"from the choirgirl hotel"
Updated May 19, 1998
The Choirgirl Pages -
Below you will find various reviews of "from the choirgirl hotel" from Toriphiles. I have received so many reviews that this section is now divided into 2 pages. This is page two, which has some older reviews on it.
Page 2 of 2Prev Page Of Reviews
May 12, 1998 - It's been about a week now since I've had the new album, and I finally feel compelled to write my personal review of it. First of all, I owe a lot to Roger, who wrote his feelings on the album and drove me into a long, sleepless nite of thinking about this new album. On the foreground, the album depresses me. Before this morning, I was going around saying I was disappointed in the album...but I'm reconsidering. Last nite, I needed to listen to Hey Jupiter, so I put the MTV Unplugged version, the Saturday Nite Live version, and the April 9, 1996 version...all SOLO piano...last nite I just couldn't deal with "the band." I didn't stay awake thinking about it, I just went to sleep, and I had a dream about it, but gods-only-know what happened in it.........
I remember when I first got Boys For Pele, the day it came out, I was only 2 or 3 months into my Toriphilia. I remember how I fell in love with Professional Widow the first time I heard it, then Hey Jupiter, and also, Caught a Lite Sneeze...that is definitely one of her greatest girls. And I think I would have gotten the same reaction for this album if I wouldn't have ruined it. I think that I am partially responsible for my reaction to the Hotel. I regret saving all of those Real Audio files of Spark, RS, PM, JS, Cruel, and i i e e e. I think that if I had waited to hear them all as a collective for the first time, I would have enjoyed it more. It's also this sense of commercialism. How "Merman" was kept tightly under wraps, but it is such a beautiful song. How I wasn't able to get a free Lithograph because I live on Long Island and the closest store to me that did that was in Rochester. And then, my friend goes into the www.tori.com chatroom, and when he tells the people in there that he felt tori isn't playing for herself anymore, they accuse him of disrespect and even went as far to accuse him of being the one that raped her...all because he is not a Toriphile and didn't agree with their opinions.
I absolutely love Tori, no matter what. She could have come out with a country music album and I probably still would have loved it. But I think the magic has faded, and I think we Toriphiles are partially responsible. Honestly, I think she's becoming a bit frightened by us, her ardent fans, who document her every move on the web...look how it's come to the point that they constantly point it out to her. And also, I think I may have to partially agree with my friends comment. He said to me that when an artist paints a picture, he is doing it for himself, and leaves the viewers to interpret it...I feel sometimes that now Tori is just writing so that we will be in favor. She's become devoured by that ugly thing called "fame." And no, I don't think that her ego is big, I actually think her ego has been slightly crushed. When I first got the lyrics to the new album, the only one that hit me was "Black Dove," and I remember the first time was at the Irving Plaza show. I don't think her child is the only scared little girl she is talking about. And even though I was at the Irving Plaza show, I agree that if she would have cut it down by about 50 people, it would have been wonderful show. Some people have gone as far to call Tori a capitalist for that. I seriously think things are getting out of control.
Tori reminds me of a nation, one that was always ancient and magical. It grew lush green trees everywhere so that the faeries could have a different place to go every Friday nite. People just walked around barefoot dressed always like it was summer, singing as they walk along river banks. Little Earthquakes was the mountains, Under the Pink was the valleys, and Boys For Pele was the cave. And FTCGH is, in my opinion, is the hotel. Now, there are factories, and smog, and other not-so-yummy things planted on this nation. Was this Tori's attempt to modernize?
Finally, I think Tori is struggling. I can never have the Tori I had before this album...the girl and the piano. She's in the process of growing and becoming a new person. She is only human, and they are subject to change. We'll never fully lose the "old" Tori because she's not able to kill away that part of her. As a person, putting her music and talent aside, I'm referring to her only as a philosopher, I am interested to see her grow. There is new hope for my feelings of this album, but I can see myself 20 years from now, on my bedroom floor crying to Little Earthquakes, Under The Pink, and Boys For Pele...the Tori that I fell in love with.
All I can say to tori is "you were wild...where are you now?"
A while later, Vicki posted a followup to the review above:
i had written my review early this morning, and i've been giving a lot of thought to what i said. I had this long conversation with a close friend of mine who is also a toriphile...she got the album about two days ago. I think I know why I was so reluctant to open up to this album. Not only do these albums represent Tori, but I think the reason why we love her so much is because they represent ourselves. I have had the Cornflake girl single for almost two years now, and it was only Thursday morning, at 6am, that I realized what that song meant to me. I never cared for it much really...I just thought of it as one of Tori's "little ditties." Now, it totally rips me apart. I really don't write those full-scale interpretations of Tori's songs for others to read because they apply personally to myself and they usually make sense to ONLY myself...so I save people the agony. I think I was scared of this album because of what happened today. I got that "tingle" in my heart when I was listening to Northern Lad...first when she said "he don't come much these days, it gets so fvcking cold" and then when she says "and i feel the west in you"...for the first time, the album began to crack that coating I had placed around myself. I was subconciously/conciously protecting myself from this album...because I never realized until later today JUST how emotional it is.
Then came Pandora's Aquarium...."ripples come and ripples go and ripple back to me"...so now, I'm here with Northern Lad on repeat and I'm slowly beginning to see the conception of a great love for this album. I received a response from Richard Handal about my first review, and it made me think about how I had gone around with my friend saying how we miss the girl with the piano...we want her back. But then I thought about how tori has repeatedly been stating about how she dragged the girl and the piano thing to the limit. As much as I would want the Nation-o-Tori to remain just trees, valleys, and mountains...I suppose there has to be a hotel or a factory somewhere. Maybe she wanted this. I am not the only one who has written a review like that, and probably because we're not very used to this side of tori...or this side of ourselves (i'm speaking personally though here).
I've drawn the conclusion that this new album reaches into a door of myself that I've been too reluctant to open. It's not the key to the door, becuase mine contain no locks, but it's more like a strong arm that is forcing me to open it...and I *am* scared. So, I do realize where I was coming from, and all of this came to me when I stopped TRYING to get something out of it....it's like when you have writer's block and you FORCE yourself to write a poem...you go nuts and you end up with a paper with something below your potential written on it...well, that's what happens for me when I attempt to write a poem and I suffer from the big "WB." So, I can finally see where my review and feelings were coming from. To all on (and not on) this list, I appreciate your comments that you sent to me...it helped greatly in interpreting my emotions on this new album.
May 12, 1998 - After listening to "From the Chior Girl Hotel" (how about FCGH for short) I was amazed, bewildered, excited, and mostly satisfied about this album which has been getting so much attention.
But hold on, five days after I pick up FGCH, I find a couple of Spark singles and listen to the so called "extras". Usually, I understand why most of Tori's B-sides are not on the main album. Not this time. I was absoutely astonished by all of these songs. "Bachelorette" and "Do It Again" have an energy not found in FCGH. "Do It Again" merged some of the aggressiveness in FCGH with her great traditional piano."Cooling" is definately beautiful and "Last Stop on the Kufurstendam" is worthy as well with its rythmic lounge type atmospere. All of these songs would give a completeness to FCGH. I think these songs would of complimented "Pandora's Box", "Playboy Mommy", "Jackie's Strength" , and "Nothern Lad" which I believe are more of Tori's style (If she really has a definate one).
Why aren't these songs on the album? Got me. BFP has 18 songs!? Any answers? Please E-mail me at TSCHECK@prodigy.net.
May 11, 1998 - This is Not the Ramada Inn
The night before, I had driven all over crazy freeways to find the Hotel, but it wasn't anywhere to be found, so I went home, wondering what it would look like after the little pixies were sent out to build it overnight.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get there on time for the grand opening the next day; the professors were screaming at me about ending semesters and I felt the chain drag me. But after I had pleased them I flew out onto the freeways again, looking for the Hotel, and I'd found it, snug and fit, a little uncomfortable looking, and a little strange because it was in new surroundings that I knew were really old surroundings.
But I parked in front, and the girl with the Sparks on her dress was waiting for me. We were old friends, and she said, "There wasn't a ribbon cutting, but all the old girls showed up. They went upstairs for margaritas." I nodded. It was so nice to see that dress again. And she spoke so clear this time, not all reverbally and with lots of static like on the phone. I was glad she was there first, because I felt comfortable walking through the tinted glass doors.
Inside, there was a party being thrown for the new place. It was big, and colorful, and there was two stories in it, with a wide patio in the back. The sun was setting the whole time I was there, and I was there a long time. But I'm getting ahead.
There were two stories, and I recognized every single girl upstairs, looking down at the new ones with affection. The girl with the Blood Rose in her hair, and the girl who wore lots of Leather, and the girl with her Space Dog right beside her. They were toasting the new girls. I could hear the Raisin Girls on the back patio. It felt segregated, but that was cool because new plants need time to grow.
And I'd looked around at all the color and all the action that was going on; everyone was moving and being way too loud but that was okay 'cause it'd been awhile since a new building had been erected-- the old one by the volcano got covered up with lava and ash from the last twinkles of the explosion. I held the hand of the girl with the Spark dress and she took me around to meet all the new girls.
The Cruel girl I liked on sight. She had a primitive energy to her that made me nod my head to everything that she'd said. She tied a red balloon to my wrist and I knew that was for strength later on. There was a black scarf around her neck that flitted in the breeze of the ceiling fans and her leopard skin mini blew me away.
I felt the pull of my wrist to the January girl on top of the piano on the right. She was wearing a blue dress had a cage of Black Doves beside her, with feathers that glinted in the harsh candlelight. She'd reminded me of far off bells, but there was something about her, something about the way she blurted out her words that made me step back. She was pretty, but it was a pretty that was only seen when you look at the personality. I knew I would remember her face, if only for flashes. I would see her face between trees.
Behind me I felt the breeze of a body moving; and the girl in the Raspberry and white tye-dye dress touched my chin lightly with her finger. She was dancing around everyone, looking everyone in the eye even though they weren't looking back. She was the most different from the rest of them, with a familiarness about her, but with her energy that didn't matter anyway. The cheesecake would still be eaten whether the others were there or not.
But there was a girl sitting over in the corner, sulking. "Let's go talk to her," I'd said, pointing. "Oh, that's Jackie," she'd said when I pulled her over. She didn't say much but everyone knows that sometimes silence is the best weapon. There were a lot of memories there, and she dangled a chain with a wedding band in her fingers. The glint made my eyes water, and it made me uncomfortable. I wanted to take her away from everything and have a private conversation with her, tell her all of my secrets, tell her that it's alright to grieve, but the noise was just too much, and I laid a hand on her hands and she smirked at me. Her eyes were the coolest shade of blue that I'd ever seen. And I knew she knew about Black Magic kept in little lunch boxes.
But someone screamed out, "iieee!" and I knew we were back in the thick of things. Some of these girls were like three or four girls, that's what the life force was in that Hotel. But the girl who screamed was wearing parachute pants like they used to do back in the day, and I laughed at her because I liked her. There was an inner rhythm in her that I could feel too. She liked to scream, but just loud enough to sound like a whisper in some bathrooms. But she was slick too, sulking like a belly dancer in and out of hallways and in between the tables.
And all throughout the piano just kept going. Sometimes you couldn't hear it, but it was there, like breathing, or a heartbeat, audible only when you stop to look around at yourself.
I could have sworn I heard a familiar beat, but it wasn't my heart. It was the footsteps of the girl with the huge Diamond on her chest. It looked Liquid when she walked up to me and shook my hand. She was a really kind girl, the kind of girl who might make me start to drink. She'd even offered me a nice banana daiquiri but I had to refuse since I had to drive back home after all. So nice she was she even offered up a nice game of poker with the Zebra, but I had to refuse since I didn't have any more money either. She frowned, patted my shoulder lovingly, and took her leave, leaving me with a fuzzy but crystal ice feeling in my center. I would have to see her later.
Coming down the stairs was a girl with skin as white as powder, like Cocaine, and she was from the old school, way way back. She had a very cool vibe about her, but she was one of those people who you just look at and say, "She's cool. I want to be like her once." I just like to shave my legs. She's cool, but I don't think I want to be like her. Though the art of control is a very precise art. I'll pick up my brushes later.
But I turned around again and there was another one sulking in a corner, and she looked off in a weird direction, as if she were really looking at something, and she was mumbling. But when I got closer to her her tale was woven in a shawl with Northern colors that she handed to me. She reminded me of a gypsy then, someone from the colder plains. I told her to come to my house and visit more often and tell my fortune. And she'd nodded in approval. I held her hand and she patted mine.
When I looked around, though, it felt like there was someone missing. And I asked the girl with the Sparks on her dress what was going on with the absentee faerie and she said: "Oh yeah, she went with the Velvets to go look for Exit 75." And I thought, but she left such a good aura behind her, it would be so nice if she returned soon. But I knew she would, the Velvets were always good at guiding people.
But there was a girl with the biggest platforms I'd ever seen swaying next to the piano (it was an upright because the grand one got stolen). And she had the jazziest voice I'd ever seen. She wore really baggy clothes, though I couldn't tell why. I thought about asking her to slow down, but when the chord came I closed my eyes and she laid a hand on my forehead and she was singing Hosannahs for my mother. I know what it's like, I thought. I know what it's like to lose someone you just barely got to know. And she looked at me and smiled and I knew everything would be okay 'cause there ain't nothing wrong with being a Playboy sometimes.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the fish; the Aquarium was huge, and I asked to the girl in the Spark dress, "Who's is this?" "It's Pandora's," she replied, smiling. There wasn't a whole lot of colorful fish in it. Maybe when I come back again I'll bring a Blackmoor and some goldfish. I don't think Pandora wanted to talk to anyone, because she was nowhere to be found, and her presence wasn't as strongly felt as the others. I knew she was there though, and that was enough.
I drove home, and the girls' voices were echoing in my brain, on a programmed repeat. I tied my red balloon to the frame of my bed, so that when I looked up at it, it would stay up in a perfect sky in front of my ceiling.
May 11, 1998 - Getting to know the Choirgirls.
I know I'm a bit late - many of you have already reviewed the album so well and thoroughly, but I live in Finland and here the release date was the 8th May, so...
At first I have to say there's no magic like Tori's. With every album (except for Little Earthquakes - I loved it immediately) it takes so many, many times to listen to it before I even realize what is it all about. But when I do, it's like... we're inseparable - me and the album. No other artist has this effect on me. But I guess this is a feeling most of us Toriphiles share. Don't you think it's a blessing to love Tori?!
Okay, the album itself. At first I thought that she's gone back to Y Kant Tori Read, which would have been OK, because I like that album, too. But surely, it wasn't as intimate and good as the Trilogy of LE, UtP and BfP.
But, what the hell was I thinking... this is not YKTR at all! This may be the same girl who sang so passionately about purple sunsets and pirates, but now she's matured. She's a woman.
SPARK . One of the strongest girls from the Choirgirl Hotel. I heard it for the first time on MTV Europe when they played it in the UK top 40. I just loved it from the very beginning. I know I shouldn't be comparing Tori's new work to her earlier, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Somehow Spark reminds me of Here. In my Head (which is my favourite Tori song, by the way). Maybe it's the lyrics ('Here here here' and 'Again and again') and the 'How many fates..." -part, which has that Medieval sound like Here. In my Head and Past the Mission, for example. Especially I love it when she sings "Ballerinas that have fins that you'll never find" the first time. A powerful song and an obvious choice for the first single. I don't know how Spark is doing in the charts there in the States, but in Europe it's not a hit, unfortunately. But I'm sure it would be, if radiostations (and MTV of course) would air it more!!! And I know Tori's music is not about getting big bucks with success, but I think Tori would deserve it. And Spark would deserve it, I think she's craving for attention! The video for Spark is just amazing. The director has had the same vision about a nearly perfect Tori-video as I have.
CRUEL . Cruel is dressed in black, absolutely, but she's smiling. I love the marimba in this track! It sends me in a jungle (very obvious image, I know). Very dark music, indeed and haunting chorus. I'd love to hear this one live. I like the line 'even the rain is sharp today as you shock me sane'. Have you ever been shocked sane? I have. Maybe I'll listen to Cruel next time I'm celebrating my top ten in the charts of pain...
(I can feel new classical Torilines making their way to my subconscious)
BLACK-DOVE (JANUARY) . January girl never got out of the house. This is a sad song and I have just now started to grow to like it. (I don't think that songs grow on us - we grow on them.) The lyrics are so beautiful and touching. I didn't realize that at first. Miscarriage has to be such a terrible thing. I guess I can never understand those feelings completely since I'm a boy... but sure this album has made me think about it! The melody reminds me of Sugar when she sings 'you're not a helicopter you're not a cop out either'. ('All the robins bring they bring me many things') And the loud parts remind me of Pretty Good Year's 'What's it gonna take...' A lovely song. The intro makes me think if this is the sound of piano how a baby hears it in the womb.
RASPBERRY SWIRL . She's the queen of the dance floor. Sometimes a woman has to be the man if the boys don't have the balls. I think this could be the message, but I'm not sure. Isn't it just wonderful how Tori leaves us with our own interpretations?! I like this song! But I can see why many people don't. Maybe it's just we shouldn't take Tori always so fucking seriously. I'm sorry. I've read comments about Raspberry Swirl saying that it's not Tori's style. Well, who's to decide what's her style after all? Besides, I couldn't think of any other artist making this kind of dance track but Tori! It is different, yes, but no-one could do it this way but her. I just love it. 'Things are getting desperate when all the boys can't be men'
JACKIE'S STRENGTH . This girl has grown up with the help of Jackie's strength. Ooooh how it's beautiful... My first thought was that this is such a typical ballad. But it is a Tori ballad. Absolutely a descendant of Marianne and Sister Janet. And sure, 'make me laugh...' has that magical beauty that gives me the cold shivers going down my back (in the good way I mean). 'You're only popular with anorexia' is the most touching line for me in this song, because I've lived that through couple of my female friends and I KNOW what's it about.
i i e e e . What has God to give to this little girl? This is one of the very best songs in the album! It opened to me after couple of times and I started to get these images in my mind... (I just love it when a song does that to me) iieee takes me to a dark cathedral, I can't help it. 'We scream in cathedrals why can't it be beautiful' It reminds me of my religious period that I had in my early teens. Just how many times since that have I wanted to scream in a church "Why does it have to be like this? Why can't it be just beautiful? Why does there have to be a sacrifice?" I just love religious imaginery and churches, but the religions have failed in their mission. There's a lot of noise when she gets to 'just say yes you little arsonist...' -part. I think that's something I would have considered twice before putting it into this beautiful song. But fortunately it wasn't AND isn't my choice to make. Tori has made it for me. And for us all. In iieee is New Tori at her best. There are piano elements as well as the band and some trip-hop. It's almost supernatural how she can create this kind of intensive work of pure beauty and passion. Most likely song to make me cry.
LIQUID DIAMONDS . Sometimes she just wants to drift with the stream. It's the most balanced song in the record. I wouldn't call it boring, though. It's hypnotic and draws a picture of someone floating in a river. Like Tori in the Plugged '98 ad. Liquid Diamonds is seventies-like slow-rock song that has a half-sister: Madonna's Swim from the Ray of Light album. (Damn, I didn't want to bring any outsider song comparisons!!!) I'm sure all of you guys would just love Liquid Diamonds if there were only Tori and the piano without the band in this track. The chorus is so low that it even reminds me of Honey! 'I guess I'm an underwater thing I'm liquid running'
SHE'S YOUR COCAINE . Who knows what is there in her pants. It's definitely a rock song. But it doesn't remind me of YKTR. I like the theme... The song could be dedicated to either rapists or transvestites! I have never been a friend of electric guitars, but I can accept this - everybody needs a change and this change is doing good for me. I like very much the part in the middle of the song where she sings 'Is it true that devils end up like you...' And the instant change back to 'I said she's your cocaine...' works amazingly well!
NORTHERN LAD . She got lost in the Gobi desert. This song didn't move me at all the first couple of times I heard it. But damn how it's beautiful now! Of the two ballads in the album, Northern Lad is maybe more fertil than Jackie's Strength. This could even be at home in Boys for Pele! Piano is a bit country-ish sometimes... but that just makes music in FtCH more variable. I like the lyrics. And the part where she sings 'Don't say that you don't and if you could see me now...' is extremely beautiful.
HOTEL . Different kind of people come in her life and get out of her life. Wow! I was totally blown away with this song. Even in the first time I heard it! It's ingenious. Hotel has so many different parts. It's almost a piece of opera. Rock-opera, that is. That's why it reminds me of seventies' Queen and other bombast rock bands, especially the 'where are the velvets' section. Hotel also reminds me of Little Earthquakes the song. Both of these songs manage to scare me. They are really vampire-ish! And when LE has three bridges, Hotel has five different parts that work well together in it. The parts go: A B C A B C D E. And I like them all. The ending is real cute, something that sounds like horns and brings us back to BfP's Putting the Damage on. Excellent song. Techno elements can't make Tori less Tori. I'd love to hear remixes of this song. But I still can't think of it being released as a single... at least not yet. 'I have to let you crash down' is my favourite part.
PLAYBOY MOMMY . For her daughter. Again a song inspired by the miscarriage. This is so sad and beautiful, it gives me shivers and could make me cry a bit. At the moment one of my favourites in this album (although I start to think that all the girls in this record are my favourites...) The best part is 'little girl they'll do you no harm cause they know your playboy mommy but you just tell em my name from here to Birmingham I got a few friends...'. It's just so touching. Jewel is not so bad comparison. The song has some country elements in it. But what is the instrument in the beginning? Accordion? It sounds so reassuring and reminds me a bit of BfP - again. I like Tori's voice in this song, it's a bit different and very strong. The whole track is really strong, too.
PANDORA'S AQUARIUM . Where she feels she's watched. Hey - the beginning sounds like old Tori! (In her most challenging mood...) But the real song doesn't show her face until in lovely 'File me up in single file with all your grievances...' 'Nautical nuns' is the verse that has haunted me the whole day... It just keeps showing up from nowhere no matter the situation! It's really an interesting image - a nautical nun. I'm sorry - here comes yet another comparison. Pandora's Aquarium makes me think of Kate Bush, it sounds like it could be from Kate's Never for Ever era back in 1980. But still it doesn't remind me of any single song. It's just the style, I guess. However, I think Pandora's Aquarium is just the right song to close the album.
I just happened to fall in love with From the Choirgirl Hotel. I guess it was bound to happen.
And for all those who can't get over Tori's supposed change of style. After all, there are songs that could have played parts in earlier albums, too. I think Northern Lad, Playboy Mommy, Jackie's Strength and Pandora's Aquarium could have existed with Boys for Pele, and Black-Dove (January) and Spark could go back as far as Under the Pink era. It's just songs like Raspberry Swirl and Hotel that are arousing prejudice. In vain.
Okay, I hope some of you had time and patience to read my opinion about Tori's newest album From the Choirgirl Hotel. I can't actually compare it to the others. Every album has it's own world and I happen to love them all.
I'd love to discuss about Tori and her music more with somebody. You can write to me, my address is email@example.com.
May 11, 1998 - Hello, MikeWhy and other fellow ears with feet! I got the CD the second our local record store opened on the 5th, and listened to it all day. At first, I really liked the songs, but in that shallow, detatched way that I like random songs played on the radio- not with the normal adoration that I save for Tori. I didn't hear the passion in her voice that was so apparent in BFP, or the emotions that poured through the piano in UtP, and especially not the stark nakedness of Tori's soul that was bared in LE. But now I DO. I love this CD. There is a power and a spirit that Tori has put into these songs that I have never detected before. For those of you that don't feel that in this album, give it time. Listen to it in a dark room with no one around and nothing to distract you, and I swear you'll find yourself writhing on the floor with the power in these songs. I think she has changed, and since she puts so much of herself into her music, that means her music has changed as well. The stories she tells are more apparent in this album than they have been since LE. Don't get me wrong, I love Tori's lyrics and how they just seep with meaning, but it's a lot easier to get her message in this album than it was in BFP. I love this album in comparison with the others like you would love your children: equally, but DIFFERENTLY. That's my general summary, but I'll run down through the songs:
Spark: fabulous. I love the chorus, and piano solo. This one is very radio-friendly but it still does not comprimise Tori's style. This will definitely be a classic.
Cruel: I love the DICTION of this song. Tori really expresses the mood of the piece by her word choice and even how she pronounces everything (that may sound funny, but that's what I feel most in this song.). The beat is really interesting, and it does seem like a new sound for Tori, but she ALWAYS introduces new sounds in her albums.
Black-Dove (January): I didn't really like this one at first, but it has definitely grown on me, and now I adore it. The "But I have to get to TEXAS" line gets me every time. And the galaxy part reminds me very much of "Flying Dutchman" and the rocketship stuff.
Raspberry Swirl: Well, I heard early on that this song was remniscient of techno music, and that turned me off right away. I HATE that type of music. So I was prepared to just detest this song, but crazily enough, I LOVE it!! It's catchy, I have it in my head all the time, and her voice just penetrates me. This is one of my favs.
Jackie's Strength: I love this song. Very "Marianne." May be my favorite on the album. I love the lines "if you love a lot you lie a lot, guess they did in Camelot" and "you're only popular with anorexia so I turn myself inside out and hope someone will see." This one makes me cry.
Iieee: Another one I didn't like at first. But it didn't take long for this to become a favorite of mine. VERY powerful and meaningful. Tori almost sounds like she's crying when she sings "I know that we're dying and there's no sign of a parachute." And she says the word "arsonist" PERFECTLY. That part reminds me of BFP.
Liquid Diamonds: Well, I haven't really bonded with this song yet. I know I will, though, because I already find myself humming it randomly.
She's Your Cocaine: I go crazy every time I hear the great intro to this song. It's GREAT. The "And is it true?" part reminds me SO much of the "right on time..." section of CALS. I really think this one should be played on the radio, too.
Northern Lad: Okay. Sometimes there are Tori songs I love so much I can't even talk about them. "Here. In my head." was one. "Putting the Damage on" was one. This is another.
Hotel: Hmm. Truly, I just haven't listened to this one very much. I don't know why, but I just don't pay attention to this song. I will, though. I did the same thing with "Space Dog" and then I loved that one. It just hasn't clicked for me yet.
Playboy Mommy: Wow. The piano in this is wonderful. And the lyrics are so sad. Just as I have dried my eyes from "Jackie's Strength"...
Pandora's Aquarium: Well, I don't like the beginning to this song. It reminds me of the BFP B-sides that I wasn't too fond of ("Frog on my Toe," "Sister Named Desire," and "Alamo"), but then it gets much better. I really love this song.
I've also heard Merman and the B-sides on the Spark singles (Cooling, Purple People, Do it Again, etc.) and I love them as well. Altogether, I think this is a great album...it was put together wonderfully (ballad, then faster song, then ballad, etc.) and is a great addition to my Tori collection. All of her albums are so distinct and fabulous that it just makes me remember how amazingly talented the goddess really is.
May 11, 1998 - Hi. I've never posted here before, but I'd like to share my views on the new album. Tori's music means so much to me - I feel like I can get lost in her songs in ways that doesn't happen with many other artists. I also love Radiohead, U2, some REM (not their last album, though), Bjork, Prince, and (yes, I admit it) Madonna, just so that you know where I'm coming from. I bought LE in 94, shortly before I picked up UTP and have been a huge fan ever since. I feel that Tori's albums are so alive - I always change my opinions as to which one is my favorite, what I like about them, what the songs mean. I read in a review that the great thing about Tori is that she grows with you. I couldn't agree more. FTCH did not let me down. I see how LE, UTP, and BFP are a trilogy, and to mine that territory any more would be dangerous. For those of you missing the "girl and her piano" thing, I recommend you stick with this. I like techno and electronica, so this album went down very easy for me, but if you don't this could be a cool introduction :) I'll give my song by song analysis:
Spark - I like this one a lot, and I like it loud. I actually like the distortion. When her voice emerges sans effects, it feels like someone is coming out from underwater, making a breakthrough. Cool stuff.
Cruel - Very sensual and kind of icy. Placing it after "Spark" was a clever move.
Black-Dove - More traditional Tori. I like it, and it works well with the album, but the cuts that I'm more interested in are the ones that show her breaking new ground. This one doesn't.
Raspberry Swirl - Just about my favorite. This song is SO sexy. Her vocal delivery is totally breathless and over the top and I LOVE IT! Plus, the image of making a raspberry swirl has to be one of the best metaphors for intercourse that I've ever heard. Go Tori! There's also something darker here that prevents this from just being a one-dimensional lust-fest. In a way, it reminds me on "Skin" on Madonna's new one - very sexy, but also slightly disturbing. I love songs that are difficult to open up sometimes - they can offer the best rewards. This one's not as easy as some of you guys think it is.
Jackie's Strength - Beautiful. This is also kind of traditional, but I like it better than Black Dove. The images are great, the words play off of each other brilliantly (bridesmaids / getting laid), and it's just lovely . . . .
Iieee - Cool song, but I don't really have an opinion on it yet.
Liquid Diamonds - This is one I know I'll appreciate more the more I hear it.
She's Your Cocaine - Another favorite. I love how Tori gets all nasty and plays around with gender issues, having men shaving their legs and women as victimizers in this song. I appreciate that she doesn't just make guys assholes in her songs - she writes from a more open view and has fun too. And it ROCKS!
Northern Lad - The high notes are a little too melodramatic for my tastes, but the words are so beautiful, especially "I guess we've gone too far / When pianos try to be guitars." That's one of her best lines ever, and I don't even view it in relation to her change in musical style - it describes relationships changing tune and texture, moving on, pretending to be something else and coming out all wrong.
Hotel - Cool, but not my favorite. It sounds great, but other artists can do this kind of techno more convincingly than she can (Sorry, Tori).
Playboy Mommy - So powerful and sad. I love songs like this. It tells a heartbreaking story in a heartbreaking way.
Pandora's Aquarium - A nice finish. I personally can't stand "Yes, Anastasia". I think this is much better closer.
In all, my favorites for now are "Raspberry Swirl", "Jackie's Strength", "She's Your Cocaine", and "Playboy Mommy." This is a great album, and it's a shame that some old fans don't like it. Tori is changing and challenging herself and us, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I can't compare it to other albums yet, but I will say it's easier to like than UTP and BFP. Those were very challenging works, and although I love them, I had difficulties growing to love them. LE is so diary like that it's hard not to understand and fall in love with it. In that way, I think this one is more like LE. This record is incredible, and it's such a wonderful progression for her. With some artists, you have to recommend their albums out of order (For U2, for example, I'd tell someone to get The Joshua Tree, then Pop, then Achtung Baby, then Zooropa - trust me, I have my reasons!). Tori's records have to be heard in the order that they were released in. I feel like this one may be the start of a new trilogy, and it's exciting stuff.
May 8, 1998 - I've now listened to the album about 10 times in the last two days (at home, at school, in my car - everywhere) and my opinion on it has changed since I first heard it. I'm sure it will change still the more I listen to it. I must admit that I was a *tiny* bit disappointed with it at first, and although I have NEVER been disappointed with anything tori has ever done, I think this is the worst of her four albums... it's still good - I just like the other ones better. Choirgirl is defiantly growing on me though, and there are some songs I just love.
SPARK: This is defiantly one of the best songs on the album. I think the chorus is gorgeous, and the bridge is powerful. It's a great first single, and one of my favorite tori songs ever. I think that it is one of those few songs that is catchy and the public will like it, but so will the fans, because it's not crap. I love how the full band sounds on this one
CRUEL: My least favorite on the album. It's just not her style at ALL. The lyrics are so powerful - I love them, and the song is catchy as hell, but I still don't like it. When you compare it to songs like YES ANASTASIA, FATHER LUCIFER, or UPSIDE DOWN it is a throwaway. However, I still find I always have it stuck in my head, so maybe it isn't so bad after all.
BLACK-DOVE (JANUARY): My very favorite song on the whole album. I liked it the first time I heard it - I think the beginning is lovely with the mallet piano and her singing "By the woods, by the woods.... black dove". Then the loud bridge comes in - it's just awesome. At first it reminded me of bells for her... but it's not anything like it - very creative. It has a really dreamy feel to it with the clear vocals and the muffled piano, and then the swelling guitar on the chorus...
RASPBERRY SWIRL: Again, this one is not her style... but it's way better than CRUEL IMO. I really like the beat, it's a great catchy song, and the piano sounds great in it. The lyrics are strong too. I love all the overlaying vocals... this song is obviously very experimental, but it's my favorite of the "electronic" ones on the album.
JACKIE'S STRENGTH: This is a lovely song, but it's not one of my favorites. There is a funny hiss in the background if you listen to it after some of the other CHOIRGIRL songs. The instruments sound nice, and so does her voice. It's a nice song, and it sounds more like her old style of music. My favorite part is the third verse where all the BG instruments fade out and she goes "I got lost on my wedding day..." It's really pretty.
Iieee: Wow. This is one of the best songs on the album. It is so different, but so great! I love the chorus "we scream in cathedrals..." it's really catchy, but not in a bad way... it is fantastic. The best part of course is where it goes insane in the middle and she says (all distorted) "JUST SAY YES - You little arsonist" It's great. The bass and drums in this song are exceptional... and I find the beat is a lot different from the rest of the songs which sound kind of similar in that way. And it has a cool title! I like songs that build up, and this one defiantly does.
Liquid Diamonds: I never feel like listening to this one, but I like it whenever it comes on. The lyrics are awesome, and the song is dreamy and creepy.... the chorus comes and sounds like some R&B song - very cool - then she starts wailing "Liquid Diamonds" - it's so cool. The end is great with all that improv stuff. It is 6 and a half minutes but doesn't seem like it at all.
She's Your Cocaine: For sure this is the most recognizable track... I love it... it's so much fun, and it's so happy (yet angry). Totally Led Zeppelin. The best part is the bridge where she goes "Is it true? Devils end up like you?" and she plays the organ..... it's lovely. It's fun to sing along on this one.
Northern Lad: My other favorite. At first I didn't like it... but this one is lovely. Musically it is quite different from her other stuff (it's a nice ballad with a full band - prior to this, most of her nice ballads were all on piano - and there is a cool chord progression in this song) but lyrically it could have EASILY fit in on Boys For Pele. It's about breaking up, and it's SO SAD... the tune, and the way she sings "If you could see me now..." makes me feel so sad... one of those songs I can't listen to too often (sister janet is another one of those for me) but it is stunning.
Hotel: When I first heard it I hated it, but with many listens I realize that I absolutely LOVE it! It's so creative and cool! Starts off all repetitive techno - then turns into opera techno - then turns into pretty sparkly techno - repeats - THEN the full band and piano comes in on "WHERE ARE THE VELVETS" - awesome! Then it ends with just tori on the piano... it's so cool - and the organ thingee at the very end is so cute.
Playboy Mommy: The instruments on this are so crisp and clear and so is her voice... another sad song, but this one is also quite dark... I really like it. I HONESTLY can't hear Willy porters guitar on it though! The slide guitar is easily recognizable, but not the acoustic (or electric - I don't know) very good song though.
Pandora's Aquarium: This was a pleasant surprise... I thought this would be a lot different - I just LOVE it. A cool jazzy song, unlike anything I've ever heard by her, but it has a very tori-ish chorus "line me up in single file..." but then goes all jazzy again... it's great... a strange way to end the album though. Northern lad would probably be a better last song. but this one is cool.
Overall: Favorites are iieee, northern lad, and black dove. I can't really say if I'm disappointed or not... I'm not disappointed so much with the music, but more with the whole Idea of her becoming a popular huge star and playing in big arenas... I thought it was cool seeing her in little theaters... I also miss her solo piano ballads (of course... there is merman and cooling though - those are fantastic!) but I miss the harpsichord, and I'm not completely nuts about all the electronic stuff... There were some really cool b-sides though - I LOVE do it again and cooling.
The artwork for the album is far superior to all her other CD's (she probably had a much higher budget), and I think the cover is my favorite of any album or single or anything! I know it's not very deep and meaningful, but I think it is awesome! The photos inside are very dark, but very cool.
The sound quality on all the songs is really great - with the exception of JACKIE'S STRENGTH, cause I notice a significant HISS in that one.
May 8, 1998 - I have to tell you that I am absolutely in love with chorigirl hotel. I wasn't expecting too much from it for some reason but it has completely blown me away! From what little I've seen of what she's been doing live (I was unable to get tickets to the fillmore show), I didn't think the cd would do much justice, cos the little bits and pieces that I've seen kick fatass ass. However, I was instantly disproved when I popped it into my radio. I skipped my morning classes to get to Tower as soon as it opened, and it was mucho worth it. Playboy mommy made me cry the first time I heard it, it's so sad, but at the same time it's a hopeful song. Liquid Diamonds, iieee and Cruel are defenitely my favorites right now. I like what she's done with the addition of the band. It really adds to her work, but it doesn't take away from it. On Tuesday I was listening to the cd while I was driving, minding my own business, happy as a lark, and some buttmunch JerkBoy made a left turn and smashed into me, but (and this illustrates what an effect Tori has on me, because I acted mucho abnormally for me in this situation) I wasn't even mad at all. I didn't yell at him and cuss him out like I did to the last guy who hit me cos I was just so damn happy about this new album........
May 7, 1998 - I'm sure that you must be getting sick of all the Choirgirl Hotel reviews flooding in (or maybe not, I sure enjoyed reading them all...) So what the heck, here's my own impressions about the album. Like so many before me, I'm listening to the album right now, and reviewing it as I go along. Worry not, though, I've listened to it just about non-stop since I picked it up, Tuesday. I'm not going to do much talking about the lyrics, they seem to mean something unique to each listener, and it's not my place to say whose interpretation is right or wrong. Ratings are out of 10.
I happen to live in a city whose radio stations wouldn't know who Tori was if she jumped up and "bit them on the butt." So (thankfully?) I haven't been pummeled with this song non stop. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favourite 11 songs on the album... I think I listened to the Letterman live performance too many times first, though-- when it comes to the "How many fates turn around" bridge, I always expect the band to really kick in, instead of disappear. I give this one a 8.5
I love the intro, I love Tori's disjuncted vocal style, I love that heavy fuzz-bass sound, I love the multilayered ethereal vocal section near the end, I just love everything about this song. Again, more radio-friendly than most of her previous work (but not shallow enough to get airplay in my town). "As you sh-sh-shock me sane" is permanently engraved on my brain. I can't sleep at night anymore, without hearing this song in my dreams... 9.5
Black Dove (January).
I had some big hopes for this song... the super-muffled piano intro reminds me very much of Mother and Bells for Her. "By the woods" is another hook planted in my grey matter. The strings are so subtle when they come in.... and this effect is nearly ruined by the "Other side of the galaxy" section. That just sounds so- primitive. It's loud and self-defeating. However, this crowded, insensitive section of the song really makes me appreciate the verses. Overall, I still like this song. Is it just me, is Tori determined to end almost every song with a breathy, distorted, vocal treatment? Hmm, about 6.5 or 7
On each of Tori's albums there has been a single song that irritated the hell out of me at first, but eventually became a favourite (or at least tolerable). LE, there was Precious Things (oooh, do I love that one), UTP it was the crazy guitar of God that challenged me, and on BFP Professional Widow slapped me around a lot before I could like it. So, I've forced myself to listen to this song over and over... in hopes that I could find a single good aspect of it. No such luck. There is no progression in the song, no dramatics, no dynamics, no tenderness, no convincing testosterone. It is simply loud, throbbing, repettitive, and headache provoking. The lyrics are just peachy, if I could endure the rest of the mess to hear them. This song is about two inches away from permanent skip mode... and if it weren't Tori, I would never listen to it again. 2. Or maybe 1.
Ahh, now that I've got that negativity out of my system, I can go on to what may be a favourite of mine. This one instantly reminds me of Marianne, but not quite as sorrowful. I LOVE the arrangement of the strings... and of course the piano. Mmmhmm. Good stuff. 8.5
Another great one. I just love the percussion on this album, first Cruel, and now this song really impress me with the rhythms... I like the vocal work during the chorus, but here I think the string work is a bit too much. The distorted electric guitar section near the middle works, much better than I expected it would. Actually, it more than just works, it ROCKS! 8.5
I love the bass/piano/drum intro. Very moody... reminds me a little some song from Moist's first album. The rhythmic vocal section leading up to the chorus (could you call this rap?) reminds me very much of Siren, only softer. I like this song, but it doesn't really grab my attention... 7
She's Your Cocaine.
This song has a very catchy (or annoying, depending on my mood) tempo. The guitars remind me somewhat of Steve Caton's work on UTP. I love the pipe bridge, but it makes me even more vunerable to the shrieking that follows. This is a song to listen to for it's lyrics, just one quotable line after another. Cute ending, but it's not a song I miss once it's over. 6.5
Someone mentioned Baker Baker in reference to this song... and I think that is a very fitting comparison. This is a very beautiful song, and more like the "old" Tori. The chorus reminds me very much of part of Hey Jupiter. One line seems especially noteworthy, in light of the new direction Tori's taken: "I guess you go to0 far, when pianos try to be guitars." There's much else I feel like writing about this song, I'm enjoying it too much right now. 8.5
I don't see what the big fuss is about this song. I really like the sound of it, the tempo changes, and Tori's glorious and powerful singing. There are several instruments in this song that I just can't identify (must be electronic). I would much prefer Tori to continue with this type of song, than to go on making Dance Mix wannabe's like Raspberry Swirl. I really get a kick out of the horn ending... sensitive, sombre, and cute all at once. 9.5
I love this song... jazzy, playful, and heart rending all at once. This is one that I can't get through with dry eyes. The drums throughout remind me a little of NIN's Piggy. The weeping steel guitars at the end don't really help this song much, IMHO. Sounds a bit like Jewel (forgive-me-please-pretend-i-didn't-say-that....) 8
This song always puts me to sleep after the rest of the album. I should rephrase that: this song lays the album to rest, so I can get some sleep. (Maybe my review is tainted by the fact that my sleeping habits have been seriously messed up ever since I bought this CD. As in: I get no sleep at all anymore, until the album's finished. Usually, not until the album has finished it's 3rd or 4th repeat, that is.) Anyway, it's quiet, pretty, and Tori sings beautifully. I'm glad she finished the album with this, it brings a good close. 8
Okay, that's about it. Tallying up the points:
Awesome/Favourites: Spark, Cruel, Jackie's Strength, iieee, Hotel.
Slightly less awesome: Liquid Diamonds, Playboy Mommy, Pandora's Aquarium, Northern Lad.
Good, but imperfect: Black Dove (January), She's Your Cocaine
Don't even like to think about it: Raspberry Swirl
I'm not going to compare this to any of Tori's previous albums yet, because to do so would be very difficult, and I'd do a lousy job. I like Tori's new direction, but not more or less than her old direction (if that makes any sense.) My only other comment, about this album as a whole, is that there seems to be less variety in the sound/mood than on her others (especially BFP). Oh well.
May 7, 1998 - As evident by previous reviews, there is a definite contrast in opinion between Tori fans who loved her work as it was and Tori fans wanting her to grow. I'm a want-her-to-grower. :) THIS ALBUM IS GREAT!
Great song! I loved "Winter" and "SATY", but in some of Tori's other works I would wish she would get some musical emotion out! This song finally brings it out! And the video is a beautiful compliment!
Love it. Flat out! I love the new Tori sound!
Getting the idea the album is almost ranked in the order of my faves? ;) I love this song as well, although I don't feel it's fair to Spark or Cruel to rate it the same. I'm having trouble interpreting this one, but "in a tiny kinda scary house" and "in the woods" brings a bit of eerieness. :)
Raspberry Swirl: 10
I wouldn't be able to stand a 100% techno-Tori but when she does it, it's just fantastic! One per album is perfect and I'm glad she followed up Professional Widow with this one! i suspect Tori fans will either rate this song a 10 or a 0 with no points in between.
Jackie's Strength: 9
Lovely. It loses a point because some of the base of the music is derived form others. But it's manipulated and made amazing and is a very touching song. Sounds a lot like the old Tori, aside from the band. ;)
i i e e e: 9.9
GREAT! I'm dissapointed some others don't love this song. The "i i ee e "ing in the background is very primal. This song and Spark are the two who's beats I can't jar from my head.
Liquid Diamonds: 4
Tori's first slip up. It used to be at a 0.5, so a 4 is a compliment. It's a nice song but it doesn't fit with the great first 6. I'm not a jazz fan, which is an element this one takes to heart. (George Porter Jr.'s first appearance on the album I believe.) Old Tori fans will appreciate this one.
She's Your Cocaine: 9.5
A good tune. Definitely more fit for LIVE consumption. It sounds like Tori is trying to be improvish, but on a CD it doesn't work. Well, it works obviously, but this song would get a 10 if I heard it live! Great programming music. ;) I could live without the ambiguous "Cut it again!"
Northern Lad: 8
I'm stuck on this one. It has great wording but I wish the tune would pick up. It's funny, it's definitely classic Tori but when ya throw it in between these new Tori selections it loses it's flavor. I would have to believe that this song would earn at least a 9 if it were on one of the previous 3 albums. You'll notice the song starts very quickly. Kind of unusual for Tori who usually dabbles with the Piano for a while before starting. :)
Yuck. I think she reached too far and landed in "new sound" territory. One of the two songs that I wished never appeared on the album. Luckily the other one is the last track.
Playboy Mommy: 7.5
Love the lyrics, but the melody is still growing on me. Jury still out on my final feeling about this one
Didn't earn a point. The worst part of this song is when you look at the CD and see the next song is called "Pandora's Aquarium" and then she starts off the song with an elongated, "Paaaaaaannndoooora" UGGGG!
I love the album for two reasons. One, it's GREAT! Second, I see Tori is moving in the direction I've wanted her to! Bringing across your message is great, but if radio stations don't play it...no one will hear it. With this album, people will begin to hear it. I rate this CD a first place tie with Little Earthquakes! (Little Earthquake had too many CLASSICS to be beaten, ever)
May 7, 1998 - .....im not even sure if i like the word 'review'....it sounds like i have the right to critique tori, and i know as well as anyone else that her talent supercedes mine! so, i guess this is my impression, rather....ive listened to the disk a few times through now and i have to say that i LOVE (am i gushing?) rasberry swirl. so its not the tori we have grown up with...who gives a rats? really, its awesome....can hardly sit in my seat for it...its different, but change is something we all must grow to love because, hey, it happens. iieee.....i LOVE this one too. of course i LOVE northern lad...reminders of tori past. the rest of the cd is still being learned (except spark, but i had that memorized long before the release of ftch), but i usually listen to a few songs religiously for a while then turn to a new 'girl' to give me an insight or two, so i guess they will all come around sooner or later. after all, so did le, utp, and bfp. TO TORIPHILES HAVING TROUBLE LIKING THE ALBUM: DONT GIVE UP HOPE....MAYBE ONE DAY IT WILL CLICK FOR YOU!
May 7, 1998 - I like the new album. I can't say it's my favorite (nothing will ever beat the connections Boys For Pele made with me) but I have to say that I like the mix of the new album. I love Tori as a lonly piano girl, but let's face it she can't keep doing the same thing over and over. No matter how much we complain about the new, we would also complain about the repetitivness.
Everything that makes Tori, Tori is alive in this album. It's very magical, and like tripping through a fairies field you never know where the next turn will take you. Follow the map at the beginning of the album as you listen to the songs. Watch as the songs take you over the bridge and through the mountains. It is so masterfully laid out to us. I love the way the album looks the most. THough I love Cindy's photography I think this Cd has a much more beautiful package than the other three. There is something so serene about the four part centerfold that it gave me chills. The images are so dark they haunt me. Raspberry Swirl is the one song that gets suck in my head the most (which has gotten me into trouble with other Toriphiles for they feel that I've really loved her music before if I only find the electronica amazing). The song to me is alive and energetic like God and Cornflake Girl or my absolute favorite Talula. There's something that pulls you with this song. My favorite song on the album and running a close second to Talula as my all time favorite Tori song is Playboy Mommy which was so amazing I can't even explain it. My roommate pointed out how I seem to have a thing for the songs that concern dead babies (we are both convinced that Talula is about the decision to have or not to have an abortion). I like the album...overall it's very new and will open the gates of Tori's never changing personality and opinions to an entirely new crowd.
May 7, 1998 - On Tuesday May 5th, I went and bought the tape and CD of Choirgirl Hotel. I smiled when listening to it.
As always, Tori is a genius!
The CD booklet is so creative and individual.
The way she mixes careful looks, looking beautiful with being eccentric always puzzles and enchants me to her.
She has really grown up, as she says, she became a woman! I am proud of her for this!
My favorite song is by far "Raspberry Swirl" It makes me laugh and dance. I also love Spark and Jackie's Strength equally.
I am down about people not understnading and growing as well. Some of us are stuck in the past and in childhood, saying they will abandon sweet Tori because she grew up.
I ask of you to grow up yourselves and love her, for she is only being truthful to herself, how would you like her to play piano ballads forever when inside she is dying and long past that stage.
Let her fly
and don't be afraid to fly with her.
She is a woman of great strength and vigour
and will continue to inspire you as long
as you believe in her magic!
May 7, 1998 - i wish i had the time to write the composed, well-constructed essay that i'd like to on from the choirgirl hotel, but, sadly, three jobs kinda prevents that. however, i do have the time to offer some impromptu thoughts on what i believe to be one of tori's richest and most challenging collections. › i am saddened to read the reports >from other ears with feet who believe that tori has "left them" or "sold out". i don't believe this to be the case at all. i think that tori values her ears with feet greatly. for example, tori certainly didn't have to "warn" the public that the forthcoming album would shift focus >from sol-piano performance. she did so because she didn't want any listeners to feel isolated. i think, if anything, the music tori composes and performs is very very internal and it comes how it comes. she didn't really "choose" to sway from her original formula, this was simply how the girls walked onto the catwalk. it is the inherent, beautiful, raw passion that is inherent to the tori we all know and love that makes this compililation so striking and incredible.i encourage all toriphiles who are questionable about how they feel about choirgirl to consider returning to the album and attempting to empathize with tori- and maybe feel the tropical sunbeams as she did when the girls first starting creeping from the shadows. › if anything, spark stands as really the title work of the album. she knows all the girls well, i think and maybe has the room with the best view. she knows most of the worst secrets and she's just starting to feel the groove. the piano is still brave with spark and is starting to make friends with the other players. she's an incredible lyrical journey, and one that won't soon fade. › i think cruel has already enjoyed the mai tais on the deck and maybe turned up the synth a little when tori was taking a nap. there's a lot of movement with her and she's likes to be a little dirty sometimes and a little renegade, i think. tori might have been in a bit of trance when this one showed up and maybe started to show her the way. › some are a little older in this hotel and i think Black-Dove (January) is one of those. she is a little more restrained and her thoughts are somewhat more composed in terms of where she wants to go. and i'm not really talking about texas here either. she's already experienced her good cry and this is sometime in the early morning before anyone else has gotten up. › but we go back to highchairs or at least jockstraps with Raspberry Swirl. tori wasn't afraid of the sexuality when she first visited with this chick. Swirl wants to be one of those songs that people fuck to, and yet she has her own insecurites and she gets kind of messy sometimes. › Jackie's Strength stays somewhere in the center and likes to look at scrapbooks with tori. she's soft at heart but there's something under the surface that isn't just sweetness and light. yes, she's very pretty when you've only met her once, but it's worth your while to spend some time talking to her. › tori was dreaming and in the points between awake and asleep iieee came and wanted to talk. she gets very angry half-way through and tori almost wakes up but she's lulled back to sleep and in that sleep she dreams of anne bolyn and maybe even eric. we all move on but sometimes it's hard not to remember. › she's not yet drunk and she hasn't finished all the chores and liquid diamonds really likes to play dress up. this is another one that has gone through some pretty extreme mindfucks but if you spend the time to get inside her brain it's very different inside there and you end up looking back at yourself in the mirror and you like it. › She's your cocaine still ahngs out sometimes with iiiee but they get into huge fights so they make sure they are at least a room apart most of the time. they might have been lovers once but cocaine screamed too much during sex and decided she was straight anyone. › Northern Lad's gotten over her prozak addiction. she cries quietly in the dark and wants to have children someday. not yet though, it's still a little too soon. › maybe Hotel does manage all of the rooms. she keeps the keys on her belt loops and breaks up the fights. in the middle of the night she studies her music and likes the tempo changes. she's a little okay and wants to sing on the radio some day. i like to give her my support and have coffee with her. she's still partial to decaf. › i wanted to curl up with playboy mommy and i usually don't feel that way about girls. i like her new skin very much and how she can restrain herself even when she's baring everything. she's even beautiful on the outside. › Pandora's Aquarium stays at the end because she has some punctuality problems and it'll be awhile before she takes the stage in front of people. she's a strong girl though, verystrong and independent. › i want my own room at the choirgirl hotel and i encourage all of the other ears with feet to keep checking in, even if they are a little confused at first. tori knows these girls well and once again she is offering us so much. › just my thoughts, jason*one day a*happy phantom
May 7, 1998 - i got out of school and went directly to blockbuster music I saw the CD and it looked amazing...The cover was GREAT! I got the CD and put it on my portable Cd player. I always kinda "scan" new Cd's to identify those songs one instantly likes:
Spark: Amazing from the first time I heard it. Unlike most 'philes I enjoy the distortion its "different" I like different.
Cruel: Great song, i like the fact that you can move to it not dance but kinda move back and forth. Kinda repetitive but who cares! I liked it live the chanting of "Sufi" or something like that.
Black-Dove: I was not impressed with this one I knew it would grow on me...especially the chorus.
Raspberry Swirl: I did not like it when I first heard it and I thought that perhaps the rest of the album would be similar. After hearing it about three more times it has grown on me....Yeah when I am happy or in a great mood this song will be my anthem.
Jackie's Strength: I liked it from the beginning it was much like Tori's previous stuff.
iieee: Very COOL. I really liked it, again you can kinda get in a trance listening to this one, moving back and forth, I loved the beginning, i loved it all. kinda reminds me of latin beats much slower, cuban, some spanish stuff.
Liquid Diamonds: I did not like it at first now I can appreciate it much more, yep I like it.
She's your Cocaine: GREAT SONG! I liked it from beginning to finish, it was really awesome, different but still Tori...you can't expect Tori to remain the same forever she is changing and besides anything she does I love, remember Boys for Pele? So many people hated it, it was difficult but it took time to process it.
Nortthern Lad: Still kinda "amateur" especially the first two lines. "Had a northern lad, well not exactly had" it kinda sounds like stuff I would write! not horrible just not great either.
Hotel: Still processing it.
Playboy Mommy: I really liked it! Has that country thing going but subtle don't worry, great song.
Pandora's Aquarium: Awesome! I loved it, the Greek mythology is alive here. Jazzy. Pandora=Tori? Persephone, remember is the Queen of the Underworld (Queen of the DEAD) when she is with Hades.
I really like the New Album, much more than when I first heard Boys for Pele. When I heard BfP I felt so stupid, after a few months I loved it so much, it became a masterpiece, it was filled with emotion, anger, sadness, so much emotion. this album is about POWER, all this songs wield power and they are not without resources (Except Northern Lad) LOL
May 7, 1998 - anyway, i was reading some of the reviews on the dent, and i saw a lot of it 'will grow on me's and i wanted to say something. this new cd does have a very different sound for tori, but only in that there is less piano and more guitar and electronica. but i am curious as to exactly why people where suprised, because in several reviews that were linked to your page it is said that this would be her new sound. i also think that this is not evolution for tori, rather tori, with new voices added to her musical vocabulary. this is exactly how i imagined tori would sound if she played the guitar. i think that people are just suprised that the traditional tori has picked up a new tool to express her feelings. no one said anything about the harpsichord on 'boys for pele' when it didn't sound anything like the piano. the reason; because tori plays it the same way a piano would be played. unfortunately you can't play a guitar like a piano. but it still sounds like her. 'raspberry swirl' (which i keep seeing appearing as rasberry instead of raspberry) is the equivalent to 'professional widow', with a guitar replacing the voice of the harpsichord. so i don't see what the big deal is.
i don't think there is anything hinting that tori is de-evolving or become a public-pleasing make-music-for-the-populous artist. she just found a new way to say what she has been saying all along.
May 7, 1998 - What the hell went wrong?!? I don't like the new album! The other 3 Tori albums have really touched me from the first time I heard them until today. But "choirgirl" doesn't do it for me at all. I really don't understand why she had to change her ways. I like the girl and the piano thing (not the girl and the band thing)!!!!! This album is definitely her worst! I want the old Tori back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 7, 1998 - Besides writing this to encourage every Toriphile to PLEASE give the choirgirls a try (don't be afraid!), this is sort of gathering my opinions together so I can write a review of it for my school newspaper, which I shall post when it's published. First of all, I adore the album art. The art for all of her albums fit the songs so perfectly, like visual representations of the feel within them (at least for me). The BfP did this so well, I was afraid the new photographer wouldn't hold a candle to Cindy, but she holds her own quite well. The first time I saw the CHG cover, it struck me as being like an ancient cave painting; but it's so many other things, too. She's floating underwater. She floating in the air. She's pressed between the pages of a book, like a flower. And the map is so cuuuute! Anyway, on to the songs.
*Spark* know it. love it. next.
*Cruel* At first I didn't care much for the electronica on this song, but the quote of her bopping out the rhythm on her "excess fat" made me grin :). The "i can be cruel" chorus is very cool, and the "sh-sh=shock me sane" part gets me like a shot to the heart. The weird voice quaverings and layerings at the end are spooky.
*Black-Dove (January)* I can barely put my feelings about this one into words. The "other side of the galaxy" just floors me. I'm not myself anymore....I knew from the moment I read the lyrics to this months ago I would love it. And the "gotta get to TEXAS" part makes me feel all warm and squishy inside, because I live near Dallas. Yay! Play this song LOUDLY.
*Raspberry Swirl* I can't help it. I want to start breakdancing to this dorky little tune every time it comes up. Just imagine being dropped headfirst into a churning dancefloor, whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, it kinda looses steam near the end; I wish she could have kept the verse going.
*Jackie's Strength* This one's so lovely. It makes me feel nostalgic, even though I wasn't even a thought in my adolescent parents' minds when all the events surrounding Jackie happened! I have a feeling that the chorus (you said you were the real thing) is directed towards Mark...which is sweet, if I'm right. This song had probably the most literal lyrics in any Tori girl I've ever heard.
*i i e e e* Tori gets VICIOUS! Every time I hear this song I have a gut feeling it's directed towards God (the way she snarls JUST SAY YES), as though she's daring Him to say that this was all His fault. The ieeeeee chorus is hypnotic, like the "give me life, give me pain" line from Little Earthquakes. Aside from pure anger, she lets out a vulnerable wail at the "i know we're dying, and there's no sign of a parachute". One of my favorites.
*Liquid Diamonds* This girl kinda slips away from my conscious and into somewhere else; that's why I don't notice her much. But the line "and when your friends don't come back to you--you know this is madness" makes my heart hurt every time I hear it. There's stuff underlying this song that I'm not sure anyone could pin down.
*She's Your Cocaine* Probably has some of the best lyrics on the whole album, IMO. I can easily imagine Tori doint this with an evil nasty fun silly little grin ;). She rocks out and generally has a wild little time (i did!).
*Northern Lad* A sad, beautiful song. To me it sounds if Tori is turning her own page in life, to something....different. The line about the "but i feel something is wrong/but i feel this cake just isn't done" seems to be about her miscarriage (think "bun in the oven") and it makes me want to cry...I would die to hear this song sans drums.
*Hotel* Beth Winegartner (sp?) was right about Hotel--it does sound like some kind of spy movie. Some of the techno effects sound too much like that "life in Mono" song for my comfort, but overall a song that has growing potential. For some reason the "give me more" part makes me think of vampires. The nearly a capella ending is haunting, and the bizarre harmonium (or something) ending makes an already strage song even stranger. At first I thought it was part of Playboy Mommy!
--Neil alert-- I was very disappointed at first when I heard there wasn't a "neil" song on this album, but the allusion to velvets makes up for it. The velvets are called so because they wear very dark shades of velvet dresses, and are very pale. They aren't your typical vampires--they suck your warmth, not your blood. And they're very nice girls, too.
*Playboy Mommy* The way Tori talks about this song, I wish I could like it more. I really do. But it just doesn't strike any chords in me like the others do. Mommy is simply "ok". No big emotions for me. For the one song that is entirely about poor Tori's miscarriage, it misses the mark. That and the slide guitar annoys the hell out of me. Perhaps it's better live.
*Pandora's Aquarium* One of the things I adore most about Tori is that each of the last songs on each of her albums has an awesome, heart-wrenching significance. They bring the rest of the songs together. Not so for Pandora: it sort of goes with the feel of the album, that the order of the songs doesn't really matter. I have a feeling this girl is the one who has the weird fantasies in room 13. I do like this song, however; the "thoughts you thought you'd never tell" line chills me cold. It is very like Sister Named Desire; Tori stops to have a sandwich with Delirium.
May 7, 1998 - At first listen, I was in shock. I sat through the entire album with my jaw on the carpet. I knew it would be different, but I didn't expect this much of a difference!!! However, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I LOVE this album.
A lot of Toriphiles are complaining and crying over it. This really burns me. People who "disagree" with the changes that Tori has made in this album are obviously not mature enough to realize that as an artist, one needs to change once in a while. One needs to evolve. If every album was the same, you might as well be Mariah Carey or someone. If you REALLY think about it, all 3 of Tori's last albums were completely different from each other. So what's the big deal with this one? I not only desire change from my favorite artists --- I EXPECT it. How else are they ever going to evolve? How else are they ever going to grow? And after three years of just her and her piano (which, I admit, I will miss), I don't blame Tori whatsoever for wanting a change ---- now it's time to ROCK. And who can blame her?
"From the Choirgirl Hotel" is her most ambitious, courageous album to date. She really has courage to pull this off, considering the hardcore devotion of her fan base. And her bravery is one of the fantastic things that make Tori who she is.
The sound is great, the music is wonderful, the album kicks ass, and she still has the fabulously cryptic lyrics she's so well-known for.
So, come on, folks. What's the problem here?
This album is FANTASTIC.
May 7, 1998 - Well I've been a Tori Finatic for 3 years but I've also been many fanatics for over that. I have 250 C.D's and love them all. Choirgirl is going down in my 21 C.D collection of Tori C.Ds under the classic label. There are so many Artists I can relate this to, Bjork, Jewel, NIN, Paula Cole, Garbage, prodigy ect. But one thing they dont have in common is instead of bashfully touching the music like these artists, Tori Jumps right in. There is something for everyone on this album.
1) Spark a rather good song but I fear that the mic distortion will turn people off. A catch corus, GREAT video, and a very ordinary yet extrodinary structure. This song really picks up towards the middle.
2)Cruel This song has a rather haunting nature. Nice bass, and a very nice texture throughout. A very experemental song. This song is one you can listen too many times and pick up on different things throughout. I like this song, but don't love it.
3) Black- Dove(January) I this songs unexpected loops. A very powerful song expecially when it starts to pick up towards the end.
4) Rasberry Swirl I love this song! Its something that gives this C.D a spice flavor and makes each song a new adventure. A GREAT party song, this song is pure fun.
5) Jackies Strength The highlight of this album. I know I'm going to be listening to this one this summer on the radio. This song moves from beautiful, to breathtaking, to the most powerful thing you've ever heard from our godess.
6)iieee I like this song not for the song but because it simply has a original feel to it. another haunting one, I like listening to this one when I take a shower. A cool latin feel very tribal almost like the new Dave Mathews sound. But more free.
7)Liquid Diamonds This one is not my favorite cause it never seems to get anywhere. Though the lyrics and piano are wonderful the song never seems to peak. Its a very good song to just turn on when your on the phone cause there is no distractions and its quite nice when your not paying full attention to it.
8)She's Your Cocain I really love this song. I think this is a song tori has been trying to attempt for years but just now has learned how to rock it. Its not metal its just very rhythmic and one bitchin slap in the face. I can really groove to this one.
9) Norther Lad Another Highlight expecially if your a big Hey Jupiter fan like I. Her voice here going to the same range just with more power and stability. Makes you want to stand up and applaud.
10) Hotel WOW this to me is the track that really gave the album its undeffinability that makes it so cool. Its almost like Trent came in and helped her out. Her voice sounds like an electronic opra which is unbelievable. This song really takes you be suprised.
11)Playboy Mommy If you don't hear Jackies strength played in the ground then you'll deffinantly hear this one. Great Lyrics and bass and piano and rythym. Everything blends so beautifully. Even if the whole album bombed it would be worth buying just to hear this song. Its so personal and sad but the great thing about it is its groove. Truely uniqe.
12) Pandoras Aquarium This was the song I was most looking forward too on this album for the great title and poetry. Well I'll be honest the song starts out horrible but as it progresses it gets stronger. And then results in a nice little melody. I think she sould have swapped this one for cooling but thats just my opinion.
Well Overall a wonderful album and will deffinantly sell millions of copies. I can't wait so see what results out of this beautiful masterpiece.
May 7, 1998 - On the whole, I think it's a good album - sound songwriting and amazing vocals, and incredible lyrics. But it's good in a different sense from what Tori has done before, which in turn makes it a bit disappointing...the girl and her piano have all but disappeared. It's the kind of record that you can headbang to, but the piano's in the background and it's a lot more commercial.
Spark - The song I'm sure pretty much everyone has heard...metallic, hard-edged vocals over scratchy synthesizer, with an emphasized piano-driven bridge. The chorus is really catchy, and the lyrics are sometimes obscure and sometimes startlingly direct.
Cruel - My favorite song on the album...dark, tribal drums and a chainsaw-like sound make up the rhythm, with breathy vocals and echoing chorus. Has some Portishead-esque scratching towards the end, along with wailing and panting into the mike. Lyrics are very dark, in a subdued-viciousness kind of way.
Black-Dove (January) - I love the piano Tori plays in this song, it sounds almost like the upright in Bells For Her. The instrumental solos are fantastic. IMO, though, it would be much better if she'd toned down the super-loud chorus, which is kind of jolting.
Raspberry Swirl - This one is good, she manages to construct an ear-pleasing dance beat and melody while keeping the feel of the song somewhat dark rather than superficial. Ultra-sexy breathing into the mike ends the song.
Jackie's Strength - Beautiful, the girl and her piano persona comes through for this one. Soaring vocals and appropriate string arrangement make the song a real tearjerker.
iieee - Deep, resonating drums and keyboard, with a wail that resembles the sound "iieee" in the background. The chorus is amazing, drums meshing withTori's passionate question, "why does there gotta be a sacrifice?"
Liquid Diamonds - I didn't like this one at first, but after a few listens I started to love the intense, low chorus and the way Tori sustains the word "liquid". Percussion can be a bit loud at times, though.
She's Your Cocaine - I love this one! When Tori said it was "Amish funk" she wasn't lying. She angrily squawks out the vocals until the bridge, where the piano really comes out and she slows down the tempo. The guitar riffs are really catchy.
Northern Lad - Nice, evenly paced ballad. Piano is brought to the forefront throughout this song, and the vocals are very beautiful.
Hotel - Ugh, I hate this song. The constant tempo changes are terrible, Tori's vocals sound very shrieky, and the song seems to drag and drag and drag.
Playboy Mommy - A very sad song, wonderfully sung and written. The slide guitar truly fits the feel of the song, meshing perfectly with the piano and soft drums. Could almost appeal to country music fans...;)
Pandora's Aquarium - The beginning of this song is really weird and very un-Tori, kind of directionless, then the rhythm comes in and it becomes listenable again. Sort of bluesy, in a way...a good song to end the record with.
May 6, 1998 - I wanted to add my 2 cents on the new album. It seems like the Toriphile reviews are pretty mixed -- to loving it, liking some songs and not others, to being disappointed. I'm afraid I am having a hard time with the new cd, which upsets me because I very much wanted to love it. This album leads me to the realization that Tori's music has simply headed down a completely different channel that I can no longer get into. In her own process of growth, I'm afraid she is leaving me behind. (I never even came to embrace Boys for Pele the way I did her first two albums, which I loved.) The Choirgirl Hotel is so very different from anything else she has done and I really doubt I will even buy it. I'm deeply disappointed because I love Tori, I love reading about her views on things and her deep and mystical spirituality. She has been an inspiration to me. I do like some songs on the cd (the ballads such as Black Dove and Jackie's Strength) but it's not enough to entice me to shell out $14.00.
I miss Tori and her piano, I miss the intimate ballad types of songs. I still think she is immensely talented, but the style of the new cd has really let me down.
I'm sorry to say all of this, but that's just how I feel. It's difficult to admit to myself that I need to find someone else's music to worship. I feel sad.
Does anyone else feel this way?
May 6, 1998 - I would like to say that the entire album is exellent. I haven't taken the CD out of my player in the car since Monday. Everywhere I go I have been listening to it from beginng to end. My favorite song on the album has to be a tie between Raspberry Swirl and She your Cocaine. Also I think that Hotel has the best ending. Over all the album itself kicks ass!
May 6, 1998 - Very, very different album. She is moving on. The trilogy is definatley over. Bye, bye Cindy, bye, bye everything usaul. She needed to grow as an artisit and taking such risks is dangerous and tough, but if it isn't dangerous, whats the point? She had the strength to change. I'm sure she could pop out another 12 piano songs, but she shaped these songs and made them an intity of there own. Somebody has to keep music progressing. Would we really want another Little Earthquakes? I wouldn't, I already have that one. I think she made a good choice. Props to Tori. It took me a year to realize the story of Pele so I can't give an idea to this album yet. Maybe in a year.
May 6, 1998 - This album, if listened to, individually, sounds just like everything else, not any bit "different" to me.. but all put on the album, it does a bit, but not too much...
Spark- Heard it allready quite a few times before the album was out, the vocals are kinda like bells for her...
Cruel- trippyass backround... weird kinda like how happy worker was weird with the drumming.... the vocals are kinda "Little Earthquakes"ish (the song that is...)
Black-Dove- Piano here - Bells for her all the way... title "Black Swan"? hmm? love it.... I sang along the 3rd time I heard it, a rarity for me... then like waitress, it switches to her singing "On the other side of the galaxy"
Rasberry Swirl- This songs rad too, kickass sounding... reminds me of her cover of "Ring my bell"
Jackie's Strength- Pretty good year-ish vocals.. and strings just like a few of her other songs.. love this one too...
iiee- Bjorkish it seems.... this is one of my faves on the albums... the backround vocals kinda remind me of "the pool" if they were "unlayered?"
Liquid Diamonds- opening sounds like one of her songs off YKTR... those vocals, ohmygawd.. beautiful, there is a song from the 80's that sounds like this, sung by a guy tho, can't remember the name.... then it goes into her low voice thing, that reminds me of fiona.. but 20X's as intense....
She Your Cocaine- Cute tempo.. reminds me again of her "Ring my bell" cover...
Northen Land- The opening note HAS to be the same as her cover of "angie" and the vocals remind me of "A case of you".... then "don't say that you don't" reminds me of twinkle from BFP...
Hotel- YKTR's "Floating City" all the way!!! I love that song, so this ones awesome too....
Playboy Mommy- Am I the first to say this sounds a bit like Fiona Apples "shadow boxer"? Sounds a bit reministent of LE.... crucifyish
Pandora's Box- Opening piano, "Ode to the Banana King" hmm...? Again, like Liquid, it reminds me of that song from the 80's....
Anyways.. thats just my take and comparisons... to her older stuff.. just saying its not all new sounding... just look a bit closer. ;) The lyrics sound more like UtP and LE rather than BfP's more obscure refrences...
May 6, 1998 - Here's my review of From The Choirgirl Hotel for your Choirgirl Pages...
SPARK -- Ok, this is a song we're all familiar with by now. I absolutely love it. From the electric, moody intro to the opening verse -- it's incredible. "She's addicted to nicotine patches" has become a humorous little mantra for me! I love the lyrics to the song and how the chorus sounds like a lilting 70s rock ballad. The breakdown in the middle of the song somehow reminds me of the breakdown in "Tear In Your Hand" even though that might not be the best comparison.
CRUEL -- My first listen to this song made me think it was okay, but a second listen has me in love with it. I love the psychadelic swirling noises all the beginning of the track as well as all of the interesting beats and percussion. She sounds very moody as she sings (kind of like the "big, fat cigar" line in "Leather"). It's a great track!
BLACK-DOVE (JANUARY) -- I like the somber, muffled piano at the beginning -- it makes me think of "Bells For Her." I've heard a couple live recordings of this so my listening evolution for this track is a bit ahead of the others but what can I say? -- I love it. I love the breakdown where she sings passionately "But I have to get to Texas" (it shows Tori's will to live and it kind of reminds me of "I haven't seen Barbados so I must get out of this").
RASPBERRY SWIRL -- A definite club-inspired number that calls to mind "Blue Skies" and the dance remixes of "Professional Widow." You can hear the Bosey in the background, but it's the beats that keep this song alive.
JACKIE'S STRENGTH -- A really beautiful piano-and-orchestra ballad that has the most in common with Tori's earlier work yet with another dimension. The vocals are far less pronounced than much of Tori's recordings. The orchestra calls to mind "Marianne" and this is one of those songs that you just have to love!
IIEEE -- This one I really adore! It's got such an intoxicating rhythm and the chants of "iieee" in the background are mesmerizing! :) I love how whenever she sings "With your E's and your ease and I'll do one more" the music comes to a complete stop and then works around her. She gets very passionate with her vocals in this track and I love how at the "little arsonist" part, a series of brutal, raging electric guitars kick in that add a metallic flavor to this already-kickin' track!
LIQUID DIAMONDS -- If there's one song on this album that I haven't truly come to appreciate -- this is the one! The fade-in beginning really reminds me of Bjork's live recording of "There's More To Life Than This" from her album DEBUT. The opening hooks are strange synths and groovy kick-back music. The music is lilting and free-floating.
SHE'S YOUR COCAINE -- I love this song! Tori's sultry vocals might remind you of Y Kant Tori Read when you hear this! As far as HOW she sings, it definitely reminds me of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. There's this cool, uncompromising attitude to this track. I love the lyrics! :)
NORTHERN LAD -- A beautiful, somber piano ballad. Somehow I can see Tori playing this in her early years playing in DC piano bars. I love when she goes off the hook and sings "But I feel something's wrong" and my favorite part is the catchy refrain "If only you could see me now."
HOTEL -- This one may take a few listens to fall in love with. The opening synths are mesmerizing and the delicious refrain of "Met 'em in a hotel / Met 'em in a hotel" puts a smile on my face. Then, suddenly the song bursts into energetic techno. By the end, it winds down to just Tori and her piano and then finally just some swanky chords on the organ.
PLAYBOY MOMMY -- This is undoubtedly one of my favorite Tori songs ever. It's so moving! The instrument at the beginning (some kind of horn) sounds like a ghost crying! It's so sad and it immediately makes me depressed. "I'll say it loud here by your grave / Those angels can't ever take my place" Tori sings sadly to the lost spirit. The most moving part is when she sings "Gloria" and "Hosanah" with breathy background vocals that make me think of a choir of angels singing!
PANDORA'S AQUARIUM -- A very sultry, jazzy number that makes me think of downtown blues bars. The opening bangings on the piano call to mind Tori's intros on the Dew Drop Inn tour just before playing "Beauty Queen" and "Horses." The music has a seductive little sway to it that calls to mind fragments of "Samurai," "Sister Named Desire" and even the hilarious "Til The Chicken."
May 6, 1998 - Finally, the album is here, and you can be sure that I was at the record as soon as possible. I was so excited, and the the photographs throughout the lyric book are so cool. Well, on to my review of this album.
Spark - I think that this is a great track. I am glad that this is her first single. The lyrics are very, very moving. As with all of her songs, Tori is being extremely frank with very personal experiences. This song seems like a big catharsis for her, and I love it.
Cruel - This was an instant hit with me. The marimba and the very subdued lyrics make this a great song to listen to. This could almost be my favorite song to listen to just because of the vocal curves that she throws..."cock-cock-cock you mane." and "sh-sh-sh-shock me sane." Great song. What else can I say?
Black Dove(January) - This one took a few listens to finally get through to me. The song introduction is very haunting. The song seems a little disjointed, but it reveals its full splendor when she breaks into "the other side of the galaxy." The power in this song is quite amazing.
Raspberry Swirl - From all the buzz about this song, I thought that Tori was going to be having an orgasm during the song. This is not the case at all. This is a good song. It is a definite departure from what we have come to expect from Tori, but that is what get for trying to predict anything that comes from her creative genius. I think that it is about a woman taking matters into her own hands and doing a man's job. Cool song.
Jackie's Strength - There really is not much to say about this track. It speaks for itself in its beauty. It says a lot, and there is really nothing that I can add. Beautiful. Powerful. Moving.
iieee - This one is going to take a while. I remember that Not the Red Baron took me about 7 months to finally appreciate. Some of Tori's songs take a while to reveal their beauty, and I think that this is one of them. My gift to this song is patience and understanding.
Liquid Diamonds - Tori's voice throughout this song is incredible. The lyrics are very powerful as well. This is a strong song. The synthetic elements and the echoes give it a really spacy feel. I like it for its unique feel. I am glad that it is long because it has a lot to offer.
She's Your Cocaine - I like the lyrics, but the song is hard for me to enjoy so far. I will give it time.
Northern Lad - Great song. It is the closest thing to a love song. Of course is about lost love, but love nonetheless. This song has a great feeling. It has my favorite lyric of the entire album. "He moved like the sunset/God, who painted that-" This is my third favorite song on the album. Another perfect example of great Tori emotion.
Hotel - I read many of the reviews of this album, and most were not very complimentary regarding this track. Hotel appealed to me almost instantly. It has the feeling of Space Dog with all the tempo changes and weird angst. This is my second favorite song on the album. There is a degree of jest and seriousness to this song, and it seems to be an odd juxtaposition. I think I like this song because it is a contradiction.
Playboy Mommy - Favorite song. This is a very, very moving, sad song. It says so much in its three minutes of playing time. Its seems like the salve that she may have used on her own wounds. Powerful. Nothing more to say.
Pandora's Aquarium - This is a cool song, and we get to hear a bit of the that piano that she plays so well. It is a good ending to the album. It ties everything up into a perfect, raggedy, pink bow that makes it a Tori album.
I have read a lot of people who seem turned off by the "new" Tori. I think that this album is definitely a departure from her previous three albums, but each of those are very distinct as well. This is just the next step in the progression of her artistry, and I am very happy to follow her. This album does not disappoint, but you have to be open to new things. Personally, I love it. It has a completely unique and different feel just as all of her previous albums have. Each one exudes real emotion which we can all relate to, and that is what makes her so special. Bravo Tori.
May 6, 1998 - I've had this album for quite some time now... I've listened to it I think...sheesh, a million times? I had it in relatively early-mid april... here is my review...
Spark is a very stirring song... after a million times of hearing it though (it's being killed on the radio down here), it's like "ooookayyy...." so I'll talk symbolically... she's talking about the baby... being afraid of a light in the dark, not wanting to come out to the world... I could be wrong, but this makes me think of my own birth... he addiction to niccotine patches part makes me think perhaps addiction runs in the family... and there could be two meanings for 6:58 are you sure where my spark is... she could be asking for a lighter... or she could be looking for her spark - the personality, the perkiness, etc she always has...and the baby is telling her 'it's right here, can't you see that!?"...that's what I see the song as...
Please guys, no more comparisons to Fiona Apple...Tori is not whining and having a pouty lip fest... personally, if you ask me... I think this song is to a friend of hers who recently got married... I think this song ... could be devoted to Rantz... he wasn't thanked in this album (I don't think)...and he just got married and he's been... seemingly lost about on the internet for quite some time... he was her best friend as many of you know... er...he says best friend... I think this song could be like "okay...so now you've got a wife... you're showing her around to everyone we knew..." and she got angry, perhaps jealous at the time... of wanting to be a wife, etc... so she got cruel... this is what I see, this is hypothesy here...
3. Black-Dove (January)
You can kill me if you like, but this song is perhaps... the least grounded of all the songs on this album... I feel no ground beneath the feet of this dove... because it's in flight? perhaps... The beginning sounds like Bells For Her with... an enhanced sound... I'll play with my keyboard and see what I can do... ummm.... her vocals in this song, to me... were very weak on the "but I have to get to Texas" part... I feel it sounds like there is more enhancement of her voice than there is actual loud singing on that part... when she sings "on the other side of the galaxy", she does a wonderful job... but during the rest she sounds so unsure... perhaps like she was writing this as she went along... like some other songs she's done...
4. Raspberry Swirl
This actually isn't that big a change from her old stuff if you think about what you're getting... it's just painted with a new sonic palette... I think this is her view of saying "I can be more of a man than you and more of a woman than you can get"... it sounds almost playful in this manner... it also has another double meaning... raspberry swirl as the cheesecake or raspberry swirl as the... female genitalea in a state of orgasssshhhmmm... evil word, no?;) ... the beat pumps very sexually... the vocals layer into ... kinda like a raspberry swirl cheesecake... the beats are heavy and thick... her voice in the background is wispy, thin... beautiful in a sexy way, weaving through the tunnels in the cheesecake...
5. Jackie's Strength
This song is gorgeous... it truly reminds me of reliving out the event of the assasination... kinda like the mother's reaction and the child's growing up having wanted to be like Jackie... only to see her life fall apart, but she stayed strong... love really is black magic
6. i i e e e
This song uses a disjointed feel to come to a realization... it has the layered vocals bass, etc saying "iieee, iieee" and she's pronouncing it properly, etc... I forgot what that word means, but it is a call that has a meaning... it sounds like... back when she was recording Pele...screaming in a cathedral... she wanted things to be beautiful, but it's not how she felt and not how things came out... like they didn't come out how she wants them to... also, this look a lot like the falling out of her and Eric Rosse...
7. Liquid Diamonds
Liquid Diamonds sounds like it's under a sheet of ice... with chunks of ice floating by... liquid diamonds... either that or it reminds me of becoming a hard person through experience... making choices...bends in the roads, getting forgiven, etc... not getting hard on the outside, but getting hard on the inside...learning not to take things personally, letting your blood turn into a liquid form of the hardest substance known to man...diamonds...
8. She's Your Cocaine
I think this is blatantly the way she feels about the man that is obsessed with her... aside from the control, controlling, the way she makes you crawl part... I think she let out some old rock influence...As someone else said...LED ZEPPELIN all the way...
9. Northern lad
This song makes me think of how she had a boyfriend... and wanted to stay friend...perhaps take another shot at it with him, but he's gone... and she realized, she was only getting wet because of the rain - being left outside and not having the warmth of companionship... Can we say Eric?
Perhaps this is the song about that hotel she so intensely disliked... This also sounds like it could be about someone she met and misses... wants to get some more of... the end makes me think of leaving the hotel on the highway...
11. Playboy Mommy
We all know about this song and what it's about, I should shut up about it... this is Tori's coping...
12. Pandora's Aquarium
This song... she lives in a river or an aquarium... letting all the bad things out and wondering how she got there... 'line me up in single file with all your grievances'... perhaps Tori is saying "I can be bad... why don't you just put me in line like all your other problems?"... the way she sings Pandora is almost mocking... I can see her shaking her head and talking to Pandora...or looking at Pandora's Box... I seriously think...the aquarium was Pandora's Box... she could see what she was opening...
I, personally, love every song on this album... and see it as some of her most incredible work to date...
May 6, 1998 - I have had the chance to listen to the new CD about 4 times (3 times for some songs). As someone who has kinda seen Tori go from what she was in '92 to what she is in '98, I have come to the conclusion that the older fans will have the biggest problem adjusting to this CD. In a way, I know this may sound silly, I feel that I bought a CD-5 with "Spark", "Black Dove", "Jackie's Strength", "Northern Lad", and "Playboy Mommy". The rest just seem to be there as rafters holding the jewels in place. Although I know for a fact that "Cruel", "iiiee", "She's Your Cocaine", "Liquid Diamonds" and "Pandora's Aquarium" will grow on me, Tori has completely turned me upside down (no pun) with "Raspberry Swirl" and "Hotel".... I see the merit these girls WOULD have had if they had been left alone.... no techno... no distortion...
I understand that Tori must move on muscially, but on the other hand it's like biting the hand that feeds you. I feel she had a good thing going, the girl and the piano thing. I'm probably doing the same thing MANY of you are doing: forcing myself to like it. Because it's Tori. LETTING it grow on me, knowing good and well if "Raspberry Swirl" or "Hotel" came from someone else, they would simply be skipped tracks on a CD.
We've lost something. We've gained something. I'm still trying to even things out. =o)
May 6, 1998 - as per request: I have listened to the album several times, and now offer these humble comments:
Spark: still hard to get out of my head, but there is a lot more to listen on this album, so it hasn't been a case of not playing anything else (like it can be with some new albums (not Tori's, of course.))
Cruel: It's groovy, the beginning is a great intro to the album, as Spark almost acts as a cameo (since you've most likely heard it before you buy the album.) They were playing this in the store as I walked in to purchase the album. I must say, it made for great shopping atmosphere. Probably the best song on the album for that.
Black Dove (January): The weakest song on the album, in my opinion. The lyrics are Toricliche... the piece works, musically, but not overly impressed. It was much much better live, but I know this will grow on me, they all do.
Raspberry Swirl: different. I like what she's doing, I think we'll se more along these lines in the future.
Jackie's Strength: mmmm. love it, and everyone knows why... pentultimate Tori.
iieee: yeah, I can dig it... not really too much of a departure from her usual commentary on religion. Ready for someone to clue me in on the "E" thing.
Liquid Diamonds: Very interesting. She's reaching in on this one, trying to get back to defining woman for women. Good piece.
She's Your Cocaine: The highlight for me. Not the best song, but good damn it rocks! I can not sit still when this song comes on. Blew me away live (of course.)
Northern Lad: My favorite. Very moving. I can't even really talk about it... I love "god who painted that"
Hotel: um. I guess I kind of expected it. It's not bad, but she has a way to go to pull this techno (NINish) stuff off. The "give me more" is beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I do jam this song, but I'm postitive she'll improve on the next album.
Playboy Mommy: This one has been a slow grower on me... I think because it was hitting so close to home. I guess that explains it all. Chilling.
Pandora's Aquarium: I don't have a lot to say on this one at the moment, it hasn't totally left an impression... I do like it, but I'm not sure how much... it belongs on the end of the album more than any other song, though.
May 6, 1998 -Track by track review of Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel.
From the Choirgirl Hotel, Myra Ellen Amos fourth album (not counting Y Kant Tori Read) is a beautiful sometimes stunning album with one big doubtful point..... Although personally I like the album very much, some of the tracks might be a bit hard to swallow for the avid Tori Phile.
A very nice song, which starts of very subtle, gets a bit rougher in the middle and ends very subtle again. Unlike previous Tori songs it sounds much more like a band thing. The break from the "easy" part to the more up-tempo bit has a very betalesque feel about it. The lyrics are with out a doubt about Tori herself,(especially about her miscarriage) and are far less ambiguous than on the Boys for Pele album. Over All: 8
Cruel is a very good example of the "new" Tori sound. A lot of distortion, lots of synthesizers and a hunting drum beat. There are even hints of "Trip Hop" here but don't be afraid it doesn't sound anything like for example Portishead. The lyrics are full of brilliant one-liners, and again the lyrics are much clearer in meaning than on previous Tori Albums. Over All: 8
3. Black Dove
This track returns us to the more familiar Tori sound. A simple piano, ambiguous lyrics which leave you guessing to the meaning. Over All: 7,5
4. Raspberry Swirl
Strap to your seats, be ready for a big departure here. No need for a DJ like Arman van Helden here. This is a straight out dance track. But, Tori doesn't restrict herself to one dancestyle, there are hints of techno, bigbeat and straightforward popmusic. I wouldn't be surprised if this would end up as single as well. Personally this is one of my favourites. Over All: 9 (for avid more mondaine Tori philes, this could be the least favourite track though)
5. Jackie's Strength
And we are again back in the more normal Tori Amos territory. This is a very nice ode to Jackie Kennedy. Musically, it sounds like it could have been on Little Earthquakes. One thing which began to strike me on the album, is again the fact that Toris lyrics have become much easier to interpret. Over All: 9
Weird songtitle eh ? Well the song it self isn't that weird, but not one of my favourites. Not that there is anything wrong with it, in my opinion it's quite simply not a very interesting, and dare I say a bit boring. Over All: 6,5
7. Liquid Diamonds
This song is a trip to the new Tori grounds again. Starting with a fade in, some drum-rhythms, it soon is followed by a piano. It runs very calmly, it lacks a basic strong structure, but that isn't necesarrily a bad thing. The only thing bad which I can say about this track that it is a bit long. Over All: 7,5
8. She's your Cocaine:
Your trip to the new Tori continues. Take a spoon of the Beatles' "Come together" and "Helter Skelter" and put in Tori and wham a very up-tempo almost rocklike song, with a very Torisque break in the middle. One of the reasons I compared this song with "Helter Skelter" is that like Ringo shouted "I've Got blisters on my fingers!" on that song, Tori can be heard saying "Cut it again!" at the end. Over All: 9
9. Northern Lad
And we arrive with the more well known Tori Amos. Bosie, Tori, brilliant lyrics, a great song. But you can forget about hearing only the piano, a band is now completely integrated with Tori Amos her work. Over All: 9
Weird little number, this is. Did I mention trip hop influences yet ? This song is full of it. This is without a doubt the weirdest song on the album. Hectic Tori becomes calm Tori and turns back to hectic Tori again. The end of the song reminds me of Mr. Zebra on boys for Pele..., just to show you the weird structure of this track. My guess is she could well use this song to kick off her "Plugged" shows. A great song in my opinion, but definitively not to everyones taste. Over All: 8
11. Playboy Mummy
Can you guess what this song is about? Well yes is about Toris miscarriage. It is a very personal song. The structure of the song is very basic and simple, which makes it all the more effective. It is not a sad song though, but then again it's not happy song either. It has a sort of melancholy about, it which is great. Like on other songs this sounds more like a band song, than a pure solo piece. Over All: 9
12. Pandora's Aquarium
The album ends with an almost oldfashioned Tori song. At the start just Tori with her Bosi.. it slowly turns into a band song again. This song can be seen as a sort of mixture between the old and the new Tori. Over All: 8
Over All impression:
A great album, but like I said, some of the tracks might not be to everyones taste. Two things truly struck me about this album. Firstly, Toris lyrics have become much clearer to understand and secondly Tori has produced a more of a bandlike album.
Over All: 8.5
(one of the best albums of 1998, but would you except otherwise from a Tori-Phile :-))
(ratings on a scale from 1-10)
May 6, 1998 - A very strong effort. Probably Tori's best album and certainly, as with all her albums, gets better with repeated listenings. There is so for one's ears to chew on.
"Playboy Mommy" - I came away from the D.C. concert very impressed by this song and it is the best song on the CD. I read one review on this page stating that Tori could have put more effort into this song. Wrong. It's simplicity is very much part of it's beauty. And I don't easily throw out compliments to songs with a pedal steel. This is not only a classic Tori Amos song, but a classic song, period.
"Raspberry Swirl" - I'm surprised I enjoy a song like this so much. Could be a hit in the clubs (says a guy who can't dance.)
"She's Your Cocaine" - Very fun. Rocks even more in concert. Reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin "Trampled Under Foot"
As for the rest of the CD, there is one song I am not sure I like but I did like it better on the 3rd listen than I did on the first. And all but that one (why name names?) are quite enjoyable but I must listen many more times to render further judgement. It shall be a pleasure to get to know thes girls.
May 6, 1998 - I just thought I'd send you and other Toriphiles my thoughts on "From the Choirgirl Hotel", going in order of track listing. I think that the song "spark" is pretty good, although a bit mediocre. I feel the same way about it that I did about "Caught a Lite Sneeze." Its just allright, ya know? I really like "Cruel", especially the funny vocals she does at the begining where she sounds French and then Cuban or something. I think the song is very sexy and groovy. One of my other favorites is "Black Dove(January)." I think its a very beautiful, powerful song especially when the band comes in at "On the other side of the galaxy..." I don't mind Rasberry Swirl, although some other Toriphiles seem to think its crap. I like the lines "Things are getting desperate...when boys can't be men" It definately has a dancier feel but I love it! I don't care much for "Jackie's Strenth", though. I think its boring and dull. Its does'nt move me at all. I don't like "iieee" either. I think the song is a mess; its all over the place. Its all rythym and no substance. "Liquid Diamonds" might be my favorite. Its a sweeping ballad with a beautiful melody and lots of emotion. "She's your cocaine" is horrible! Probably the worst some Tori has ever done. Its really lame, especially when she says "Cut it again" at the end. its like she's trying to rip off dumb band. I try to ignore this song as much as possible! Northern Lad is a bit disappointing. I like the lyrics, but the music falls short. Its bland. "hotel" is really groovy and has a futuritic sound. I especially like the chorus "you were wild-where are you now?" There lots of bridges in this song, like in "Little Earthquakes" but Tori is able to hold it all together, and it works. "Playboy mommy" is a bit dull, as well, like some of the other ballads on this album. It just doesn't do anything for me. "Pandora's Aquarium" is kind of wierd, but I like it. She does cool effects with her voice so that she sounds like she's underwater. She almost sounds like a dolphin, if that makes any sense!
Well, overall, I think the new album is decent. There's some real crap songs, but the really good ones make up for it. I think whenever a new Tori album comes out, I expect it be like "LE" or "UtP" and its just not gonna happen. I miss the insights and memorable lines on those albums as well as the raw emotion and honesty of her "diary" format. But change is good as well, and I don't mind the dancier grooves of her new stuff. I think the album will grow on me!
May 6, 1998 - i wanted to say a few things about her new album. i was at a local record store on monday nite just ready to snatch the album up. and i have to say it is just amazing. the album takes you on a journey, b/c each song is so different from the others but they all hang out together so well. i am just so happy that tori has been able to grow as an artist, some people in line i talked to were upset that its not the same tori, but they are so mistaken. she is such a different person now since her last album and you can see that change on this album. i've been waiting for the time when she would work w/ a band and she has and hasn't disappointed me. her style has evolved over each album and i definitely like the way in which she is growing, so many artists try and stick to what has worked in the past, but tori won't do that and i am so grateful that she continues to press the envelope. i can't say what my favorite song on the album is b/c they seem to go in groups or pairs. but if i had to pick a few they would be "black dove"- b/c that song is just amazing live, and it continuely builds and softens. "northern lad"- b/c it retains the style of tori past and integrates it w/her new venture w/ the band. "she's your cocaine"- that song just rocks.
May 6, 1998 - i really like the album, i think an era is over, and my dear toriphile friend Emily pointed out that she had mentioned molasses twice, in Northern Lad saying "I thought we'd be ok me and my molasses, but i feel something is wrong, but i feel the cake isn't gone." and in Liquid Diamonds she says, "I hear she grants forgiveness, although i willingly forgot her, the offering is molasses, and you say i guess i'm an underwater thing." We think that the era of honey is over, and it feels like molasses is the replacement, and it could be a good thing.
My favorite songs are Jackie's Strength, and She's your cocaine, they are brand new Tori classics!
I really like the album, even though Boys for Pele was my favorite, but this one is still really great, and individual.
May 6, 1998 - I do not know what to say. I'm in awe. I love "from the choirgirl hotel" so much. It's just incredible. Of course it's in a different league from the previous three record. But you can tell Tori had a blast making this record, you really can. Here are my opinions on the songs. I love every song on here especially "Cruel," "Black Dove," "Jackie's Strength," "iieee," "Playboy Mommy," and "Northern Lad." The rest are all excellent as well, although I do not care for "Liquid Diamonds" as much as I hoped I would. The artwork is really nice too, although I must admit that I miss Cindy's work. I also noticed that Tori's "Thank You's" weren't as intimate as they previously were and I wonder why. Although it's not important, it's just something that sticks to the brain. Heh, anyway, this is a great record and I'm happy with this whole "band based" Tori. I can't wait to see her on the Plugged tour.
May 6, 1998 - I just got the cd today, and WOW- is it ever different - and excellent!
I know some die-hard fans will be taken back by the Sonic Tori, and judging from some other reviews, I know others will not instantly like "from the choirgirl hotel". But I liked it instantly, so if you'll indulge me, I'll tell you why.
I love Spark; both the lyrics and the sound & rhythm of it. This song has personal meaning for me, so I particularly like it. I like the lyrics to Playboy Mommy; it sounds wistful and twangy - I love the guitar work. Black-Dove (January) sounds lush but strong; again the lyrics really appeal to me (I had a miscarriage last September, so all the references to losing the baby really choke me up)
Rasberry Swirl; I kinda like it. It gives me really good reason to dance to Tori! I love She's Your Cocaine, too - these two songs are really a "trip"! OK, so maybe Rasberry Swirrel sounds a teensy-weensy bit Y Kant Tori Read - but I like Tori when she goes "Pop" every now and then!
I like the sound of Liquid Diamonds and Pandora's Aquarium; both have kind of a smoky, cabaret feel. Someone mentioned a comparison to Roxy Music, but I think it reminds me of Tom Waits (without the Camels Unfiltered-ravaged voice) Liquid Diamond, Pandora's Aquarium and Playboy Mama are songs I'd like to hear live and in the moment...
I like Northern Lad and Jackie's Strength - very lush, very Tori; not a departure from her earlier music. I'd like to mention that even with her sonic departure and experiments, I still think its very Tori, and a Toriphile familiar with her music and style will quickly note this. The songs are strong and very layered as far as instrumention, but Tori still stands out. I think her musicians accompany her very, very well. I certainly can understand the need to be creative and experimental after loosing something precious - all I can say is I simply love Tori and love from the choirgirl hotel, and I thank her from the bottom of my still grieving heart for making this cd, which makes me dance and cry all in one listening!
May 6, 1998 - the album is totally weird, but cool. sounds very much like YKTR, but a little more modernized
my fave songs are cruel, iieee and liquid diamonds some songs that could've been spared are She's Your Cocaine and Rasberry Swirl(totally for dorky top 40 freaks) She's Your Cocaine is very hard rock, not at all like Tori, more commercial Northern Lad is a cool song, sounds very much like old Tori, with a twist
I can't believe Boys For Pele is out and now we have something new to listen to. I was really likeing the harpsichord, too bad it took a vacation for this album
overall the new album is good, very much like Madonna's new stuff meets old Tori meets NIN meets YKTR
the stuff to really get your hands on and ears are the b-sides they are totally amazing
Do It Again is the best, very heavy beat
Purple People is pretty good, sounds very 40's/50's would have fit on the "Swinger's" soundtrack
Bachlorette is great gets in your head
May 6, 1998 - Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Unbelievable. (In the words of Kate Bush.)
I was more prepared for this than for BFP, having heard Spark on the net and radio, as well as other tracks on the JAMtv netcast last week. Nonetheless, there is no way that you can capture the dynamic range of this material unless you have the CD (or actually hear it performed live, of course! You lucky devil.) I must say that I wasn't entirely sure about "Spark" when I'd heard it before, but it is really very good. And "Cruel" just BIT MY ASS. "Raspberry Swirl," which I heard last week, actually gave me chills on this listen. Many of the quieter pieces seem to be really good, but I just haven't had time yet to let them infuse into my consciousness. What makes this especially difficult is that I am at the office listening, and I really think that this album needs to be *blasted* at least once to be really heard properly. For instance, I really want to hear "She's Your Cocaine" at high decibel.
Anyhow, that's an early impression. The only potential bad news is, I *don't* hate this album. (Which, as you know, I take as an indication that I will eventually *love* an album.) But I think that's because I was way too prepared for it. I need to be much more off-guard to get that kind of reaction. This may indeed be as good or better than BFP (previously, Tori's best album IMHO), but I cannot make a fair comparison yet. I think I will love this album more and more over time.
May 6, 1998 - well, i got the album today (about an hour ago) along with a promotional lyric book and flat. let me just say... breathtaking. i'm so thrilled that tori is exploring new sounds and instruments because it is just so beautiful. i never thought she could possibly make her sound any better, but she's done it with this album. there aren't a lot of artists out there who can try new boundaries like she has, without sounding trendy and selling out. this is definitely a breakthrough for her and i'm thoroughly enjoying it!! my favourites on this album are "jackie's strength" and "northern lad" (i'm still a sucker for those emotional songs). i have nothing but good things to say about this... tori just keeps on getting better and better!
May 6, 1998 - I just got the new album and I noticed Tori thanking Neil and "the velvets". Hmm... another Neil reference? Again in "Hotel" she mentions velvets, repeating the phrase "Where are the velvets when you're coming down?" or something like that. You might already have realized this or received a barrage of emails cluing you in, but this is an allusion to Neil's book NEVERWHERE. The velvets are these vampires who lurk below London during the day and prey on humans at night. Just thought I'd point out the new Neil reference.
May 6, 1998 - 1)Spark - is Spark. One of the best tracks on the album, without a doubt. I don't think I need to talk about it.
2)Cruel. This reminds me of "Sleep To Dream" by Fiona Apple in a couple of ways - apart from the backbeat, some of the lyrics also have a similar feel to them. This is certainly one of the songs that I keep coming back to, and think I'll continue to. If any song could be said to have a "catchy" chorus, then I think this one is it. Although I can't quite figure the lyrics (haven't researched them yet) - it sounds to me like "perfectly windy sky"? But it's probably not . Whatever, this is a favourite of mine. Nice harmonies, good song. If I was choosing a single, this would be in my Top 5.
3)Black Dove (January). Originally, I wasn't keen on this. It was erm... well, it meandered. But I'm wrong on that, it's an excellent piece, especially when it really kicks in, on the "have to get to Texas" pieces, and the repeated "by the woods" part. It's a song that grows on you. It's not quite as immediate as some songs.
4)Raspberry Swirl. A real change of direction for Tori. Incredible stereo effect at the beginning (so get the headphones out, guys..) is this song about orgasm? Because with Tori's panting at the end, and the line "boy you better make her raspberry swirl", along with the very intense, panting rhythm throughout, I'd venture that it is.
5)Jackie's Strength. Brilliant. The 3rd best track on the album for me. This is traditional Tori, and has a wonderful feel about it. I can't get enough of it.
6)Iieee. This one is a slow grower, for me, I only really started liking this after about 2 weeks of listening to the album on a regular basis. The final line, "gotta be a sacrifice" is the highlight for me. Possibly a comment on drug culture (all the "E" references?) But that's only a guess.
7)Liquid Diamonds. I'm sorry, but I don't like this song. I never have, perhaps it will grow on me, but right now, it just seems like it meanders around a blues rhythm and never actually achieves anything. But on the other hand, I can't figure the lyrics.
8)She's Your Cocaine. An interesting sound, certainly, but not one of my favourites on the album. Sounds better live (IMHO). The "do it again" line is nicely placed, but I don't really have anything to say about it.
9)Northern Lad. My 2nd favourite on the album. This is incredible, gives me goosebumps every time I hear her whisper "It gets so fucking cold.." (not, as the lyric sheet states, "it's gets so fucking cold") - a simple, beautiful song, with a gorgeous backbeat mid-way. Just makes me shiver. Unsurpassed.
10)Hotel. No comment. I can't make my mind up about this at all - it just has very little impact on me.
11)Playboy Mommny. My absolute favourite, and up there with anything Tori has done previously. Incredibly powerful lyrics and images, tender, sweet, sad, perfect.
12)Pandora's Aquarium. It ends the album well, but I can't help feeling that it would have been better finishing with PM.
Just my initial thoughts.
May 6, 1998 - I'm going to give my review of the album, song by song.
Spark: I think enough has already been said about this song. I'm having a hard time integrating it with the rest of the album because I've already listened to it on the two-part UK singles so many times.
Cruel: I really like this song. It's got a great groove and the lyrics are wonderful. The beginning kind of reminded me of YKTR, but only for a split second.
Black-Dove(January): This song made me cry. I'm not sure why, but it did. I kept picturing myself in that scary house by the woods. I also felt like the Mallett piano at the beginning sounded so beautiful, like it was transporting you to another time.
Raspberry Swirl: I know what I'm going to play when I want to break it down--this song! Very groovin'! Some of the lyrics were difficult to hear, which is something I'm gonna have to work on if I'm going to know this album by heart by Friday:) As for the end, I was expecting Tori to sound like a cast member from Boogie Nights from the way people were making it sound, but I didn't think the heavy breathing was anything that Tori doesn't do already anyway.
Jackie's Strength: I think this is my favorite song on the album. I cried on this one, too. Damn can Tori write something that can just touch your soul! I love the Sinfonia on this one; Tori is really able to make the orchestra her own. I can see why she calls this girl the centerpiece of the record.
iieee: This is a great song with a really great beat. I love the lip gloss lyric. Tori better watch out; she's going to be the lip gloss poster girl soon:) I love it when she talks about screaming in cathedrals. This is a girl with an attitude.
Liquid Diamonds: When I first heard this, it didn't really hit any spot in me. It didn't stand out like the others. So, I listened to it a few more times and I'm okay now. I almost feel like a traitor or something when I don't immediately fall in love with a new Tori song, but I've repented now, so it's okay. I love the bluesy feel to this song and how it kind of makes your hips sway. I do like this tune now.
She's Your Cocaine: Two words--Led Zeppelin. That's the first thing that I thought of when I heard this. I do believe Tori is doing her ode to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page her with this song, especially at the end with all the Uh-Uhs and such. She sounds like Robert's female counterpart. GO TORI!!
Northern Lad: Great ballad. More of a bluesy/jazzy rhythm here than in Jackie. Quite beautiful and sad. Sounds like a song to listen to when you've just broken up with someone and just want to be sad and alone. It almost seems like this girl has had a few margaritas with Hey Jupiter.
Hotel: I think this is the most techno-style song on the record and I was a little worried when I first heard it. But, it's grown on me and I really like it now. I especially love the end when Tori's just kind of being cute on the Kurzweil(I think that's what's she's playing) with those last few little notes. Definite remix potential here. Also, Tori sounds like she just might be performing opera as entertainment in the Choirgirl Hotel (give me more!).
Playboy Mommy: Okay, I've gone through a half a box of Kleenex today listening to this record. I LOVE this song, even though it makes me really sad. What a song to have come out so close to Mother's Day. I was thinking about that and how this probably would have been Tori's first Mother's Day with her baby and I cried even harder. My heart just breaks for her.
Pandora's Aquarium: I'm calling this the underdog of the record. We didn't hear a whole lot about it and yet, I think it's one of the best tracks. The lyrics are wonderful and Tori's voice is splendid. This is a very jazzy song and has a great kind of sway-your-hips beat. Love it!
Well, I'm almost done. I just have a couple comments about the liner notes and artwork. First, I was really excited to see Kevyn Aucoin's name as one of the "Team." As someone that considers herself a makeup artist of sorts, Kevyn Aucoin is a wonderful inspiration to help people look their best. Using some of the tricks in his books, I've been able to give some fabulous makeovers to my customers. Second, it seems like Tori has just assumed that everyone is very familiar with her, her musicians and her pianos. Right off, the piano is simply referred to as the Bose and the musicians are referred to in a very familiar, almost playful, way. I'm still not sure about the map at the beginning of the booklet. I hope someone can explain it better than I think I understand it. Also, some of the photos taken by Martina Hoogland-Ivanov are a little weird and make Tori's nose look kind of big. Okay, now I'm just tired and am being picky.
May 6, 1998 - First of all this new CD is not at all what I was expecting. From somwhere I heard that it was going to be a lot more like Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink. I have never heard a Tori song I didn't like, but on some of these I am really unsure. I think that once I listen to them, they will start to grow on me.
Although I am sure most of you have heard this one I will say a few things. This one is really hard for me to listen to. It seems so sad. "She couldn't keep Baby alive." The first time I heard this it was hard for me. I wasn't sure if I liked the band at all but now it is so beautiful.
The chorus kind of reminds me of older Madonna songs. It has a suttle dance beat that I don't mind, but will take awhile to get used to.
The chorus "by the woods" is so beautiful. And we she sings "on the other side of the galaxy" it really makes my chest swell. It does remind me a lot of Y Kant Tori Read.
I am sure, with time, I will learn to like this.
This is my favorite song at this point. This is more like her traditional songs. When she sings "make me laugh" it makes me want to cry. This is so amazing.
I do not like the way this starts out. But the chorus is really pretty. I wish the whole song was more like this.
At first I thought this was going to be like the other dance songs. But this one is truly haunting and the more I listen to it the more I like it.
She's Your Cocaine.
I think this is the Robert Plant, rock n roll influence. This is not at all her traditional work but you can definetly tell that it is hers.
This is another beautiful ballad. A good example of what I thought the whole CD would be. This is a very emotional song. I don't know why but when she says "and if you could see me know" it reminds me of a slow Radiohead song.
At first I did not like this at all. But the unsynthesized part is wonderful. Again it is not Tori's traditional work but you can tell this is her.
This starts out kind of jazzy. For me it is a very hard song to listen to. "Don't judge me so harsh little girl." is very heartwrenching. But this is so beautiful.
This reminds me of something you would see performed in a smoky club with the spotlight on Tori. It is another beautiful song.
As with all of Tori's songs/CD's it has taken me several times of listening to fully understand them. For the most part this is a wonderful CD and I can't wait until she comes in her full tour. Tori has a way of speaking to all of us, millions of us, and still making us feel that we are the only one. She has done it again.
May 6, 1998 - I had to give my review. I drove to Tempo Records in the Valley last night to get the new album at midnight. Stood in the rain, didn't mind, and screamed when the cashier put the new album in my hand (the store cracked up). I also screamed when I put it on in my car on the way home. Then I almost cried. I cannot express how sad I am today about the new Tori Amos album. I absolutely adored her, being one of my hugest inspirations, (I'm lead singer for Damaged Adam, an Los Angeles based band). And to find that Tori has shunned her talent for carrying it off on her own and taking us with her has broken my heart. I am almost in tears as I write this.
I bought the 2 part Spark singles, which are the only decent material to come from this whole disater Chiorgirl escapade. I just can't believe how misleading they were. Songs like Cooling and Purple People caused me to think that the album would be a trendy combination of her entracing and heartfelt piano ballad, mixed in with some Bachlorette type Springtime of His Voodoo concoctions. Honestly, I feel today like I waited in the rain last night to buy Madonna's Ray of Light CD and no one told me it's been out for awhile.
I just can't believe that there is not one track on Chiorgirl that Tori left alone, just to humor us into beleiving she wasn't joking when she expressed herself so deeply in songs like Hep Jupiter and Putting the Damage On. It's the least she could have done. I felt no emotion for her or from her on this album. It didn't at all touch me in the slightest way. Tori has givin up what made her different from everyone else. She is now another Dance/Pop female vocalist. I greive to think of how many Dance remix 12' vinyl's will be released off this one. Like Pro Widow wasn't bad enough....now we have an entire album of techno-tori. Goodie...the dance clubs will love it. I, on the other hand am deeply saddened and I strongly believe that other Toriphiles out there agree with me.
May 6, 1998 - Here's my personal review of tori amos' newest album "From the Choirlgirl Hotel"
A description of each of the songs along with my opinion:
I'm not going to describe this song because y'all know it already. But I'll give you my opinion instead: It's not one of my favourites, probably because of the distorted vocals. I do like the chorus though, and the part with the piano solo. I like this one better when it's done live, Tori seems to play it live with much more passion.
I love the instruments on this track. It has some kind of mysterious atmosphere, especially in the chorus, when she sings "I can be cruelš but I don't know whyš" The track has a really relaxed beat and sometimes a xylophone comes in, which is a really strange but wonderful 'finishing touch'.
3. Black-Dove (January)
This song starts with a really dull piano (I'm not sure dull is the right word but you'll know what I mean) which sounds very much like 'Bells for Her'. I'm sure they did something to the piano that gave it this unique sound. Then, after a slow intro, the other instruments come in and she sings a really loud 'on the other side of the galaxyš' Then after that some of the instruments remain in the background along with the piano. I read a review of the album in a Dutch magazine, and the reviewer thought this was the best song on the album. I don't totally agree on that, but I do think it's a quite good song.
4. Raspberry Swirl
As a song, I don't really dislike this one, it has a really positive up-tempo beat. BUT: as a Tori song, I do dislike it. It just isn't Tori! The piano going wild is quite cool though.
5. Jackie's Strength
Not a difficult song to love, this is typical Tori. Beautiful piano tones with a complex string arrangement in the background. Definitely one of my favourites on the album.
6. i i e e e
First, a somewhat eerie intro and then suddenly the music stops, and Tori starts singing 'Which your E's and your ease and I do one moreš' the music only comes back on the word 'more' and this just give me the chills. In the background, I first didn't notice it - are strings again, which really sound wonderful. But at a certain point, the music becomes really ugly, much too hard in my opinion. Fortunately this ugly part doesn't last too long so it's a great song after all.
7. Liquid Diamonds
This song lasts for more than 6 minutes but it seems to be much shorter, I can't explain why but everytime I listen to it I feel like 'what? Has it finished already?' I truly adore the piano in this track, really relaxing and it matches the other instruments perfectly, especially in the beginning. No fast parts in this one, the atmosphere stays pretty much the same. A typical Tori song lyrically, this is also one of my favourites.
8. She's Your Cocaine
Another up-tempo song, this one sounds really positive and cheery. It's not a typical Tori song and I've heard better ones, but it's quite cool. The end is quite funny, the music stops all of a sudden and then tori says : "Cut it again!" She sounds like Jewel sometimes in this song! Especially at 2:28..
9. Northern lad
My favourite! I love it! I love it! It sounds pretty much like Hey Jupiter, especially at the end. When she sings 'when you're only wet because of the rain' repetitively, I really get the feeling that this is what I spent my 40 guilders on. In my opinion, thise is one of the best songs Tori has ever recorded, so beautiful, so sad, soš. yummy.
Wow. By far, this is the most remarkable and original song on the album. I'm not going to say much about it, because I think you just have to experience this one. You'll know what I mean when you hear it. I've never heard something like this before, it's amazing. My second favourite.
11. Playboy Mommy
My third favourite, (she has the order right!) this is lyrically a typical Tori song. If you'd only look at the title, you'd know straight ahead that it couldn't possibly be a Michael Jackson song, this can only be Tori! I love the strange instruments at the beginning and the chorus.
12. Pandora's Aquarium
Something that immediatly struck me was the word Persephone in the lyrics. (I'm obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology) Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain. She was captured by Hades, god of the underworld, though, and Demeter could only see her in the spring and in the summer. When she was separated from her daughter, she neglected her tasks. (which was take care of the harvest). I'm not quite sure why I told all this, but I'm sure it can help interpreting the song. It has a typical tori piano only intro, but as the song progresses more instruments join in. Another beautiful one.
My overall opinion: This album is great! Tori did it again. I think it's too early to say if it's tori's best one so far or not, but it definitely comes close to that.
May 6, 1998 - Well, I just wanted to add to your collection of reviews for Tori's latest album, From the Choirgirl Hotel. I got an advanced copy and have had it for about two weeks now. Here's a sneak peek at what fellow Ears With Feet can expect to hear on May 5th.
This is definetely Tori's rock album. The closest she ever got to a "rock album" was Under the Pink, but here she has taken a step even further. This is album is all about rhythm. The percussion work on the album is incredible. She wasn't joking around when she told us last year she was going to "bring the drums." The piano is not the essential element on this album. It seems to appear and disappear at the appropriate times. The vocals, for the most part, are distorted. This is the record that will finally make the radio and Billboard singles list, like it or not.
Probably just about everyone and their mama has heard "Spark." You know the words, and we've all seen the video, which seems to pop up on MTV all the time now. It begins with the memorable and humorous line, "She's addicted to nicotine patches..." This song brings to mind the sound of Tori's rock band, which featured Caton, Y Kant Tori Read.
"Cruel," the second track of the album, is probably my favorite. It begins with the programmed drums and a distorted guitar. Tori's vocals aren't necessarily distorted, but she sounds very raspy. The arrangement of the vocals is very kewl, has a kind of Arabian feel to it. The music stops when she says "Sh-sh-shock me sane." For this reason, the song gets stuck in your head very easily. Towards the end, you can hear Tori doing some very high vocals along side what sounds to be a xlophone.
The first ballad off the album is "Black Dove (January)." This song is the result of the breeding between "Sugar" and "Pretty Good Year." The song is very beautiful, the piano mixes very well with the other instruments, and the track seems perfectly balanced. When Tori sings "On the other side of the galaxy" the song breaks into a hard guitar-driven refrain, but only for a brief moment like she did on "What's it gonna take..." in "Pretty Good Year." Then once again the track becomes mellow, and hits us hard again. The end of the track is incredible, very layered. I'm not surprised Tori has been using this track as the opening song on the recent "Plugged 98" tour. (Ironically she sings őI've got to get to Texas' yet hasn't scheduled one appearence in the state...oh well.)
Something about "Raspberry Swirl" just irks me. It's a techno song mixed with the piano. And in all honesty, it's not a good techno song. It's kind of like the awful techno remixes of Professional Widow where she says "It's got to be big" a million times. Although this song has more words to it than Pro Widow, it just isn't impressive, dear I say annoying.
The track with the strangest name on the album is also one of the best. "iieee" has a similar feel to that of "Cruel" but is not by any means a carbon copy. It is driven by a very cool beat on the bongos and bass. The music stops, Tori sings as she "tickles the ivorys." In the middle of the track, it becomes very loud and distorted, especially on Tori's vocals. This is just a kick ass track all the way round....there's no other way to describe it.
"Jackie's Strength" seems to be one of Tori's favorite new "girls." She has mentioned the song numberous times in Interviews. It is the second ballad on the album. At first, it sounds like a gig for the piano only, but in the distance we can hear Caton playing a riff on the guitar very quietly. Suddenly, it burst into a beautiful string arrangement, that reminds me of "Winter," but is not similar at all. (Contradictory, huh?) Once again, this song echos the sound of Y Kant Tori Read. Could it be that she has done the girl on the piano thing just to get in the spotlight and return to her rock roots? No. Tori just wants to "bite people butts with this album."
"Liquid Diamonds" fades in with a electronica beat, followed by piano and bass. Beautiful song thanks to the baby grand and her voice. During the chorus, Tori brings it down low like she does when she performs "Cornflake Girl" live. You know, that sexy little mumbling thing she does.
"She's Your Cocaine" sounds like a mixture between a Lenny Kravitz and Ben Folds Five song. But Tori is singing it, so that make it even cooler. This is a bluesy-rock tune. You'll definetely be "shimmy-ing" to this tune. You can hear Tori's influences from The Doors and The Stones. Of course, the track stops midway through and mellows out just to come back in even harder than ever. THIS TRACK ROCKS, so "bring your sister if you can't handle."
The third ballad on the album is "Northern Lad." This is a 100% pure rock ballad, complete with 8 beat on drums. Pretty, and features the sassy line "girl you got to know when it's time to turn the page when you're only wet because of the rain." She is not talking about her stealing fire from men anymore. (Warning virgin ears, Tori says the F-Word with "perfect purnunciation" on this track.)
"Hotel." I hope this isn't what the critics will consider the title track, because it is the worst track on the entire album. I'm sorry, I love Tori...but it just isn't a good song. The song is overall generic. It sounds like every other electronica song out there. I don't really like the vocals either, they are all the high-pitched howling that is great at a concert, but do not belong on the album. To tell the truth, the track hurts my ears. Just do what I did, delete the track if you have that option. If you do that the album will be perfect.
Tori follows the worst track on the album with the best. "Playboy Mommy" is the biggest highlight on the album. It starts out on what sounds like to be acordian, but my guess is it is the keyboard. The track is about a woman apologizing to her dead daughter for not being there when it mattered. I sang "Don't judge me so harsh, little girl / so you got a Playboy mommy..." over and over. It's just an awesome Tori song, that is destined to be a Tori classic. The words are great. The vocals are great (especially during "Gloria"). The music is great (give dibs to Caton and Chamberlain.) It's perfect (give a round of applause to Tori.) It almost has a blue-grass feel to it.
"Pandora's Aquarium" is the last ballad as well as the last track on the album. At first, it sounds like old school Tori. The piano is the only instrument played up until the chorus. Then it has a kind of jazzy, smooth feel to it. It reminds me of some of the material on Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig in the Sky" from "Dark Side of the Moon."
Overall, the album is fabulous. The wait has been worth it (the Tori mailing list has been counting the days with Ears With Feet around the world.) The great thing about Tori, as an artist, she never limits herself. She is constantly challenging her audience, and exploring new things. The miscarriage, as we all know, as been the source for many of the songs on the album...but the songs, both new and old, have seemed to be reborn, with a fuller sound.
All I can say, is buy the album. It's worth your hard earned cash. If it wasn't do you think I would have taken the time to type out this review? Anyway, check out the album, I'd be interested in hearing from you. You can write me via my page, the audiTORIum (http://members.aol.com/Torium.) Also, you might keep in mind, there are some great new boots of the Plugged tour. (I am getting mine in the mail this week, e-mail me if you wanna trade.) Keep your eyes and ears open, Tori is going to take us on the ride of our lives with the album.
May 6, 1998 - So I stopped studying last night long enough to head to the record store for the midnight sale. Sam Goody is smart, you know, because they wouldn't sell it to me until midnight so I ended up dropping a fair amount of cash on some other things while I waited. I had thought I was too tired to give it a listen when I got home, but I put on my headphones and just . . . enjoyed. Let me say something to those who are not giving this a fair shake just yet: remember how you felt about BFP when it came out? It took me 7 listens to like the whole thing and then for a year I was finding new favorites every time I listened to it. That's what I LOVE about Tori's music....it can sometimes seem brand new to me even after a few thousand trips to the cd player. I think this has been building inside Tori for a long time and I congratulate her for giving these girls a chance. Yes, it's different, but c'mon...that's Tori for you! I know that the songs I'm not into just yet will come rushing at me in a few weeks and then they'll be all I listen to. I love this album. Strong points? Hmmm....*Spark*, of course (shame on those who didn't like it! Can't you hear *Past The Mission* in there?), *Black Dove (January), *Jackie's Strength*, . . . more and more and more...I could go on, but an album-reviewer I am not. Mostly I'm just writing to those out there who are feeling like Tori deserted them or something--this is for Tori! Honor that she needed an outlet for these songs and she was kind enough to pass it all our way. It was 60-something degrees in my room last night and I sat in a little white tank top and jeans just *SWEATING* to this...I may not have been crying, or shaking, or experiencing some other emotional catharsis, but the girls, well, they put me in a *mood*, baby.
May 6, 1998 - The artwork: Nice. I miss Cindy Palmano, but Katerina Jebb is a good replacement.The pictures are beautiful, most of them are Tori pressed against glass (photocopy machine). The pages of the booklet are folded and the pics of Tori are kinda like mini-pinups. It also has a map (Drawn by Tori?) which looks like something out of a fantasy novel or a children's book. The names of the places are related to the songs (There is a "Cocaine Lip Gloss sale stand", a "Nautical Nuns Casino" and a "Buttercup Bone Orchard"), some are also inside jokes or something like that. The pictures are dark, beautiful, and although not as creative as the Boys for Pele pictures, they are very good and the booklet design is good and clear.
The songs: Tori uses a lot of electronica on the album. No harpsichord, but she plays a mallett piano (similar to "Bells for Her") on Black-Dove, and a kurzweil and a mellotron on a few songs. There are no piano-only songs, so some might be a bit disappointed, because some of the intimate atmosphere is lost. Lots of Background vocals and weird sounds.
Spark: Very good. I think most will like this. This seems to be a sort of a bridge between the "old" Tori and the "new" Tori. Many have already heard this.
Cruel: A shock at first, but perhaps one of the best songs on the album. Almost triphoppy, definite Massive Attack or Tricky influences. Totally different from anything she has done before. "Sleep to Dream" from Fiona Apple and "The Dreaming" from Kate Bush come to mind when listening to this. Could become a hit.
Black Dove (January): Could become an unlikely hit. Builds up very slowly, then bursts into a crescendo. Uses a Bells For Her -type mallett piano.
Raspberry Swirl: Happy, bouncy bĖsendorfer techno. Very repetitive rhytm that might annoy some of you. This could be a dance/club hit just like this, without any remixing. Very quirky song which some will absolutely love, some will not.
Jackie's Strength: More like the "old" tori. Piano, strings and guitar. This song is nostalgic and emotional. A bit like Marianne or Winter.
i i e e e: Weird song, needs a few listens before you will like it. The iieee is repeated constantly in the background. Lots of tempo changes. I love this. Some distorted vocals in the middle.
Liquid Diamonds: At first I didn't get this but now I like it. It just needs a few listens. Has a trancey dance beat and flowing vocals.
She's Your Cocaine: A cabaret-style rock song. Some distorted vocals and a catchy chorus.
Northern Lad: A bit like Hey Jupiter, but better. The other musicians add to this song. Simply beautiful, although a little ordinary. But who cares?
Hotel: One of the most challenging songs on the album. Needs a lot of listens. Complex and experimental.
Playboy Mommy: I'm beyond words for this one. Perhaps the best song on the album. Very moving, touching, almost makes you wanna cry. It is sad, but not brooding, there is hope and warm feelings in the song. A very laid back song, a bit like Cornflake Girl or "Losing My Religion" from R.E.M. This is a lot warmer. Has bagpipe-sounding instrument on the background.
Pandora's Aquarium: A Kate Bushy piece (I love Kate Bush). Another challenging and experimental piece. A bit breathy and fragile.
There. This album is really challenging and unlike any other work Tori has done before. You will have to be patient with this album; the songs are not going to impress you right away. Play it many times: listen to it carefully, play it as a background music, then play it again - LOUDER.
May 6, 1998 - Well ive had the new album a little over a week and a half now..and today i finally got it on disc, so i guess its an appropriate amount of time to write a review on it..
Overall. It's very good. It's very different..the old tori pops in every once in awhile, but it works. I don't dislike this album. Out of her 4 albums i'd have to put it in the number 3 spot (UTP #1 BFP#2..) [even though this album is really non-comparable to the other 3. they're all so different..]
Spark - well i've known this song the longest. I liked it from the start and i still do like it. The distorted mic works with her voice wonderfully.
Cruel- i don't really see the lryics as being very strong in this song. The song isn't about the lyrics. Its about the sound. And its really really good. I love all the new techniques and beats she uses in this song. it's really good :)
Black Dove (January) - Well, the song is growing on me. It's probably my least favorite. It reminds me of Paula Cole's Saturn Girl like, a lot. Black dove is kinda just there. I hated it at first..i'm liking it more as time goes by..
Raspberry Swirl - At first this song annoyed me. Now its just fun. Ya just wanna groove to this one.
Jackies Strength - old tori pops in...the pretty ballad of the album. The song everyone loves :) Wow i'm at a loss for words. hm.
I i e e e - my second favorite song on the album. This song is just wonderful. Her whole "iiiii eee ee" or whatever is just..wow. I can't explain it this song is just WONDERFUL. My only complaint is this faint chime that rings in the beginning. Everytime i listen to this song i think i have Instant Messages and it annoys the hell outta me. But anyhow, i just love this song. Everything about it mixes together so well..
Liquid Diamonds - Top 3 of the album. This song is also completley wonderful. I'd say lyrically one of her best. I love the way the mic changes with each line in the verses. Just..great.
She's your cocaine - when i got the MP3 of this song a few weeks ago i loved it. Yeah, i guess its a fun song, but it annoys the hell outta me. Yeah its tori being a rock chick but its just loud and obnixious. Could be really fun live tho.
Northern Lad - my favorite. It was an automatic favorite too. It's very "baker baker" ish. Its my ballad on the album, ya know? Its Cloud on my Tongue part 2..or maybe part 3. At least to me.
Hotel - this was another one that had to grow on me. I was VERY open to the electronic part. That isnt what bugs me about this album. Its her annoying wailing on this song. It sounds like she made it up on the spot. It sounds like an improv. I like it quite a bit more than i did at first, but i still have to be in the mood for it. If she ever does it live, it could be EXTREMLEY intense.
Playboy Mommy - I still think this could get country airplay. heh. I dont hate it, i dont love it.
Pandora's Aquarium - Can't decide on this one. i LOVE half of the song, the other half makes me wanna rip my hair out. i DETEST the whole "pandora..pandoras..aqaaaaaarrrrrrrrium" thing. but the "line me up in single file.." is just ..wonderful. So its mixed on this one. But i love those parts so much i overall love the song.
So yeah. I like this album. Its much more poppy and mainstream in my opinion. Arena artist we gots here ya know. hm. I miss the old tori. The ballads i could sit in the dark and sobb to. But i welcomed this change. Ya could say..im torn :]
May 6, 1998 - My first impression was that Tori knows best: the songs are definitely not dependent upon one another. I'm not used to that yet. It seems as if any song could be a single. It would be so fun if there were twelve singles off the album. I know that won't happen; I'm just dreaming.
on with the business:
My favorite song intially is Hotel. I got goosebumps upon first listen. When she sings in iieee "we scream in cathedrals", it's a hint that she'll be screaming in cathedrals during Hotel. I could feel the most energy from this song. The piano at the end is awesome, but my favorite parts are the sound effects 45s into the song and she sings "give me more" and the very end "i'm still alive" and the very very very end little jazzy thing. The whole thing is so Magestic.
Black Dove (January): This is my second favorite---it's like a lullaby for me (partly reminiscent of my January 1997). There is a clear appreciation of the Life Force I can see in this song and iieee (why can't it be beautiful why does there gotta be a sacrifice). There's also a feeling of not being in the right place at the right time and not needing what's offered you, but needing something else. Overall, I feel this song is about what the spirit of the baby confided to her in January. I think it was placed after Spark because this is the feeling you get after the anger and frustration with the "divine master plan"--it's like the calm after the storm, the appreciation of the Life Force emerges with the understanding of what's happened "on the other side of the galaxy".
Liquid Diamonds was my favorite from the video clips i saw on tori.com, but I think it's better live. The album version reminds me very much of Down By the Seaside where Tori sings "I'm only sinking".
the only songs I understand are iieee, Spark, Jackie's Strength, and Raspberry Swirl, because Tori has talked about their subject matter more than the others. The other songs are getting in my skin cells like osmosis--they haven't floated through the blood up to my brain yet.
Cruel's sound effects remind me of the sound effects on one of the songs on Peter Gabriel's Shaking the Tree album (can't remember which one right now). I love the combination of the vocal rhythm with the drum rhythm. And the sound effects go well with the way she sings "balloon".
I love iieee's rhythm, breathing, violins, and digging into the concept of sacrifice. It's earthy to me. Lighting something on fire to return in to the earth. But it has to burn and the burning involves destruction and we don't know why burning always involves destruction. Also, the science side of me feels like it relates to entropy. You have to work to keep everything together, put energy into it, and if you don't, it falls apart because of entropy; you let things go and there's destruction. And there's thinking the destruction was your fault but then arrives a realization that there's a constant struggle between life and destruction. entropy is just winning right now.
Overall, this album contains an acceptance for the way things are after wishing they were different at the outset. In addition, it's a look at what factors keep things from turning out for the best---like a collection of facts contributing to the proof that the statement "it'll all work out for the best" is a lie.
I'm sure I will learn a great deal more from these songs in the next few years.
May 6, 1998 - ohhhhhhh wow. this is tori all filled up to bursting and pulsing with life and veins and blood, pregnant with sound and fingertips. yeah, fingertips. there are words but they seem so inconsequential in some songs, or at some moments, like she's fully taking ownership of her voice, playing it like some ever-changing instrument. and it's all smooth, it's painful and aching at times but it's smooth, not like boys for pele which was raw and harsh and confused. this is power.
there's a lot of led zepplin influence. the beginning of "black-dove," sounds just like "no quarter." "black-dove" is one of my favorites. i can't even explain why, with its fluttering under the surface like a bird's heart, beating. and there are a couple songs that are trancey, "raspberry swirl" is like the rollar coasters in hell and "jackie's strength" is glowing with strings and
this album is so ALIVE.
"northern lad" made me cry, walking down lee street, just a little bit... "girls you have to know when it's time to turn the page, when you're only wet because of the rain." and "playboy mommy" is ... i think this album might be put together like a body, with different kinds of energy and strength and if so than that is the heart. i can't say anything else about it because the words are so honest it is so blatent i can't articulate what it's about because you'll have to feel it for yourself but it is so True. and "cruel," full of marimbas and beating, all jungle and bjork and wide thick leaves.
to expand on that body thing.. "black-dove (january)" is like the legs, like long strong horses legs running across a field under a grey sky or a desert under a moon, "the other side of the galaxy....
May 6, 1998 - AFTER LISTENING TO IT FOR THREE DAYS, HERE IS MY REVIEW:
AT FIRST THE ONLY SONGS I THOUGHT I WOULD LIKE WERE "JACKIE'S STRENGTH" AND "NORTHERN LAD" SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY SOUNDED LIKE WHAT SHE USUALLY SOUNDED LIKE. BUT IF THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR TO YOU. . .KEEP LISTENING TO THE OTHER GIRLS BECAUSE EVENTUALLY THEY STARTED TO GROW ON ME. "HOTEL" SEEMS REALLY WILD, AND ON MTV 1515 THEY SHOWED A CLIP OF SEEMED MIGHT BE A VIDEO(DID ANYONE ELSE CATCH THAT?) SO MAYBE THAT MIGHT BE THE NEXT SINGLE. ANYWAY, I REALLY LIKED "PLAYBOY MOMMY", YOU CAN TELL IT COMES FROM A SOURCE OF PAIN(POSSIBLY THE MISCARRIAGE?) WHICH IS TRULY SEEN IN THE INFLECTION OF HER VOICE. THE REST HAVEN'T GROWN ON ME AS QUICKLY O I'LL REFRAIN FROM POSSIBLY SAYING REGRETFULL OPINIONS.
May 6, 1998 - Here's a little preview, but keep in mind that this is after listing to it only once (a few of the songs I have heard a few times, like 'spark' thanks to the release of the singles this past week):
There's some groovy marimba-parts on 'Cruel', and her voice seems almost haunting juxtaposed on 'Black-Dove's muffled piano & strings... 'Rasberry Swirl' opens with a bit of the guitar sound as heard in 'Spark', breaking it down and swinging out ;) 'Jackie's Strength' is a well written song about Jackie-O; 'iieee'is almost hypnotic at first, if it weren't for a string section hopping in at bits; It takes a minute for the vocals to begin on 'Liquid Diamonds'; 'She's Your Cocaine' makes me think of jivin' until she cuts into a merry go round theme to break it up a bit; 'Northern Lad' is mellow like 'Marianne' at the beginning, but painfully speaks of self-made mistakes, "When you're only wet because of the rain"...this song is one to cry to; 'Hotel' has a lil' bit of NIN/Dr.Who to it in the background...I can feel a sci-fi theme coming on here ;)'Playboy Mommy'tries to keep a sort of "kids kicking gravel" type of cheer to its tune, while Tori sings about her child that unfortunately never came into this world; 'Pandora's Aquarium'is the track I'm on now...kind of skipping stone tune like 'Donut Hole' that goes into a mellow jazz that brings the album to a close in a way I thought 'Yes Anastasia' did brilliantly on *Under the Pink*
All in all I would have to say that it sounds so independant from her other albums (especially with so much more background sound from the band) it always seems to take a while for me to soak in her music, part of the magic that keeps it timeless: there is always more to unearth in the lyrics and her presentation of the music.
Oh, and the excellent mood I'm in could have donated itself to my descriptions which may be somewhat cryptic...
May 6, 1998 - this is timmy(and a purple monkey) again.i bought the album today here in germany and heard all the new girls for the first time. and i have to say, the first time i heard the album it was just like with all the other tori-songs: i didn`t like them. i always have to listen to them twice or oftener, and then i love them. first i was shocked and disappointed about tori: nearly no song without any hard beats in the background. in many songs there isn`t even one sound of a piano. but after listening to them a few times i found that it`s especially tori`s wonderful voice that makes a tori-song what it is.and for those who only want to hear tori with the piano, there are songs like jackie`s strength or northern lad. my favourites are spark, black dove, northern lad and playboy mommy.but of course all the others are great too. i really look forward to my first tori-concert on 9th june. keep twinkling :)
May 6, 1998 - i got the new CD and it fuckin ROCKS!! i really can't even begin to describe how incredible it is, but you already know since you've heard it and seen the live show.. ok here we go...
"spark" incredible and passionate. tori comes across universes to sing this one and the piano sounds so great with the full band.
"cruel" the rhythm on this seeps into every nerve in your body. it's primitive and futuristic. it makes me think of vast, open spaces. the melody is ethereal and lovely.
"black-dove(january)" this is an epic. it starts off with a muted piano somewhat bells-for-her-ish. then when you are not expecting it, it turns into a mountain of sound. beautiful.
"raspberry swirl" AWESOME! tori can fuck with any genre and come out totally original, like this trance induced, funkadelic acid trip! it rocks and pumps with a phat beat and techno piano!
"jackie's strength" the only song without live drums. one of her most haunting melodies. orchestral flourishes fly in your face and blow you away.
"iieee" definitely my favorite. it is undescribable. she is transcendental (where can she come up with these melodies??!!) it's ridden with passion sometimes controlled and sometimes fucked all the way to china when she turns up the guitar and snarls with distortion on her throat not unlike something out of the downward spiral. her begining yadadadidas sound familiar to a cocteau twins song i can't recall....CRAZY
"liquid diamonds" this song moves through you like the title. beautiful chill out with great piano and vox improv. beautiful melody like all the others...
"she's your cocaine" this track will surprise you with it's feel of led zep meeting talking heads meeting the most fucked up girl you've ever met!!!
"northern lad" the OTHER ballad on here (only 2!) it's great and has a hey jupiter visit in it... feels like a sad folkie tune from the 70's like carol king or carly simon?? awesome!
"hotel" you will be surprised! you have been warned! i have heard this may be the second single. the tempo changes a lot and there is no piano until the end. great song with the line "i have to learn to let you crash down" don't we all?
"playboy mommy" the sadest song on here since it seems to be about her daughter... "don't judge me so harsh little girl" rips your gut apart. i think jewell would really like this song. she could take a few pointers...
"pandora's aquarium" i love this. the way it starts off reminds me of emily bezar's take on the woman and the piano thing. when the melody changes i want to jump and cry and kill and love somebody because it is so simple and one of my favorite melodies by her ever!! (tori that is).
what can i say? this album makes being alive right now so exciting and wonderful. if people don't love it and send it to number one for ten years straight, then they have too many sticks up their arse.
May 6, 1998 - Well, I got an advance too. & I can tell you what think if you wanna know...
Spark - Well, we all have our own opinions of this one by now. Compositionally ineresting with some great lyrical content.
Cruel - At first I didn't like this one at all. But Tori's stuff always challenges me to listen to it more than once, and usually I end up realizing that she knows best. The thing about this slightly trippy song, is that you have to appreciate that Tori can quietly seethe. It's sort of like the live version of Here. In My Head (Past the Mission) when she doesn't scream "Do You Know!", in the respect that it takes a few times to know that there is rage below the surface. Doughnut Song is also like that. She hates HATES but doesn't scream or writhe. She scorns in a disdainful kind of way, which can sound so cool sometimes, if you get it. And Cruel is one I appreciate like that, but does end a little abruptly.
Black-Dove - "Intensely Beautiful" indeed. What's to say? It's haunting, sorta like a ghost story, and it bursts through space & time, and then you become part of the story, and can't get out until Tori let's you go.
Raspberry Swirl - Took a few listens, but this actually has got some great singing and use of melody at the end with all the "And she...swirls." It's fun and cool that it's about lesbians, cause I wanted Tori to express more of her thoughts on homosexuality. I think this song integrated the piano & new techno sounds probably the best, because the combo in this case is totally quirky and unique unto Tori.
Jackie's Strength - Pretty nice string arrangement. A little Enya sounding, but it stays with you. The chorus "Make me laugh..." is quite beautifully composed, and the lyrics are interesting and revealing as ever.
iieee - This is the song I'm gonna go out on a limb for. I'm taking my stab at interpreting Tori. I don't know if she meant to, but I think this could be Tori's first commentary on the drug situation in the rave scene. E is the common name for the drug Ecstasy which is the raver's drug of choice. And when she says "sweet saliva", it reminds me of how you take Ecstasy by letting it dissolve on your tongue. Ecstasy is one of the worst drugs for your body, so she says "I know we're dying...Why's there gotta be a sacrifice." Also when she sings "We scream in Cathedrals" I think the building mentioned might be a metaphor for the abandoned factory buildings where raves are usually held, and then she sings "Can't we get a little grace...elegance," as if to say, why do you have to kill your body off with drugs, when you could go and enjoy the music and dancing, rather than being self-destructive. Overall it's very dramatic and interesting to listen to.
Liquid Diamonds - This might be my least favorite. I like the lyrics and piano PLAYING, but musically, it hasn't grabbed me yet.
She's Your Cocaine - This is a good fucking song. It's just letting loose and having fun rocking out. Lyrically it's cool, not exactly an area she hasn't dealt with before, but the bridge is great, and then it goes back to rocking. Cool.
Northern Lad - Beautiful!!!!!!!! To me, this is like a better version of "Hey Jupiter", to a certain extent. This song has my favorite line--so far--"Girls you've got to know when it's time to turn the page/When you're only wet because of the rain." It's simply a marvelous, gorgeous rock ballad. One only Tori could have the talent to do so well.
Hotel - This is really techno-e, and I really didn't like it, seeing as the techno thing seems to be the bandwagon everyone's jumping on. But for some reason the really high singing of the "Give me more..." part has this cute way of sticking in my head like a bitch. And now that I've become a little more comfortable with it, I really aprreciate the performance of this song.
Playboy Mommy - This is very emotive, but not any more so, to me, than Northern Lad. It takes a sample of 4 chords, that same progression as the end of my all-time favorite "Cloud On My Tongue", and simply repeats it the whole time with just about no changes. To me, it's like, 'Tori can't ya do a little better?', & I'm not gonna be nice just cause it seems closely related to her loss. Maybe it was a concious choice to keep the chord progression simple, but I think she could have taken this song and pushed it just a little more.
Pandora's Aquarium - The beginning echoes strongly of the B-side "A Sister Named Desire," which I get in the mood for very rarely, but then the band comes in, and it sorta takes on the "smoky jazz" feel that rumored had it "Playboy Mommy" was supposed to have, which I don't think it does. I like it, lyrically and musically, and I think I'll learn to appreciate it more in time. This is Tori being quirkyTori, and without some of the 'unique' vocalizing, I'm sure many people could appreciate this interesting piece.
Overall, it's a pretty damn good record. Considering that I've been a devoted fan since Little Earthquakes, you have to appreciate how sometimes we get our expectations a little too high, or set on something we just don't get. And with this album, she managed to keep me interested, and within a couple days, I appreciated almost everything on it. It's like it hasn't hit me yet. I 'll have to live with this album for many more months before fully understanding from the choirgirl hotel's real value to me.
April 26, 1998 - I got a copy of a promotape containing the whole Choirgirl album this week and after listening to it for about 6 times I felt the need to share some thoughts with you guys. If you can't hear any negative things about Tori, maybe you shouldn't read this ! Wait...I'll put on my walkman and listen to the songs one by one while I write about 'em. (so the next 54 minutes I'll be working on this post...).
* Spark *
Well, most of you must have heard this one already. Great song, strong melody, nice arrangements, haunting vocals, good lyrics ! I consider this to be the right choice for a first single, with good commercial opportunities ! (Though I don't consider that to be really important, don't care about airplay etc. Rather keep Tori a little exclusive !)
* Cruel *
Rather tribal rhythm, quite different. I think it sounds rather good, though the composition isn't that strong. I really like the trancy / asian vocals towards the end.
* Black Dove *
An intruiging beginning. Sounds like Peter Gabriel is ready to join her. Nice chorus as well, but...oh my god.... when the "second chorus" comes in ("On the other side of the galaxy"...etc.), I thing there's too much bombast going on. Reminds me of the way the chorus of "The Waitress" comes in. Spoils the song i.m.h.o.
* Raspberry Swirl *
Let's skip this one...I think it's ugly ! Simple, stupid rhythm ! Maybe the dancefloors will be filled, but I'm remaining on the side. Don't think the commercial changes are too good as well, though Tori must have been inspired by the hit-succes of "Professional Widow". The only good thing is the piano going wild, but it's rather back in the mix.
* Jackie's Strength *
Nice song ! The orchestra is quite tastefully arranged ! nostalgic lyrics, well sung. Don't think it's similar to "Marianne", except for the orchestration. Though the melody might be a little to mainstream and straightforward for my taste. Well done though..
* Ieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *
Another tribal rhythm + vocalisations. Sounds really catchy ! But dear Tori: Why did you have to spoil it with the loud part. Too much bombast again ! Y'know the song would have been good enough without leaving the main melody.
* Liquid Diamonds *
This is really one of the most interesting songs on the album ! Wouldn't be out of place on Madonna's "Ray of Light" I guess. Really trancy, melodic structures ! "Emotional Dance" !!! Though it's the longest song on the album, I wouldn't mind if it went on for another couple of minutes. Like in a lot of other songs on the album it shows a new Tori, but this way I don't mind the "progression".
* She's your Cocaine *
Is this Roxette ? Brrrrr, another ugly one...but wait...the moment the song totally changes into a beatlesque, mysterious melody is just terrific ! Oh, but there comes Roxette again... Couldn't you built a song around the middle part Tori ? (It would have been "Guided by Tori's Voices" !)
* Northern Lad *
Good song ! Really emotional ! This one makes you want to hold your darling. The "because of the rain" part sound a bit like the "OOhooo-chorus" from Hey Jupiter", but well..
* Hotel *
Gee ! This is exciting ! Rather rich, complex structure, lots of tempo-changes. Reminds me of "Space Dog" in a way. The end is really wonderfull ! Is this the same horn-section as on "pele" ? Sounds like the harmonium is back as well (or synths ?)
* Playboy Mommy *
Great intro, after the end of "Hotel" ! These songs really float into each other. Nice, lush melody. Performed in a nice, laid-back, way in which the emotions are obviously shining through. Oops, the country-ish (steel ?)guitar in the end is really surprising ! Another highlight !
* Pandora's Aquarium *
A real piano-suite intro. The melody of the verses isn't that strong, but playfull. Think I do like this song. A good, quiet closing-track of an album which is quite disturbing in some places.
Well, mixed feelings about the choirgirls; some of them draw me in, some don't appeal to me and other I find just partly attractive. I used to think each Tori album was better, stronger, less "mainstream" than the one before, but this time I'm not to sure. Ofcourse: It's a good thing to move on, and I totally respect that. I can imagine Tori wanting to make a "band-record" after so many "girl with the piano" years. But that doesn't make the record as stunning as the previous one (Yes, for the time being "Pele" remains my favourite). But you never know...maybe it'll grow and grow.
April 26, 1998 - When I listened to Form The Choirgirl Hotel for the first time, I felt terrible, empty and confused. Therefore I decided not to give my opinion about it immediately, but to first "digest" her new piece of art. After thinking "This is it, I don't understand her anymore" and screaming "It's worse than Y Kant Tori Read" I listened to the CD for about 8 times and today it finally happened:
I was sitting in the train coming back from work and listened to Playboy Mommy and then this long awaited feeling was there again: goosepimples all over my skin and wet eyes !
I know understand the intention of the songs and can appreciate the new "industrial" band sound which irritated me a lot in the beginning. Therefore I would like to give the following advice, though I - of course - can only speak for myself:
If you do not like the new CD immediately - give it some time! It will grow and find away to reach your heart and brain. For the first and/or second time use headphones and listen to it carefully, but after that play it as background music for a couple of times. Then - in my case - something tells you, that it is okay to have a closer look again (--> headphones).
I always needed time to feel, think and listen to a new Tori Album, but this was the most "difficult" one. But now that I am acquainted with it I do my best to turn our relationship into a good friendship. And somehow I know that I will succeed
So,› listen, learn, feel and ENJOY. It is a different, but great CD.
April 24, 1998 - Oli has written a review of the new album. You can read it on Oli's home page.
April 16, 1998 - I've just heard From The Choirgirl Hotel!! I Know you already have heard a lot about it from other Toriphiles, but I wanted you to give also my opinion. Wow, the whole album is great!!. Most of the song are different form the other album, mbut not so different that you wouldn't believe it's Tori. I don't remember all of it because I've just listened is once. Spark is so beautiful, it's a song between LE and BFP but really. Do you kwow what I mean?? Cruel, iieee and Raspberry Swirl refers a little bit to Tricky's early work. Jackie's Strength is really really beautiful like you have noticed. I don't exactly remember the rest of the album. The only thing I know is that is really beautiful. First I was afraid it was going to be like the remix from Professional Widow, but I'm happy it has nothing to do with that.
April 12, 1998 - I just only wanted to say that i heard the new Tori album yesterday (Friday the 10th of April) in a local recordshop. The whole album is given by promo. No futher details in a booklet or something. Just the songs.. And that is more you can handle on a normal afternoon. i just walked in the store (like i do often on Friday cuz that's the day that new material comes in). And maybe they knew something about the release of the new single Sprak. They couldn't...but they had this suprise for me in store. I could listen the whole new album. And it was terrific.
A bit like you could expect. Lots of dance beats and less piano. But when her Bosey comes along...it's there with all her spirit.
The dance songs sounded good but i must listen to Tori's songs more to give a well jugdement (like on all of Tori's albums need to listen to her songs more than once). But the first meeting with a new Tori was inspirating and wanting me to have more interesting confrontations in the near future when her album will be released. I listen to playboy Mommy very well, cuz i knew that this song was a key song on the new album. it was breath taking. Her lyrics were........ amazing ( i don't have another word now to tell you more specific)
April 7, 1998 - I have had my advance copy of the new Tori Amos CD 'From The Choirgirl Hotel' for a few days now. As a frequent visitor to this newsgroup I know there is huge excitement about the new album and thought I would post a very amateur review in the hope that it may be of interest to some of you.
Whatever your thoughts this is just one persons opinion so take it with a pinch of salt.
Right....on with the important stuff.
Tori Amos - From The Choirgirl Hotel
1. Spark 4.12
2. Cruel 4.05
3. Black Dove (January) 4.36
4. Raspberry Swirl 3.57
5. Jackie's Strength 4.26
6. iieee 4.08
7. Liquid Diamonds 6.20
8. She's Your Cocaine 3.41
9. Northern Lad 4.17
10. Hotel 5.18
11. Playboy Mommy 4.08
12. Pandora's Aquarium 4.48
Total Running Time: 54.05
Spark - A song many of you will have heard and set to be the first single. Kicks of with slightly distorted vocals 'She's addicted to nicoteen patches..' and slowly builds from a dark first verse to a quite lovely sweeping chorus where the piano comes in. Not unfamiliar Tori territory but hinting at different things to come. Quite moving references to her sad miscarriage 'She's convinced she could hold back a glacier/But she couldn't keep baby alive'. A nice bit in the middle where she hits out the lines with bashes at the piano and from that point it is a stronger and stronger build to a crescendo of overdubbed vocals and backing vocals. Ends as it begins with a repeat of the first verse and a return to the dark broody distorted vocals.
Cruel - Warm dance beat with industrial effects until Tori almost slurs out the first verse in a seductive drawl. Chorus 'I can be cruel/I don't know why....'. More effects, sounds like a motorbike starting up, a bit of scratching too. This song as an almost hypnotic feel as the chorus stays at exactly the same pace as the verses. Combined with the bass-heavy beat and breathy vocals - a very sexy song. Ends with much breathing into mike and siren-like wailing in the backround.
Black Dove (January) - 'She was January girl..'. Very quiet, understated build up here with sublte synth/piano backing. Sort of a double chorus with a refrain of 'Black dove/black dove/you're not a helicopter.....Black dove/black dove/you don't need a spaceship' in a similar gentle tone to the rest of the song which is then immediately followed with a huge crescendo, ripe with loud piano of 'On the other side of the galaxy/on the other side of the galaxy'.
Raspberry Swirl - Twangy guitar intro and then we are almost into techno territory! 'Let's go!' Tori proclaims and the beats pick up. A rousing dance number than it sure to get a massive remix treatment. At times it is slightly reminiscent of some of the stuff on the Garbage album,especially with some fuzzy distorted vocals, but it is a fairly tenuous comparision. This is unmistakable Tori with lush overdubbed backing vocals. Hard to see this one being performed behind a piano - will she get up and groove when she does this live? An almost anthemic stomper.
Jackie's Strength - Perhaps a more familiar Tori sound. Gentle, fragile piano and light strings. '..the wedding day/shots rang out/the police came'. The tune of the verses sound, in places, similar to a song called 'The Queen & The Soldier' on Suzanne Vega's first album. Not exactly alike, but you know when a song reminds you of another? A stunning lilting chorus accompanied by strings which get more and more prominent with each refrain. A song that could quite easily have been on Little Earthquakes. Beautiful.
iieee - My vote for best song title. Similar dance beat to Cruel. Not surprisingly a fair bit of wailing going on at the beginning. A repeated background refrain of 'iieee' if you can imagine that pronounced correctly! Takes a few listens to pick the song structure out of this but once it comes it is stunning. Not a linear song, lots of tempo changes and no verse/chorus structure. Rocks out in the middle with much industrial clanging.
Liquid Diamonds - Very quiet build up to another industrial dance beat - gentle though. Piano comes in over the top. It is a minute in before the vocals hit. Chorus has her 'nice fat cigar' barroom drawl in full effect. Another song that takes a number of listens before it makes itself known. When you first hear this album you will find it hard to recall this track but it does blossom with repeated listening.
She's Your Cocaine - Crunchy electric guitars with Tori's distorted vocals. This is a rock number if ever there was one. A song about the controlling influence of women - 'She's in control...she's your cocaine'. A little 70s piano break in the middle. One to be played extra loud.
Northern Lad - More straighforward love song about a northern lad she had, it would appear. 'Girl you gotta know/when its time to turn the page.' She seems quite taken with the 'way he bent his knees'. Turns a bit bitter with 'You don't show much these days/you get so fucking cool/loved the secret places/but I can't go anymore'. The word 'fucking' is almost spat out.
Hotel - Peculiar bleepy dance noises. First verse sung over the top and then the beats speed up and get more fragmented. Many tempo and vocal changes - distorted/wailing/breathy. Repeated refrain of 'Met him in a hotel/met him in a hotel'. I have listened to this dozens of times and am still trying to get me head round it. Challenging and experimental.
Playboy Mommy - It would seem that this is the song that deals msot directly with her sad miscarriage. With that knowledge in mind it is an immensely moving song and, at times, quite difficult to listen to. It is, however, incredibly beautiful. Brushed drums and piano with the vocals mixed very much to the fore. 'Then my baby came before I found/the magic help to keep her happy' and 'Don't judge me so harsh, little girl/you got a Playboy mommy'.
Pandora's Aquarium - Last song and a return to a more familair piano/vocal combination. Perhaps the only song that could fairly receive the familiar Joni Mitchell/Kate Bush comparisions. Threatens to build to a crescendo throughout but actually stays at the same pace and gently fades away with breathy vocals and fragile piano notes like raindrops.
And there you have it. I haven't remotely done the album justice but I hope this is useful to many of you. Overall I think the album could be the best thing she has done. It has many very immediate and instant tracks but also has a number of gems that only appear after repeated listening. It is also a definite progression. She is experimenting more vocally and also with different dance beats and tempos but it is still very much a Tori album with the elements I, for one, love. Never flinching from a challenge and often demanding and difficult 'From The Choirgirl Hotel' never disappoints.
For your information my copy has a cover where Tori is pictured from behind lying on a sheet of glass so her hair and skin and clothes are all flattened and squashed in places. The background is black and the title runs down the left hand side in white lower case lettering.
Once again, I hope you enjoy this review. I am happy to answer any further questions if you mail me direct.
Hope you love the album when it comes out.
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