy the silence, and yo george.
    It basically comes down to that word: love. I guess that's what it's all about.

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2,053
    Love "Sugar" in all of it's incarnations. I think I heard the Hey Jupiter EP version first. The chorus is so lilting on that version, in contrast to the darkness of the intro and and the verses.

    The definitive version for me is the TVAB one though, those opening notes/chords are so powerful. I love how you can hear the treble or whatever get turned up a few seconds before the drums and guitar kick in (you can hear this especially if you're listening with headphones). It's one of her most rocking songs and yet still quintessentially Tori. And her operatic vocals at the end really work (and I don't think her upper register cooing always works, but it does there big time).

    And I only just recently heard the orignal B-Side, I think it's great.
    Last edited by NUHN; 01-05-2011 at 10:55 PM.

  14. #14
    She was looking out the window Snow White's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    654
    Quote Originally Posted by NUHN View Post
    The definitive version for me is the TVAB one though, those opening notes/chords are so powerful. I love how you can hear the treble or whatever get turned up a few seconds before the drums and guitar kick in (you can hear this especially if you're listening with headphones). .
    YES! The TVAB Sugar is my favorite, as well. It's the opening notes on all of the TVAB songs that get me... How exciting it must have been to hear these songs plugged live for the first time.

    Also, I miss the Tori that would tell stories about trolls and Freddie Mercury. Even though I'm sure they're total bullshit, they're so endearing.

  15. #15
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kentuckiana
    Posts
    6,118
    I always thought this song was a little afterthought about a gay man that wasn't out of the closet, pretending to be straight.. even to Tori.. baby, what you gonna do when they find out youre just a pussy, my sweet boy, my sugar.
    I think all of Tori's songs are about gay men, tho. lmao
    I though Winter was about a boy coming out of the closet to his dad.. so there you go. Ive always been way off.. but I kinda like my interpretations.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •