Bliss

Album: To Venus And Back (1999)
Charted: 91

Songfacts®:

  • To Venus And Back, Tori Amos' fifth studio album, is a two-disc collection featuring a disc of 11 original songs (Venus: Orbiting) - led by the single "Bliss" - and a disc of live material (Venus Live, Still Orbiting) from past albums.
  • Like many of her songs, this electronic alt-rock track was inspired by Amos' strict religious upbringing that hindered her self-expression. She explained in a 1999 Alternative Press interview: "Sometimes, when you express thought to people, you leave it open for somebody to tromp in there and start tearing it down. I sing, 'Father I killed my monkey,' to lead off the song, which explains that sometimes you even destroy your own so they can't excavate it. When I was growing up, I started becoming very secretive about my thoughts and the sensory world I would go to, because there's a lot of mind control that goes on constantly, people wanting access: 'What are you thinking?' So sometimes I'd have my own defense going, which would be to look them straight in the eye and make them think I've killed my imagination. But it's like, I'll take control."
  • The song also finds Amos contending with the parts of herself she can't get rid of. When asked by Mojo magazine if she was reassessing her identity in comparison to her parents, she replied: "I guess my parents are in there, but to me it's not just about the biological father, but also the authority figure, whoever it is that I put in that position. 'Bliss' is really about control, and about certain things in our DNA that you can't use a strainer to get rid of. You can't separate completely from whoever made you, because they're a part of you."
  • The video features black-and-white shots of Amos spliced with footage from her last two concerts from the Plugged '98 tour in Michigan.
  • In America, To Venus And Back peaked at #6 on the albums chart and sold a million copies, earning a Platinum certification. In the UK, however, where she broke through with her debut album, Little Earthquakes, in 1992, it was the first time one of her albums failed to earn a certification from the British Phonographic Industry. It did manage to make the Top 20, though, peaking at #12.
  • Like its predecessor, From The Choirgirl Hotel, this album found Amos veering away from her minimalist piano - a hallmark of her early work - and embracing electronic and hip-hop elements.
  • The song earned Amos a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 2000 but lost to Sheryl Crow for her cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine." To Venus And Back was also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album but lost to Beck's Mutations.

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