Buffalo News reviewed Tori's Scarlet's Walk album on November 8, 2002. They gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars! Thanks to Laura Rahuba (Miss Kitty) for the article.
"Scarlet's Walk" is easily Tori Amos' strongest effort since her 1991 debut, "Little Earthquakes."
Essentially a concept album, the record follows a thematic, narrative thread in which Amos - given voice here by her counterpart, Scarlet - travels across America and reflects on what she sees. "Scarlet's Walk" succeeds because its creator marries her lyrical ephemera to solid and occasionally sublime musical arrangements and melodic figures.
In other words, this is the first Amos skeleton to be clothed in more than silks and gypsy scarves: "Scarlet" is a living being with some meat on her ribs.
Amos' subject of America could have been a recipe for disaster. In the past, the singer has been in danger of disappearing into the ether of the fairy land her obtuse songs conjure. But Scarlet is corporeal, and her reflections on the personal level are mirrored by glimmers of insight into the broader moral and ethical questions facing the country as a whole.
Scarlet meets a succession of losers, lovers, faded flowers, nihilists, damaged idealists and lovelorn souls as she makes her way from coast to coast. It is a testament to Amos' gift that she makes us believe that these characters are distinctly American; that together, they are somehow a metaphor for America herself.
Thus, the nowhere-girl nymph who stars in "Amber Waves" - "from ballet class to lap dance straight to video" - acts as a window into a country that has lost its moral compass. When Scarlet reflects that her fairy tale relationship crumbled into sand when faced with the hurdles of commitment, she's making the larger comment that people whose myths of empowerment have been replaced by fantasies of effortlessly enduring, "easy" love are doomed to end where they started.
Throughout the album, Amos' lilting vocals and deeply melodic, assured piano playing are given ample support by her band, a group of musicians - drummer Matt Chamberlain, bassist Jon Evans, guitarists Mac Aladdin, Robbie McIntosh and David Torn - whose collective ability to underscore the simple, elegant melodic truths at the heart of these songs is impressive.
"Scarlet's Walk" is Amos' most emotionally compelling and musically astute effort yet.
- Jeff Miers
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