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Charleston Daily Mail
October 17, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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Many thanks to Lucy for this review!

Tori Amos
Scarlet's Walk

If the thought of another batch of songs inspired by Sept. 11, especially by angst queen Tori Amos, is enough to ruin your day, you'd think the good news would be at least she's focused on a national rather than personal tragedy, right?

Well, not exactly. Amos has used the events of Sept. 11 as a jumping-off point to muse about our country's history, past and present ("chronicle of her love affair with America"). But in her hands, "history" has a loose and varied interpretation. "Amber Waves," a tune that has more to do with an unscrupulous promoter who exploits a woman than the U.S. of A. The first single, "A Sorta Fairytale" is a return to form of sorts. In this relationship tale, she says the word "I" no less than 32 times. Throughout, the recipe stays pretty much the same with Amos inserting obtuse references to the country, flag, ideals, etc. Of course, there's always the distinct possibility I'm too shallow to decipher the true meaning of lines like: "Messiahs need people dying in their name/you say, 'I ordered you a pancake?'" (from "Pancake"). Musically, the tunes are more cohesive this time around, with more of a "band" feel then simply people accompanying Amos and her Bosendorfer. "Crazy," one of the catchier tracks seems to be about sex, while the Sinfonia of London adds a Moody Blues luster to "Gold Dust." At least is appears that last year's terrorist attacks tempered Amos' self-centered ramblings and encouraged her to think about someone besides herself. Now, let's all join hands and pray she doesn't co-write with Ani DiFranco.


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