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October 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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Thanks to Peter Zimmerman for this review of Scarlet's Walk. It was posted to in October 2002.

With her latest release, Scarlet's Walk, Tori Amos has produced perhaps the first post-9/11 album to question America rather than reaffirm our faith in it. The album, which Amos conceived while touring America right after "the Twins fell," as she puts it, follows the titular character, Scarlet, on a cross-country trip of her own. The farther she progresses on her journey, the more Scarlet comes to reexamine her beliefs, particularly about the motives that drive individual people -- as well as the very country these people live in.

It's a bold move to write such an album in these possibly pre-war days, when the right to question our nation is seemingly not something we can take for granted. All of which makes Amos' decision to flesh out her music that much more unfortunate. The strength of her earlier material came from the nakedness of her music -- just her voice and her piano. Now that piano is often lost beneath guitars and drums, or simply traded for a wimpy keyboard.

Consequently, her message, so powerful when unadorned, tends to get diluted by the awkward arrangements that accompany it. Lyrically and thematically, Amos still stands as a brave and unique voice. Musically, she now sounds like all the other female songwriters she once so easily surpassed.

Nina Pearlman
CDNOW Contributing Writer

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