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Tori Amos

  • Little Earthquakes,
  • Under The Pink,
  • Boys For Pele,
  • From The Choirgirl Hotel,
  • To Venus And Back,
  • Strange Little Girls,
  • Scarlet's Walk,
  • The Beekeeper,
  • American Doll Posse,
  • Abormally Attracted To Sin,
  • Night Of Hunters,
  • Unrepentant Geraldines,

  • Album Reviews |

    Tori Amos

    Little Earthquakes 9 ( 1992, UK pos 14 )
    Crucify / Girl / Silent All These Years / Precious Things / Winter / Happy Phantom / China / Leather / Mother / Tear in Your Hand / Me and a Gun / Little Earthquakes

    She'd been a member of a fairly dubious heavy Rock type outfit before this, but here we have Tori's real debut. Her, a piano, sympathetic musical backing. 'Crucify' starts the album and it's a good song. The piano runs, the drums, the little twinkling percussion. Lyrics that sound great when sung. These aren't typical singer songwriter lyrics but they are poetry and full of imagery - well put together. Her voice dominates 'Girl' above and beyond her already impressive piano work. Melody filled vocally and with a wonderful lyric. 'Silent All These Years' is how many imagine Tori sounds. Truth is, she's rarely quite sounded like this ever since. Just her and a piano on this one for the main part, with additional orchestration in places. A wonderful song, the type of song that's likely to send a chill right up your spine.

    'Precious Things' opens dramatically and explodes into the fullest band recording on the whole record. Loud drums only add to the thrill of it all. THAT VOICE! Purring, shouting, singing, pretty, beautiful and powerful. Lyrics mentioning Nine Inch Nails, Christian Boys, Jesus.... Such a good song. 'Winter' quietens things down again but is just so very beautiful all round. Again, an affecting vocal and good lyrical images. 'Happy Phantom' is up and down and a happy song adding variety but fitting in seamlessly at the same time. 'China' opens the second half, slowly, beautifully. The orchestration returns. 'Leather' is similar to 'Happy Phantom' in a sense but with more emphasis on the lyrical content. Her vocal provides the melody and it's wonderful again. 'Mother' is truly beautiful and I don't know HOW to describe it. It sounds loving. 'Tear In Your Hand' has fuller musical backing, a full group performance. 'Me And A Gun' tells a story of an occasion Tori gave a lift to a fan after a concert.... The lyrics tell the story..... Just her voice alone on this one. It's chilling, sad but supremely powerful. The title song ends the record with more great vocals amid a fuller, atmospheric musical backing. With the record finished, you could be forgiven for realising there are no bad songs here at all, really. Few other debuts from singer songwriters have ever been as imaginative or as accomplished as this album is. She arrived seemingly fully formed although she had been working towards this for a number of years. A beautiful record.

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    Rupert Greaser xeernoflax@juno.com
    I liked this more some years ago: I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to it in its entirety again. I think it's in part the orchestration: it seems over-done for J. Mitchell-rooted singer-songwriter-ism, which in its nature is sort of stripped down, primitive. In general, when you're going to have that kind of lyrical emphasis, you don't obscure it with bombast. When you do that, you want lyrical ambiguity! Anyway, I never cared for the second half of the album: the first is at least catchy, mostly single-ish material: the second is long on drama, short on highlishts. I do like "Happy Phantom" a lot -- a break in the over-seirousness, and "Precious Things" is sort of the lone reason I'd bother to put the disc on again -- sort of a refreshing break to the girlhood nostalgia and passive bitterness. And evne that one I'd probably turn off if I was caught listening to it. All-in-all I'd probably throw the album a 4.5 based on the strength of those two songs and maybe "Girl! ." I don't find anything particularly *offensive* about it -- the over-femininity of it is slightly grating, but not as bad as, say, Slayer's overly testosteroned work: in truth, I'd probably listen to this before Reign in Blood.

    Marko Croatia
    Easily her best record! It kickstarted her career and it's filled with potency and honesty. The lyrics are beautiful, her vocals are strong and her piano playing is marvelous.

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    Under The Pink( 1994, UK pos 1 )
    Pretty Good Year / God / Bells for Her / Past the Mission / Baker Baker / The Wrong Band / The Waitress / Cornflake Girl / Icicle / Cloud on My Tongue / Space Dog / Yes, Anastasia

    'Pretty Good Year' is every inch as beautiful as anything from 'Little Earthquakes'. This album is more of the same but with a few songs stretching out and experimenting with structure. 'God' is a stupendous song. It sounds great when played loud. Wonderful dynamics. 'Bells For Her' is oh so quiet. Tori's vocal is beautiful again, the backing very minimal and atmospheric. A wonderful, chilling moment. 'Past The Mission' certainly contrasts with 'Bells For Her'. A happy song with great chorus parts. 'Baker Baker' like 'Bells For Her' isn't immediate in its appeal. One thing about this record as a whole. It takes a few listens to get into. Once you do however, and certainly if you enjoyed 'Little Earthquakes' you'll also enjoy this. 'The Wrong Band' sounds like something from a musical melodically but then we have the singing, the lyrics, her character. These songs are all infused with her character. You can get to know her, or at least imagine that you do, just by listening. It's an important thing. 'The Waitress' opens in peculiar fashion with shifting electronic percussion. It turns mighty loud and full of instrumentation as it goes along. Then, turning quiet again. The shifting percussion remains throughout and it's a dramatic song. 'Cornflake Girl' Ah!!!! It's 'Cornflake Girl'. Always, ALWAYS makes me smile. One of her best moments ever, a classic classic song. Brilliant. That's it. I can't actually describe it. I just love the damn thing! That's enough.

    Some of the songs on the latter half of the album do take some time to understand, 'Icicle' takes time to get going. 'Yes, Anastasia' is nine minutes long but does add dramatic orchestration amid many classical piano parts. 'Space Dog' has a funky rhythm and is a good little tune, adding variety and tempo. The piano interludes are beautiful, again. She is beautiful and this is another great album just a shade behind her acclaimed debut proper. 

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    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    Such a glorious album. 'The Wrong Band' is one of the most underated Tori song's ever, I love it. 'Yes, Anastacia' is so friggin' epic. I love it. An awesome follow-up record, very gorgeous.

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    past the mission is a happy little song? cornflake girl makes you smile? listen to this album again, you're not getting the full affect.

    J NYC
    I love this album, almost as much as I love Little Earthquakes... Pretty Good Year, God, Cornflake Girl, Past the Mission, Baker Baker... I could go on, seriously.

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    Boys For Pele 8 ( 1996, UK pos 2 )
    Beauty queen / Horses / Blood roses / Father Lucifer / Professional widow / Mr Zebra / Marianne / Caught a lite sneeze / Muhammad my friend / Hey Jupiter / Way down / Little Amsterdam / Talula / Not the Red Baron / Agent Orange / Doughnut song / In the springtime of his voodoo / Putting the damage on / Twinkle

    Hey. Where's my beloved piano gone? Never one to repeat herself, this album saw a new production team introduced and is something of a transitional record although. still contains enough moments of glory. It also contains a whole load of harpsichord in place of thepiano which gives this a rather unique sound. 'Beauty Queen' is a quiet short meditation flowing straight into 'Horses'. At this point it's business as usual. The piano sound and her voice dominates this. 'Blood Roses' is actually the sound of 'Pele' all over, though. A harpsichord goes insane and the lyrics are more oblique than previous material. I haven't actually a clue what she's on about a lot of the time on this record, but she sings well of course, and the words give off interesting images, always. 'Father Lucifer' is jaunty but for once a less than essential Tori moment. On any 19 track album you are going to get a few songs that count as filler. 'Professional Widow' is a strange sounding song but rather entertaining for its 'Star fucker' lyric and an always great Tori vocal. Oh, an important note. There is a version of this album doing the rounds with this song included as a dance remix ( it even got to number two here in the UK singles charts ) but it's really best avoided. It has nothing to do with the rest of the album at all.

    'Marianne' is classic Tori Amos when the piano returns and her vocal is as soft and affecting as it is here. 'Caught A Lite Sneeze' was the leading single and very nearly topples 'Cornflake Girl' into the bargain. It's another idiosyncratic Tori song, but deserves to be listened to again and again, to get round that. And, again, some wonderful singing here. 'Muhammed My Friend' and 'Hey Jupiter' return this record more to the sound of the first two Tori Amos albums. 'Hey Jupiter' in particular is simply gorgeous. 'Hey Tallulah' has a friend here 'Professional Widow', it's a fine noisy song that points the way towards 'Choirgirl'. Unfortunately, this album does tails off slightly towards the end, although 'Donught Song' is still fine and 'Putting The Damage On'  affecting with its quiet brass sections. A fine enough album, on the whole - though it is less consistent than either of its immediate predecessors.

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    Allan Drach mosselixir81@yahoo.com
    I find that each Tori album can be identified relative to her others in some way. Pele is her "raw" album, to me. It's not quite as loud as Choirgirl Hotel, but its power comes straight from Amos' always-incredible voice instead of from the complex electronic stuff found on Choirgirl. Like I said, most of the songs have a very "raw","live" sound that I really like. I have no idea how long it took Tori to make this record but I'm guessing there were not a lot of takes -- it all sounds very spontaneous. Overall, Pele is a bit uneven, but that's to be expected when it's 70 minutes long and has 18 tracks! Still, this is a phenomenal record from a phenomenal year for music (considering some of my favorite albums ever came out in 1996, including "Miracle of Science" by Marshall Crenshaw and "Moss Elixir" by Robyn Hitchcock.) This album has a spectacular sound quality; very clear and fully-defined. It really has to be played through excellent speakers at a pretty loud volume to get the full effect of such instruments as the harpsichord or the fantastic bass on "Talula." As far as my favorite tracks, I like "Muhammed My Friend" (the short sax solo just makes the song), "Talula" (one of the very best songs she's ever done, for real), "Marianne" and "Way Down" (another perfect touch with the choir). Towards the end, Pele trails off a bit; "Putting the Damage On" and "Twinkle" don't do much for me. But the bottom line is that this is a remarkable album that anyone who REALLY enjoys music and who buys albums for the WHOLE THING instead of just the hits should go out and get.

    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    Tori's maturity is probably the most evident in this album. It's a fine, fine, album. I love the harpsicord, or however it's spelt. So much tension and dark themes in this cd. I agree with you about 'Father Lucifer', except for the bridge part. Tori's voices overlapping each other are amazing.

    Ana MooNAnGeL113@aol.com
    Pele is indeed an interesting album. However, I disagree with some of your impressions of it. As a whole, it is not necessarily easy to swallow. After having and listening to it for three years, I still couldn't warm up to everything on it. But regardless, I feel it is worth deep examination. It was written when Tori had broken up with her long-time lover and had to grapple with crippling loss. One has to get into it from the least cerebral approach possible because it's all fire, pain, blood, love and sex. Blood Roses is jarring in one's heart if you listen right; it;s about being brutalized in a relationship. Professional Widow on the other hand explores the rage and longing for revenge in reaction. Marianne, indeed, is beautiful. Caught a Lite Sneeze is desperation to avoid loss. Talula, well, I can't quite make sense of that one but it's great. The upbeat, psychedelic nursery rhyme, mush music and lyrics like "I got my rape hat on honey, but I always could acc! essorize....he's my favorite hooker of the whole bunch." Putting the Damage On, can make you cry. It communicates itself pretty clearly. This album is a special trip in Tori's work. It's a little overly grating at times, but it's excleeent art.

    pickle barbara@kirk52.fsnet.co.uk
    I made the mistake of buying BFP with the remix of Professional Widow on, which jars, and this also lacks In The Springtime Of his Voodoo, which I had to buy on import!

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    i agree that boys for pele is a little TOO long, and that it's less accessable than her previous albums, but wouldnt it be a complete farce were she to make the same the same album over and over, as many of her inferiors have done.....? i cant praise boys for pele highly enough, it's another step foward for the keeper of laura nyro's flame, and one of the few modern artists you know wont cheat you.

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    did someone just say father lucifer is a filler song? i'll pretend i didn't here that. the harpsicord, in my opinion, is amazing on this album. i feel that if the piano is an important part of your life, then the harpsicord should be too. how can you fully understand the piano if you don't know where it came from? i think its clear what tori talks about throughout this album. it seems that this album has a story that goes along with it. if you listen closing you can hear how each song connects and molds into the next, and you can see the major mind set changes from the beginning of the album to the end. my favourite track would have to be 'muhammad my friend'. right behind cornflake girl, muhammad my friend is probably the most important song tori did. not only does it affect her music from here on out, but it affects tori as a person and helps mold her into the amazing person she is today.

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    From The Choirgirl Hotel( 1998, UK pos 6 ) more best albums...
    Spark / Cruel / Black Dove (January) / Raspberry Swirl / Jackie's Strength / Iiiee / Liquid Diamonds / She's Your Cocaine / Northern Lad / Hotel / Playboy Mommy / Pandora's Aquarium

    'Spark' opens things strongly. This album as a whole doesn't sound like 'a typical' Tori Amos album. She moved forward from the sound of 'Boys For Pele' and returned to full group recordings for the first time since the aborted heavy metal type outfit. No heavy metal here though! 'Spark' has the piano integrated successfully within a full band recording. The song gains in momentum as it goes along before reaching a stupendous middle section that's simply thrilling. 'Cruel' is all drums, drum machines, weird noises, atmosphere. A great vocal though. And, that word. Atmosphere. The vocal makes it special. A beautiful vocal. That word again. Beautiful. And, I make no apologies for using it here. 'Black Dove' is just something else. I don't know where the hell THIS came from! It's a song bordering on genius - the vocals, the music, everything comes together. The song explodes in the middle section but returns again towards the end, leaving you breathless. This would have made a great first single from the album in my book to point people toward the fact that here we have Tori moving away altogether from her early piano dominated sound. This is so very special. It renders me.....speechless.  'Raspberry Swirl' reintroduces the machines of 'Cruel' and nods in a dance direction. It's a more fully integrated dance sound than the remix of 'Professional Widow' however. It's integrated within a rock song! This is one of the most furious and exhilarating songs she's ever done. It's simply fantastic and no other words will do. 'Jackie’s Strength' provides comfort to those who love Tori's earlier work, being a beautiful piano led ballad with wonderful vocals. 'Iiiee' wraps up the first half of the record being an atmospheric percussion led track with a haunting little tune where the lyrics become unimportant, this is all about the sound of the human voice.

    'Iiiee', 'Liquid Diamonds' and 'She's Your Cocaine' are not at all quiet, Piano singer-songstress types of songs, they sound almost industrial. 'Northern Lad' contains one of Tori's most heart-warming and heart-breaking vocal performances, ever. And, 'Hotel' like 'Raspberry Swirl', will confound a few doubters with its sheer brilliant wall of rock noise. A stunning album, all told. Perfect from beginning to end, sequenced well, a modern classic growing in stature to rival the reputation of her debut. I actually prefer this, it's my favourite Tori so far. It makes me emotional, excitable, a whole range of emotions around and in-between. It makes me happy. <

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    Allan Drach mosselixir81@yahoo.com
    Choirgirl Hotel is an album that just oozes darkness. I love it. I think it's her crowning achievement. I wish I could find a big poster of the cover; it's the coolest one I've ever seen. Fortunately, Tori put just as much effort in making the music here as she did putting together the artwork. Choirgirl is a big break with the past for Tori in terms of her overall sound. Previously, the main attraction was her voice and her piano. This album shifts the focus away from that and onto the complex and quite impressive electronic arrangements that form the basis for this mesmerizing album. Some moments on this album are incredibly furious. The peak is "Raspberry Swirl," which is four of the most exhilarating minutes of pumping, sweaty, isn't-it-great-to-be-alive music I have ever heard. One of my favorites from here also gets my vote for Most Ingenious Song Title: "iieee." This song starts out with some funky drums, adds a slick guitar riff, and proceeds to explode into a killer bridge featuring one of the many weird lines from this record: "You're so sure you can save every hair on my chest." Whoa. The highlights are too numerous to mention here. Every song is a delight and the whole album leaves me pretty worn-out. And I'd just like to say that the pedal steel part in "Playboy Mommy" gets my vote for Best Tori Amos Moment Ever. Unreal.

    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    Part of what makes this album so great is the atmosphere. It's a very dark, longing, album. It makes Tori seem very lonely, and much of the lyrics deal with loss. Very great, although 'Hotel' is a bit too techno-ish, I still love it. 'Northern Lad' is one of her best vocal performances ever.

    TJ Ren surdeahpp@yahoo.com
    Often dubbed the "miscarriage" album, FTCH was sparked by Tori's 1st miscarriage. Hence the the dark atmosphere permeating the songs, punctuated by moments of tenderness. Some "Spark" & "Playboy Mommy" have more direct reference to the Event, a few others allude (obliquely) to the healing process -- "Pandora's Aquarium". Btw, listen to "Playboy Mommy" with "Purple People", 1 of her most haunting b-sides, ... and shiver :)

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    i first want to say that the track listing was the record companies doing, and the tracklist tori intended is the one in the lyric booklet. i highly recommend listening to the album is THAT order, to get a different perspective. iieee, lyrics UNIMPORTANT??? are you mad? how can u even understand the song if you don't listen to the lyrics? i agree that this album is muchly influenced by here 3 miscarriages. much of the album deals with not only loss of a child (playboy mommy) but the frustration tori had with 'the creator' and the anger tori had with herself. tori felt that she wasn't a good enough woman to keep 'baby alive'. playboy mommy refers to the 3rd miscarriage, in which tori felt that she connected with the child the most. my favourite track would have to be pandora, where tori connects with acient gods to try and find answers to her problems.

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    To Venus And Back ( 1999, UK pos 22 )
    Bliss / Juarez / Concertina / Glory of the 80's / Lust / Suede / Josephine / Riot proof / Datura / Spring haze / 1000 oceans / Precious things / Cruel / Cornflake girl / Bells for her / Girl / Cooling / Mr zebra / Cloud on my tongue / Sugar / Little earthquakes / Space dog / Waitress / Purple people

    An double CD album split into new studio side and live recordings side. The live-set contains only a few 'obvious' choices, and is all the most listenable because of it. She could well have tacked on a live-set full of her best known songs for sales purposes, but she didn't do that. The live disc is a nice bonus for fans, and an indication to non-fans of exactly what she can do. The studio disc works as an album in itself, and I rather do treat the live disc merely as a bonus, rather than the integral part of the album it is. Maybe that's just me, but there you go. Before I leave the live set, i'll mention the fact that 'Precious Things' is an especially full sounding and exhilarating performance, and the previously unreleased composition 'Cooling' absolutely lovely. As far as the studio set is concerned in some ways it carries on from where 'Chorgirl' left off, but it moves into more abstract area's along the way. Several of the songs ditch traditional structure for a 'sound-scape', an electronic bed, slightly industrial, slightly dance. Not very Tori plus Piano, an image she still has, although to be honest hasn't been the case in the studio since her second album, really. We open with the slightly Tori by numbers 'Bliss', which does nothing 'Choirgirl' didn't do better. It's still a good song, don't get me wrong, just nothing new, nothing unexpected. For that we need to focus on 'Juarez' for example. The Tori vocals are low in the mix, the musical track is dance, industrial. Combine it to abstract and/or minimalistic lyrics, combine it to Tori's voice, and you have a song that is superbly hypnotic even though it lacks an obvious hook. This isn't pop-music, no. Just good music. 'Concertina' switches to a more usual Tori sound, actually moves back to the sound of 'Little Earthquakes' almost. A light sound, a beautiful vocal, truly beautiful and a lovely song. 'Glory Of The 80's' doesn't sound at all like an Eighties song, but I suspect that wasn't the point. The bass groove that pops up here is wonderful, the vocal and lyrics are full of intrigue, full of stretches of beautiful melody. 'Glory Of The 80's' works in a similar fashion to 'Juarez' but within a slightly more accessible song structure. It's a fabulous song, repeat playable, certainly.

    'Lust' and 'Suede' are a little dip in the center of the studio set for me, a little too much atmosphere and too little of anything to grab hold of. Both songs are still listenable, by the way. Not bad or anything, just a little challenging, perhaps? That can certainly be said of the eight minute long 'Datura', Tori uses her voice as an instrument to add to the musical textures. The lyrics are completely unimportant here, and not easily decipherable, either. 'Josephine' is a nice little two minute Tori and Piano song, the closing two songs the same. 'Spring Haze' benefits from a soft and tender Tori vocal, '1000 Oceans' sounds like 'Little Earthquakes', and is none the worse for that, really. Again, the vocal is notable, very strong and emotional. 'To Venus And Back' is slightly strange, slightly schizophrenic in it's switching from what we expect from Tori straight into dense musical sound-scapes that are either hypnotic and wonderful ( Juarez ) or too laid-back and atmospheric, threatening to pass you by completely ( Suede ). The live set is nice, and it is good to have a live Tori disc to listen to. Overall, 'To Venus And Back' isn't her finest, although it's still better than a lot of other artists that she is compared to.

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    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    My least favorite Tori album, but it's still far, far, far, above anything anyone else has done. I love the CD, but it's a bit too industrial compared to Tori's other stuff. Still great though. And "Juarez" contains some of her best lyrics ever, I think.

    Eric Quah bargest@streamyx.com
    Peculiarly, this happens to be my most favourite from her; somehow the tamperings in electronic sounds in Choirgirls have suddenly matured. It first took me by surprise but not despair; I loved this obvious new direction that she has settled into. Wasn't too thrilled with the second CD tho' except perhaps Cooling.

    aermancer zfolk@hotmail.com
    TVAB is my favorite Tori album, and i adore every song on it. It is much, much, much more interesting and beautiful than Scarlet's Walk or The Beekeeper could ever hope to be.

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    this album is very good. some think it isn't as good as her other albums. that may be contributed to the fact that this album was partly made to try and finish out her contract with atlantic records (hence the 2 disks which counts as 2 Cds).

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    Strange Little Girls 7 ( 2001, UK pos 16 )
    New age / '97 Bonnie and Clyde / Strange little girl / Enjoy the silence / Rattlesnakes / I'm not in love / Time / Heart of gold / I don't like Mondays / Happiness is a warm gun / Raining blood / Real men

    I hate albums that consist of nothing but cover versions. Hate, hate, hate! But, Tori tackles these twelve songs ( all written by men ) and transforms many of them, others are done straight, but overall we do have something interesting here. By the way, one major blight on an otherwise fine project is her cover of The Beatles 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'. A two minute or so song that hardly ranks as a good Beatles song in first place turned into a ten minute long dirge, complete with samples and a total lack of melody. It's by far the single worst thing that has ever appeared on any Tori Amos album. Right, with THAT out of the way, I can say that 'New Age' is fascinating, carries on from the textures and more experimental pieces from 'To Venus And Back', requires concentration, requires repeated listening but ultimately reveals itself to be a fine performance of a Lou Reed song. Tori also tackles Eminem's '97 Bonnie And Clyde' and it sounds a world removed from the original version. Tori speaks in sinister tones, the strings are dramatic, the whole performance is spooky as hell, with the brief sung sections only adding to the haunting and captivating mood this creates. 'Strange Little Girl' is an old Stranglers ( UK Pop/Punk band of the late seventies ) song. And, it sounds like classic Tori of 'Choirgirl' vintage, a joyous rush through the chorus that gets me every time. 'Enjoy The Silence' is indeed the depeche mode hit from the early nineties. Tori takes it solo with her voice and Piano. It's dull, to be honest. 'I'm Not In Love' is another song taken rather in a 'To Venus And Back' fashion, works quite well actually giving added resonance to the title of the song in the chorus. 'Rattlesnakes', like 'Strange Little Girl' actually, is a song with it's origins in the early to mid-eighties. It's damn as near it as fine as 'Strange Little Girl', another great Tori performance, another song she makes her own.

    The second half of 'Strange Little Girls' includes the aforementioned atrocity that is 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' and also includes a version of Neil Young's nice country folk song 'Heart Of Gold' which she sees fit to turn into squealing techno/rock crossover. It bares almost no resemblance to the original whatsoever! It's good though, richly produced and exhilarating rock music. 'Time' and 'I Don't Like Mondays' are both nice ballad performances, especially the latter. 'Raining Blood' follows 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'. A song originally by metal band Slayer, of all people. A deep bass/electronic drone runs through Tori's version, whilst Piano and vocals take up the rest of the piece. It works very well, actually, with Tori stretching and slurring her vocals to suit the song. The final song is Tori and Piano for the most part, and her voice is beautiful and pure here. A good album, actually. Take out 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' and replace it with anything, or even replace it with NOTHING AT ALL, and you might have had an excellent album here. And I don't like albums of cover versions, Dammit!

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    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    This is the only Tori album in which I have not heard of all it yet. I'm a pretty new fan. 'Time', though, is f*cking amazing. I love her voice in it. And "97 Bonnie and Clyde" is haunting.

    pickle* barbara@kirk52.fsnet.co.uk
    I hate Happiness Is A Warm Gun too! It's not a patch on the Breeders' take on it that was on a Lennon tribute album given with Uncut magazine.

    Jane Jane_Weatherfield@yahoo.com
    I actually always really liked The Beatles song Happiness is a Warm Gun and really hated what Tori did to it. Not just ruining the song.. But attempting the cutsie ironic thing at the beggining.. "Oh!It's a song about guns and John Lennon was shot!" It just seems really disrespectful. I know this wasn't what she was trying to get across, but I can't help but thinking of it that way and being angry with her.

    Alexis iieee1125@yahoo.com
    Actually, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is my favorite cover on the CD. plus i dont see whats so bad about her covering these songs, i find it daring and courageous, especially her tackling "blood rain" by slayer...wow. "happiness" was terrible when the beatles sang it, but she turns it into a flowing ballad that reminds me of times when a feeling of loneliness turned into desperation. "I need a fix 'cause i'm goin down...happiness is a warm gun." the way she sings it and how she combines the piano with the other instruments is great...it reminds us that happiness can always be replaced by a low never thought imaginable.

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    Scarlet's Walk( 2002, UK pos 26 )
    Amber Waves / A Sorta Fairytale / Wednesday / Strange / Carbon / Crazy / Wampum Prayer / Don't Make Me Come To Vegas / Sweet Sangria / Your Cloud / Pancake / I Can't See New York / Mrs. Jesus / Taxi Ride / Another Girl's Paradise / Scarlet's Walk / Virginia / Gold Dust

    Tori goes on an journey across America, post September 11th, which sounds a lot less exciting a prospect than the album actually turns out to be. You know, there are people out there who seem to genuinely hate Tori Amos, and her new record label added a few to the list when they sent out sealed six track promo's of the new album, for fear of songs getting leaked on the internet. Pissed off critics reviewed these six tracks as if they were reviewing the full, final and quietly impressive eighteen track album. It seems to me, as soon as she started moving especially in her own mysterious ways, with the likes of 'Under The Pink' and 'Boys For Pele' that certain sections of music fans have had it in for her, and to this day I won't know why anybody could consider her 'awful'. Of course, on the otherhand, the more challenging and mysterious her records got, the more a large portion of her fans loved her. She became more and more herself, a process which seemed to halt with the arrival of 'To Venus And Back', initially conceived as a b-sides collection, by the way - and the contract filling, if still impressive in its own sweet way, 'Strange Little Girls'. So, in some ways this album here is the first fully fledged collection of new Tori Amos songs since 'Choirgirl' some four years earlier. It's a long time, even though she's never really been gone. 'Scarlet's Walk' sounds like a new start in some ways, it sounds like the sort of album that could have followed 'Little Earthquakes' and that's a strange thing to be thinking about. Has she retrogressed? Well, it would have been difficult for her to continue the more abstract beats and semi-industrial approach employed on 'To Venus And Back', so some kind of sonic change was inevitable. Maybe i'm analysing this all too much? What matters is the songs themselves, all eighteen songs which form 'Scarlet's Walk'. 'Amber Waves' is a joyous beginning, Tori's voice remains the same as it ever was, the Piano is present and correct. A song to send Tori fans into raptures. 'A Sorta Fairytale' might not have made a particularly impressive opening single - it isn't as striking or distinctive as previous Tori singles, but it works in the context of the album, builds on 'Amber Waves', and the chorus does stay in your mind long after the song has finished playing. 'Wednesday' is happy, bouncy and quirky, 'Strange' a slow song with impressive vocals.

    There are probably a few too many songs here to take in, we could have lost maybe two, three songs and had a better overall album experience, but highlights abound. 'Carbon' sees Tori back to weaving an hypnotic, glorious spell with her Piano playing, the lyrics are poetic and the song an all time Tori moment. This is wonderful, spine-shivering stuff. 'Don't Make Me Come To Vegas' has a distinctive Piano and bass backdrop over which Tori sings, and is another highlight of the album. 'Sweet Sangria' and 'Wampum Prayer' do little for me, and could conceivably have been dropped without hurting the album at all. 'Your Cloud' is a sheer fantastic wonder of a song, such lovely singing, such a glorious tear inducing wonder of a song! There is nothing on 'Little Earthquakes' lovelier than this, for example. 'Pancake' displays good use of a bass guitar to hold the composition together, 'I Can't See New York' gives the albums concept away a little, but the Piano playing is more than impressive here, and the song works, just about. Strings are employed on 'Mrs Jesus' and the closing 'Gold Dust', which is the song i'd have chosen as first single because it's Tori, Piano and Strings. It's not a 'single type' of song, but may have opened a few eyes. Like 'Carbon', like 'Your Cloud' - 'Gold Dust' is as good a song as Tori has ever done, and it fills me with joy to be able to say that. Tori sounds beautiful vocally all through 'Taxi Ride', 'Virginia' has great Piano parts. You could have lost 'Another Girls Paradise', you could have lost 'Scarlet's Walk' the title track. A fourteen track 'Scarlet's Walk' would have been a killer, all-time Tori album. As it is, 'Scarlet's Walk' is still more than impressive and with enough good songs and then great songs to be recommended to Tori fans everywhere. To everybody else, answer me this. What is it exactly you don't like about Tori Amos? 

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    Readers Comments

    Sherri leclercqs@jae.com
    This album is by far 'back to the original Tori' music... How can anyone not fall in love with her voice and changing styles through out the years. In my opinion this CD is a 10 all over again, which I am SOOO Happy to see, especially after the Strange Little Girls CD.... BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT... shes great.

    cHeRyL snowberry2000@yahoo.com
    SERIOUSLY, I couLdn't disagree more with you on the fact that you think that "SWEET SANGRIA" could have been left out! I absolutely ADORE that song. I understand that it is pretty much impossible to love EVERY Tori Amos song, but NO ONE should have the right to say that a song shouldn't have been on an album. She has it on there for good reasons I'm sure. Honestly, i think that "SWEET SANGRIA" features the coolest harmony and so many moods in one song that i've ever heard from Tori. It's so rad... the body of the song is eerie, yet you want to sway back and forth (in my case i feel like "gett'n it on") then the chorus is so sweet and melodic, then changes moods once more. when she voices over and over in all different tones. and i love when she says "Yeah you think about that...what you believe in, it matters now to you and me." I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song. and i'm sorry, but you are very wrong to say she shouldn't have put it on. Besides, I saw Tori for the third time on the Scarlet's Walk tour... and she played "SWEET SANGRIA" right away. And, we all know that Tori only chooses very, very, very special or simply the best songs to play at her showS. i hope you see how by leaving it out would have totally changed the flow of the album, and i'd be without one of what i consider now, one of my all time favourties of Tori's. I bet you didn't think that you'd get all this from that one little comment. Well, conflict makes things exciting!! Write back anyone who wants to discuss Tori stuff with me.

    Allan allanelephant@hotmail.com
    My favorite Tori album. Ever. I am obsessed with this CD, quite frankly. Every song blows me away. I've never felt this way about a CD before. I disagree about you saying that it should be a 14 track long album though. I think the length adds to the album. America's a big place to travel, so the more songs the better.

    Alexis austin1125@msn.com
    Scarlet's Walk and The Beekeeper are the hugest disappointments as far as tori or any other artist goes. I am obsessed with tori and can play about 25 of her songs on piano by heart (none of which come from bee or scarlet). Those cd's SUCKED. i was so f**king disappointed in them, they are so artificial and light on the outside, like a candy coated egg that ozzes ugly when u open it. GROSS! TVAB is definitely one of my favorites, and the criticism offered here concentrates far too much on mere sounds, please read her lyrics? this CD travels into unconscious realms never touched by any of the other CDs, and the haunting 1000 Oceans leaves me on the verge of tears... "i can't believe that i would keep, keep you from flying, and i would cry a thousand more if that's what it takes to sail you home..." magnificent.

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    one thing about this album and 'the beekeeper' is that she was writing these albums while her daughter was at a young age. she felt she needed to tone down the music so it wouldn't frighten her daughter. she wanted to wait until her daughter was at an age where she could tell the difference between 'work mommy' and 'regular mommy'. this is defiantly a concept album, and a brilliant one at that. 'a sorta fairytale' was a kick in the ass to atlantic who thought "she waits until she leaves us and THEN gets a hit single". scarlet is a collection of beautiful popish songs that tell the story of scarlet, who tori really became during the writing of this album. i also think that scarlet needed all of its tracks. how could she have told scarlets full story if she left parts out? its like, how could we know the full story of jesus if people took some important stories out of the bible?.......... what do i not like about tori? she brings in fans that d! on't understand her work.

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    The Beekeeper 8 ( 2005, UK pos 24 )
    Parasol / Sweet The Sting / The Power Of Orange Knickers / Jamaica Inn / Barons Of Suburbia / Sleeps With Butterflies / General Joy / Mother Revolution / Ribbons Undone / Cars And Girls / Witness / Original Sinsuality / Ireland / The Beekeeper / Martha's Foolish Ginger / Hoochie Woman / Goobye Piscies / Marys Of The Sea / Toast

    After my concerns surrounding the length of 'Scarlets Walk', Tori has presented us with an even longer album set with 'The Beekeeper'. The sound of the record continues on from 'Scarlets Walk', although with a couple of tracks here and there touching upon a gospel feel. Tori has suffered a slow but gradual commercial decline since 1998, especially in her now adopted homeland of Cornwall, England. Certain albums, although brilliantly inventive and progressive, managed to alienate portions of her 'Earthquakes/Pink' fanbase, new fans attracted by the likes of 'Pele/Choirgirl' have lost interest with Tori's return to more conventional fare. As with 'Scarlets Walk', 'The Beekeeper' is unlikely to return Tori to the commercial heights she enjoyed in England circa 1993/1994 and in the US circa 1997/1998. Still, albums such as 'Scarlets Walk' and 'The Beekeeper' are the kind of albums that will be good for Tori in the long-run. As an artist, she's managed to mature, drop a lot of the kooky elements that first brought her to fame and concentrated on her writing and presentation. Whilst this means an album such as 'The Beekeeper' isn't as distinctive as previous Tori works, it does give her a sound artistic base with which to continue from for many years to come. There are a selection of beautiful songs here, not many of them are striking, almost none of them introduce new elements into Tori-world, yet ultimately, the strength of the writing, playing and arrangements lend this album a somewhat classy feel. The sheer bulk of material, not all of which is good by the way, should mean there is at least something for everyone here.

    'Parasol' is a fairly unassuming opener, 'Sweet The Sting' sounds the world to me like a more conventionally arranged and performed version of a 'To Venus And Back' type of song and fails to hold interest through repeated listening as a result. 'The Power Of Orange Knickers' however, complete with delicate female lead ( tori ) and male backing ( damien rice ) is the first track here that stands alongside her finest work. It's just so pretty and touching a song. From here, as befitting an album with so many songs, i'll jump around a bit through the tracklisting. 'Marys Of The Sea' is a full-band performance minus the techno, of the kind Tori was doing back in the 'Under The Pink' days. First single 'Sleeps With Butterflies' is a nice conservative radio-friendly ballad, 'Ireland' a strange loping kind of musical track, complete with lyrics to match, although it is beautifully sang. A slew of Tori mid-tempo to slow ballads are here, ranging from inconsequential through to more alluring fare such as the perfectly crafted 'Mother Revolution' or the attractive melodic roll of 'Goodbye Pisces'. Although it's not an amazingly inventive song lyrically or musically, I also really love 'Cars And Guitars', it's the kind of song that could return Tori to the singles charts, if nothing else. Another beautifully performed track vocally. Tori is generally on good form throughout this album, and whilst not everything here is enjoyable by any means, most of it is and it's a good album to dip into every now and again.

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    Readers Comments

    Marcos vampyre_damone666@hotmail.com
    Sweet the Sting is a great infectious little tune, if your talking about tori selling singles she should release that. I dont care if she sells singles her albums are just fine, I suspect they give her a nice income so that she can continue to write great music until she dies. Shes one of the greatest artists of all time.

    Koro korobushka_lol@hotmail.com
    If anything, I prefer it when a CD is longer, then I think I've got my money's worth. I love The Beekeeper, it is the sort of album you can really chill out to.

    amanda amandabloommusic@yahoo.com
    When "the beekeeper" came out and I first listened to it I was soooo surprised. Tori Amos??? Mellowed out??? I suppose she is probably more settled in herself...what being in love and having a child etc etc etc. But the songs have such an unoriginal sound to them....like an HR consultant's first shot at writing songs..... It's not pretty.....:( I also think the lyrics are too abstract and ambitious. It makes me think she actually doesnt have much to say at all. It is too self-focussed and ostracizes the listener. Which I suppose is quite characteristic of Tori. You can't really ever relate to her music at all.

    Alexis austin1125@msn.com
    Tori is such a sellout in my opinion now, her last 2 cd's i absolutely REVILE. the darkness and emotion is lacking, and im left with a pretty cover with her smirking and some insects in her hair.

    ed teddypigcow@yahoo.com
    in response to amanada's comment, i think she tori has A LOT to say, you just have to read into it more carefully. and alexis, if you think tori is writing music just to sell albums, then you are sadly mistaken. the darkness is present in some areas, but the emotion is lacking NOWHERE. if you could only understand WHY tori is smirking, then you would understand her music, and thus understand who tori amos really is. tori is still writing about the same things she did, even back in boys for pele. if you can't see that, if you can't understand and like ALL of her CDs, including these last two, you are NOT a tori fan, goodbye! um first off, tori didnt have much success circa 97/98 and even if you wish to argue so, a sorta fairytale was probably the most successful tori single. anyway back to the beekeeper. parasol is an amazing opener, and sweet the sting is a jazzy song about the love between the piano and the organ. marys of the sea t! alks of toris most important topics, mary magdalene, someone tori has modeled herself after since she was a little girl, so much so that many say that the songs on this album all refer to both tori AND mary magdelene. marys of the sea is about mary fleeing after jesus' crucifiction to gaul. in toris opinion, it is the greatest story never tol

    Frank texas
    you are never a bad fan if the artist sells out and you don't eat it up like a brainless mr. ed. it's disgusting how low tori went, but i blame that on how great her first 5 were. you can't keep up consistency forever.

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    American Doll Posse ( 2007, UK pos ? )
    Yo, George / Big Wheel / Bouncing off Clouds / Teenage Hustling / Digital Ghost / You Can Bring Your Dog / Mr. Bad Man / Fat Slut / Girl Disappearing / Secret Spell / Devils and Gods / Body and Soul / Father's Son / Programmable Soda / Code Red / Roosterspur Bridge / Beauty of Speed / Almost Rosey / Velvet Revolution / Dark Side of the Sun / Posse Bonus / Smokey Joe / Dragon

    Tori takes on five different characters for the album. It's another vague concept for an album that again has too many tracks and didn't need a concept. Still, for the most part Tori is in fine sound and voice, 'Bouncing Off Clouds' may well sound like a foreign language, her Kate Bush-isms coming out vocally, yet this is a great piece of Tori pop that will have you humming it and smiling in the clothes shop your wife insists you have to visit with her. You know, she should like Tori, not you, yet so many males like Tori and not for her looks particularly, before you start. Her voice and talent are wonderful. Yeah, i'm a fan. What did you expect, objectivity? Who did you think I was, George Starostin? I'll be interested to read reviews of the album, although everyone will likely say 'quite good, but too long' and mention the word 'kooky' somewhere. I just have done, after all. She's quirky and appeared on Graham Norton's show, of all things. In her latest hair, I didn't even recognize her at first. I like 'Mr Bad Man', an unobtrusive album track that briefly and playfully reminds of 'Mr Zebra' and the like from 'Boys For Pele', although not exactly. Anyway, a soft, brushed double-bass. A string section quietly adding atmosphere. Tori sounding beautiful as we all know she can. A song such as 'Girl Disappearing' is likely to appeal to fans of 'Under The Pink' really. Lapsed Tori fans come back. I'm sure i've said that before somewhere? 'Devils And Gods'? Sums up her whole career! I like the way the song starts with an acoustic plus her voice alone. Well, it's only a short fifty three minute long track so that's how it ends as well.

    A generally strong album is 'American Doll Posse' but it lacks surprises. The percussion heavy elements we've heard before and there's little in the way of programming and certainly little dance here. The dance or non-dance music of 'Choirgirl' has been some of her best work for me. Still, 'Code Red' again is another generally strong track. The album in places sounds like Tori is having fun again, something the last album didn't sound like, even if it was still finely crafted. 'Big Wheel' is just joyously percussive and her voice rides the funky tune effortlessly. So, we have 'Bouncing Off Clouds' and 'Girl Disappearing' as album highlights and 'Almost Rosey'. 'Almost Rosey' is a song good enough to be a highlight on any of her LPs. We have plenty of interesting piano patterns, Tori overlapping voices with herself, always a good thing. It's the Piano really, I could listen to her play such patterns all day. I mean, we have songs such as 'Secret Spell' to enjoy on the album, an album that needs to be heard a few times, as most Tori albums do. I don't rank it up their with her absolute best. I'd like to see her experiment with more than just rock instrumentation next time, or perhaps not experiment at all and just strip everything right back? Now that would be interesting.

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    Brett UK
    I somehow overlooked ADP beyond the obvious Bouncing off clouds but when I returned to it recently I just kept finding gems. Putting aside the concept and just focusing on the songs for a second, Beauty of Speed has an infectious and disjointed pop hook up there with her best singles. Elsewhere Digital Ghost & Roosterpur Bridge are beautifully crafted whilst Code Red & Smokey Joe are great little dark creatures. People do moan at the length of her Albums which I've found strange. I always rearrange the furniture when I move in anyway... You have to personalise Tori :)

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    Abnormally Attracted To Sin 8 ( 2009, UK pos ? )
    Give / Welcome To England / Strong Black Vine / Flavor / Not Dying Today / Maybe California / Curtain Call / Fire To Your Plain / Police Me / That Guy / Abnormally Attracted To Sin / 500 Miles / Mary Jane / Starling / Fast Horse / Ophelia / Lady In Blue / Oscars Theme

    Tori signs with a new record label and unveils a mammoth eighteen track album running to over seventy minutes. There's no obvious concept this time out but that's all for the better. Not too many of the eighteen tracks would rank as Tori classics but maybe three or four would do. Basically Tori had her commercial success in the 90s, massive success in the US in particular. People tend to forget that because she was never really a singles artist. 'Abnormally Attracted To Sin' isn't particularly a modern, progressive Tori album in the mold of 'To Venus And Back' or 'Choirgirl' yet equally it isn't the overly comfortable 'Beekeeper' either. A couple or three tunes prove she still has it in her to challenge a listener. It's failed dismally in the UK to sell anything beyond her hardcore fanbase, such is the lack of UK radio stations these days willing to give her the time of day. She doesn't fit in, happily.

    'Give' opens this set all slow and moody and slightly Portishead-y. Second song 'Welcome To England' is her best single for many a year and also features a tremendous video where she wears a great big Union Jack uniform at one stage - gorgeous, of course. 'California Waiting' is one of those all time Tori moments - a beautiful piano ballad complete with strings, it could have fit in easily on 'Little Earthquakes'. Curtain Call' is equally excellent, harking back to the likes of 'Carbon' or 'Black Dove' if we must make comparisons. Her vocals are excellent throughout the album and for an eighteen tracker, it's a pleasure to report that only a couple of songs fail to pass go, namely 'Police Me' and 'Fire In Your Plan', songs that are really b-side material.

    The UK edition of 'Abnormally Attracted To Sin' has a brief moment of prettiness titled 'Oscars Theme' to close the album and that works well arriving after the album's epic, 'Lady In Blue'. 'Lady In Blue' is masterfully spooky and evocative, full of strange gothic synths and Tori's vocal turns this into the blues, turns this into weird supper-club jazz at a funeral parlour before rising upwards for a final crescendo. 'Strong Black Vine' deserves a word of mention before I go, Tori sounding sexy in a rock-chick mode and of course, her 'Y Kant Tori Read' album decades ago failed dismally doing the same thing. Needless to say that here, assisted by strings and gritty guitar, she succeeds admirably.

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    Chris Scotland
    California Waiting? The song is Maybe California (a much worse name) and I hate it, but the rest of the album is fabulous with the exception of that song and Fire to Your Plain. PS. I hate all the visualettes

    DA Warley Northumberland
    This is by far Tori's Worst Album. I love, love, love ALL of the others. I Listen to at least one Tori Amos song every day...She is the only artist who has had an album constantly in my cd changer without ever a day off..and I have been a fan since the very early days...I bought Little Earthqualkes 4 days after it was released, and I have bought every single one since on release day. .I am sure that I have listened to LE, UTP, and BFP at least 2 or 3 hundred times each, and I listen to her later stuff much more than that...ADP and SW are my favourites. I have listened to AATS a grand total of 3 times. I can't even get through most of the songs without getting angry. The only song I can stand enough to even let finish playing is Maybe California. I want my grrl and a piano back. Abd it would really be nice if 'To the Fair Motormaids of Japan' could be on the next album, or as a Bee Side.

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    Night Of Hunters 5 ( 2011, UK pos ? )
    Shattering Sea / SnowBlind / Battle Of Trees / Fearlessness / Cactus Practice / Star Whisperer / Job's Coffin / Nautical Twilight / Your Ghost / Edge Of The Moon / The Chase / Night Of Hunters / Seven Sisters / Carry

    All Tori Amos albums these days seem to have an overriding theme. Long gone are the days Tori would just present us with 12 or 14 new songs and leave us to decide what they were about or how to feel about them. We don't always need a back-story, but for those that want to know 'Night Of Hunters' appears on a classical label and all of the songs are based upon classical pieces. We have classically trained Amos play her Bösendorfer piano accompanied by a string and wind octet with other accompaniment provided by another highly regarded string quartet. Tori takes these classical pieces as a starting point, this isn't a classical musical record, rather an interpretation of classical melodies to create a very serious version of popular song. Tori's daughter Natashya Hawley sings vocals on a few of the tracks here and there and remarkably for such a young woman (she was 11 when these songs were recorded) sounds somewhat like Joanna Newsom's mother, or weirdly reminiscent of Tori herself albeit with a terrible cold. Whatever the sound of Natashya Hawley, judging by her appearances here, she's one hell of a singer in the making. After the impressive and intricate Piano playing featured during 'Shattering Sea', 'SnowBline' is the first Tori/Natashya duet, well, they actually trade vocal lines whilst Tori Piano and strings 'do one' in the background. Superficially it's utterly lovely yet the overall dourness of the enterprise, even down to Tori's lyrics being markedly less playful and humorous than usual just makes this difficult listening.

    'Night Of Hunters' seems to revel in layers of hard to grasp classically inspired Piano lines and at least initially in-penetrable lyrical flights of fancy. Tori herself is in fine voice, rarely has she technically ever sang better than this, but a beating heart seems to be missing. Soulfulness and playfulness are both definitely missing from this, something like her 12th album. Tori continues to perform to an ever decreasingly hard-core fanbase when ditching the concepts and returning to basics, or at least back to the experimentation and progression of 'Choirgirl' would no doubt serve her better? 'Star Whisperer' is ten minutes long, not likely to bring back those lapsed fans, but let's focus on this track for a moment or two. Tori herself sings and plays with the right pedigree to fit in these classical surroundings as strings and woodwind dramatically flutter in the background amongst deep violin sounds. Five and a half minutes in and we've largely had an instrumental, classical piece. There's clearly absolutely nothing wrong with Tori going classical per-se and much to admire in her wilfulness and seemingly determined way to rid herself of much of her fan-base. Whilst Dylan in 1970 released a shambolic, half-baked set called 'Self-Portrait', Tori is going about it a different way, pleasing herself only, it seems. In the long-run that may not be a terribly good idea because you do need people willing to listen. When eight minutes into 'Star Whisperer' Tori re-joins the track vocally, some level of relief is felt. The proceeding classical musical section is technically impressive, but for some reason hard to emotionally connect to.

    'Job's Coffin' arrives and is far less melodically demanding or lyrically impenetrable. Natashya features and sings the lead, joined in by her mother during certain sections and it's absolutely wonderfully spine-chillingly gorgeous. The strings again flutter, but are much lighter in tone, Natashya sounds at once like her mother and simultaneously utterly unlike her, if she takings up smoking she'll end up sounding like Barry White, so let's hope for numerous reasons that she doesn't. "I'm proud of what I've done.... We give ourselves away..... make him stay'. It's almost, but not quite worth sitting through seventy two minutes of 'Night Of Hunters' just for this one song. The title track is also easier to get into and appreciate if you're a fan of Tori and have been for a number of years. I know I'm probably being harsh of 'Night Of Hunters' the album, it's certainly an impressive and laudable achievement, yet not something I feel like listening to again and again, or in fact, ever at all again bar the odd track or three.

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    Unrepentant Geraldines ( 2015, UK pos ? )
    America / Trouble's Lament / Wild Way / Wedding Day / Weatherman / 16 Shades of Blue / Maids of Elfen-Mere / Promise / Giant's Rolling Pin / Selkie / Unrepentant Geraldines / Oysters / Rose Dover / Invisible Boy

    I read how Tori's popularity had apparently plummeted over the past ten years or so, but now I've read that 'Unrepentant Geraldines' is actually the 8th studio album she's released that entered week one onto the American Billboard top-ten. She can't be doing too badly still, then? The chart debut of 'Unrepentant Geraldines' was no doubt helped by almost universal praise from the music-press, many dubbing it her finest set of songs in over ten years. The musical credits are perhaps revealing, apart from Tori herself, the only other musician listed is Mac Aladdin on guitar and producer Mark Hawley. After years of experimentation, enjoyable and sometimes less enjoyable diversions, Tori it seems has returned back to her earlier, Piano/solo self. None of which of course would matter if the songs lacked substance and/or thrills, but thankfully on the whole they manage to be thought-provoking and occasionally chillingly beautiful.

    The opener 'America' proves enough alone that Tori is on top form lyrically, the final verse "because we all lay down to sleep through the now / and if we all lay down she'll be waiting for us where the rivers cross / once we wake from our rest "all the best," the Other America. 'Trouble's Lament' features drums and guitar and a shuffling rhythmic feel that's most attractive, amidst a faint Blues feel. 'I hate you, I hate you, I do' opens up the 3rd track, a beautifully sang ballad that's a combination of Piano and percussion before returning to Guitar, bass, drums and Piano for 'Wedding Day'. None of the opening four songs really could be considered the kind of barnstormer that would or could place Tori back in the album charts - but I don't think that's really the purpose of the album. 'Unrepentant Geraldines' is a whole, echoing Tori's whole career, but containing new structures somewhere within everything. Her Classical work and her collaboration with a playwright for which she wrote for other voices and singers - as well as reaching the milestone age of Fifty - have all clearly had an effect on Tori.

    You know something, I mentioned the lyrical quality of 'America', well, 'Weatherman' as well as containing lovely Tori solo Piano and voice contains the following lines

    rising she stirs
    first it blurs
    a breeze that lifts
    lilac blossoms from the earth
    blending its shape
    to a skirt
    with limbs that bend

    Tori at her best always used to really draw me in with her lyrical ability and the likes of 'Weatherman', 'American' and other songs here are properly crafted words showcasing a genuine poetic talent that could survive standalone - less music or vocals, or even both perhaps? '16 Shades Of Blue' appears to be autobiographical, as well as observational and Tori considers hitting 50 years of age, and other milestone events and ages. It's a key song lyrically and seems to cement the overall theme and mood of the record, songs for freedom, and for women, and for everyone. This theme isn't as overt as some of the themes she's woven across her albums in the past. There are diversions, and musically everything is kept simple with - any introduction of other instruments never detract from the core of Voice and Piano, as it should be with Tori, perhaps?

    Album hightlight? 'Promise' is a duet between Tori and her daughter Natasha. Natasha is developing into a very good singer of her own and steals the show 'Be there, be there, be there.....' she sings with the kind of emotion and stretching of vowels that Tori herself would always specialize in. As Tori and Natasha continue to trade lines, Organ decorates the song towards its climax and if you wanted a song, just one, from 'Unrepentant Geraldines' to consider for a Tori best of, this one is more than worthy of such an accolade. Still, six more songs follow 'Promise' and one frequent criticism of many an Amos album is the sheer unwieldy length of them, often running to 60 or 70 minutes plus. Well, this set does run to around an hour if you have the non-deluxe version. It doesn't sound an hour long, however. It doesn't drag, the quieter, reflective songs are followed by quirkier tunes, or performances musically embellished with other instrumentation. It's another sign that, album title apart actually, that Tori's 14th album is a keeper. One of those records that takes a good three or four listens and then suddenly reveals itself as a minor masterpiece quite unexpectedly.

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    this page last updated 13/01/16

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