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The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
October 26, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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Many thanks to Lucy for this review!

Tori Amos
Scarlet's Walk

AFTER last year's sporadically brilliant cd of cover versions, Strange Little Girls, Tori Amos has reverted to her own pen for this sprawling "concept" album. The result is a triumph of quantity over quality: at 18 songs over 70-plus minutes, it would have benefited from pruning. Though this might have compromised the integrity of her "theme", which concerns a coast-to-coast journey of discovery undertaken by the Scarlet of the title, it would have made for a more listenable and approachable album. Many of the tracks on this kook's tour of America drift by in a haze of sameness: mid-tempo, plangent, melancholy. Whereas Amos has hitherto been famous for the peaks of ecstasy to which her music can ascend, and for the churning, visceral depths to which it can plunge, here she seems content to cruise along in the middle lane, only occasionally putting her foot down (Don't Make Me Come to Vegas and Taxi Ride are particularly spine-tingling). This is not a bad album; it contains a wealth of truly lovely music. But its moments of greatness are simply too few.

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