Chicago Sun-Times
April 30, 1998

Added May 3, 1998

There is an Album Review from the Chicago Sun-Times on April 30, 1998. Many thanks to Toriphile Amber, who posted this review to the Torinews mailing list.

Tori Amos, 'from the choirgirl hotel'
*** 1/2
Chicago Sun-Times
April 30, 1998
by Jim DeRogatis

Straddling her piano bench like she's mounting a mechanical bull and virtually beating her piano into submission, Tori Amos displays an intensity that's sorely lacking in other Lilith-style singer-songwriters.

Ever since her cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I've thought that her music would be even more intense and musically involving if she incorporated a solid rock band. (Amos spent time fronting a heavy metal band before reinventing herself on 1992's "Little Earthquakes.")

Guess what? Amos' fourth album, which arrives in stores on Tuesday, features the baking of longtime collaborator Steve Canton on guitar, Matt Chamberlain on drums and Jon Evans on bass. The same group will be performing with her tonight at the Park West, part of a 12-city warm- up tour that will be followed by bigger shows later this summer.

The band is a welcome addition indeed, but Amos' new album isn't so much of a departure that her legions of dedicated fans will feel betrayed. The focus remains on her virtuosic piano playing and her soaring, swooping, octave-spanning vocals.

It's still a love-it or hate-it voice, and a lot of people just can't stomach Amos' sometimes histrionic delivery. But her singing wears out its welcome less quickly when it's in these more elaborate musical settings, as the band evokes the lush, elastic art-rock of late '70s Peter Gabriel or the sound of that famous Amos heroine, Kate Bush.

As in the past, Amos is at her best when she's exploring dark psyches and strange obsessions. Thankfully, there's much less of the hippie-dippie New Age mumbo-jumbo that characterized "Boys for Pele" (1996).

"She's addicted to nicotine patches/She's afraid of the light in the dark," Amos sings on "Spark," the album's first single. "She's Your Cocaine" is a tale of twisted gender- bending that I'm still trying to figure out, and "Jackie's Strength" flashes on stray childhood images ranging from the Kennedy assassination to David Cassidy lunch boxes before concluding: "If you love enough you'll lie a lot/I guess they did in Camelot."

Her Park West concert will be broadcast live on the nationally syndicated radio show "Album Network" (locally on WKQX-FM, 101.1, starts at 8 p.m.), and it also will be filmed for a Real Video "Webcast." Check out her Web site at for more information.

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at