Songs of Love and Hate is one of Leonard Cohen's most emotionally intense albums – which, given the nature of Cohen's body of work, is no small statement. (…) If Songs of Love and Hate isn't Cohen's best album, it comes close enough to be essential to anyone interested in his work.
Night was a loose, L.A.-based band, whose personnel were veteran British-based session musicians, including Stevie Lange, who sang behind Graham Bonnet and Elton John; Chris Thompson, who contributed to War of the Worlds and worked for Manfred Mann's Earth Band; and keyboard wizard Nicky Hopkins, who played with everybody. This Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue from Night includes both albums that were recorded by band, includes a bonus tracks, and featuring 2011 24-bit remastering.
TO VENUS AND BACK pairs a disc of studio tracks with a disc of live concert recordings. The first disc features some of Amos' most electronic-sounding productions to date. Though her acrobatic singing is given its usual full rein, many of the studio songs feature intricate, effects-rich orchestrations. The album-opening "Bliss" begins as a windswept soundscape, only to open up into a hook-laden chorus. "Juarez" is an intoxicating stew of disembodied voices, roiling synthesizers, and propulsive percussion. "Glory of the '80s" visits a night of drug-fueled hedonism during a decade that defined excess. "Josephine" is a standout track that will appeal to fans of Amos' more open, piano-centered work. The second disc culls tracks from Amos' 1998 Plugged Tour. The live rendering of "Cornflake Girl" is a particularly stirring affair, noteworthy for Amos' vocal bravura and for the cascading sheets of piano that she adds during the song's climax. Also featured is "Cooling," a track that Amos has never committed to album. No Tori Amos fan will want to be without TO VENUS AND BACK. Album was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance.