So to start, maybe first check back on our first-round coverage of "Silent All These Years" and of "God Damn the Sun" in which we discuss the song selection among other things?
So these two songs aren't very much alike at all: we have the lush instrumentation of "God Damn the Sun" and the stark piano-and-a-voice of "Silent All These Years." Swans are at their most resigned here, and the song becomes about a couple varieties of abandonment, friendship, and the beauty of resignation, culminating in cursing the sun: "God damn the sun / God damn the sun / God damn the light it shines / And this world it shows." That it's written to the friend: ("I miss your arrogance / And I need your intelligence and your hate for authority / But now you're gone") makes it a lot more interesting and complicated than if it was written to the her ("I said I'd kill myself / if she left me again"), largely because I feel like I've heard that song a lot more often.
It's chilling, really, where we end up. We'd love to see this make it through to match up against Joy Division's "Atmosphere," but that'd be a long ways off, and first Tori Amos might have something to say about it. (We think she will.) If you want more amusement, Here's an epic fan video made for the song which is pretty funny in its juxtapositions.
When "Silent All These Years" came out, it felt, to us, like she'd blown a big hole in an old white male industry wall (and if you don't know about her first album of sorts, Y Kant Tori Read, well, you should probably take a look, since the cover art shows you the exact texture of that wall in case it's already not obvious). Really, it felt like the world had just leveled up a little bit. As such, she's got an outsized reputation compared to Swans. That's worth something. It's not like Swans weren't already blowing shit up out back and making riotous, poisonous concoctions: they were. This isn't a matchup of Tori and Loverboy. We don't want to see either of these songs lose, but one will. The question for you is: which is the one you want to take with you?
* At least the Tori Amos song in the bracket isn't "Me and a Gun," which was a breathtaker to watch live (only one of the committee members has seen Amos live, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, no less: at the time it was the only time he had been to Grand Rapids, though both committee members would later come to live there).
(5) Swans, "God Damn the Sun"
(4) Tori Amos, "Silent All These Years"