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The Calgary Sun (Canada)
October 29, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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Many thanks to Lucy for this review!


SUN RATING: 2 1/2 out of 5
Change can be good.
But only if you take advantage of that which a clean slate provides.

Unfortunately for Tori Amos, on Scarlet's Walk -- her first record for a new label, and first album of her own new material since disc one of 1999's To Venus and Back -- there's no sense of a new beginning.

There's no sense of a fresh start in a career that's spanned more than a decade and provided more than a few highlights. Scarlet's Walk is, instead, a long, truly uninspired act of indulgence on the part of the performer.

And not indulgent in the way of her previous efforts which provided deeply personal looks into her life. Nor even indulgent in the same way as last year's Strange Little Girls, an intriguing collection that saw Amos interpreting songs by male artists such as Eminem's '97 Bonnie & Clyde and Lloyd Cole & the Commotions' Rattlesnakes.

No, this takes it to an entirely different level, thanks to a loose "theme" to the album which has the title character travelling coast to coast across America and telling stories of an odd assortment of lives (a porn star, a prostitute, a revolutionary, etc.) past and present.

Where it begins to fail is in the music, which rarely changes in tempo or style in order to differentiate between the journey's different characters, eras, regions, or moods. Amos rides her dark, dreary Kate Bush piano ballads all the way through the record providing few ups or downs.

But that's nothing compared to Scarlet's Walk's biggest crime, which is that it's far too long (18 songs which clock in at 74 minutes), and far too dull to make us care about her concept, the characters, or, for that matter, Amos herself.
So much for new beginnings.
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