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Daily Texan (via University Wire)
Nov 5, 2002

Added November 27, 2002

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A review of Scarlet's Walk appeared in the college newspaper the Daily Texan on November 5, 2002 and became available via University Wire. Thanks to Lucy for sending this to The Dent.

Tori Amos' grows brave with 'Scarlet'
By Matt Dentler, Daily Texan

If Tori Amos was going to decide to make great records again, she obviously didn't want to tell her old record label, Atlantic. After over a decade of making records with the company, she left and forged a new relationship with Epic. Her first album with the label, "Scarlet's Walk," is her first album since the 1994 smash "Under The Pink" that actually has something wonderful to say. Dismissing her early priority to challenge listeners, Amos now seems to have a stronger desire to be accessible. Perhaps this comes from the same new-major-label-deal pressures that force so many gifted artists to become watered-down. But in the case of Amos, adding water to her formula helps. Her songwriting is best when it's peppered with brevity, and her thoughts sound so much more glorious when she's minding her audience more than herself.

The first single "A Sorta Fairytale," may be ripped straight from the Jewel/Sarah McLachlan standards that Amos herself had been brave (and smart) enough to defy in the mid-1990s. While shunning Lilith Fair seven years ago may have hurt Amos' record sales, she was always one of the true pioneers of what made that musical movement work. Today, the Paula Coles and the Tracy Bonhams have exited the limelight, but Amos is still standing with one of her best albums.

As you listen to "Scarlet's Walk," the true and beloved Amos comes charging through each elegantly crafted tune. "Wednesday," with its funky verses and lullaby choruses, sounds like "Under The Pink" at its peak. "Strange" mixes the brooding of her strong effort "From The Choirgirl Hotel" with angelic bliss. "I Can't See New York" is the album's epic: a seven-minute journey of emotional sparks. It lifts off with dangling piano keys and Amos' voice harmonizing lightly before the song comes crashing down in a wave of keys, drums and Amos' tortured, lovesick voice.

At 18 tracks, "Scarlet's Walk" is a daunting listen and a bit overlong. Had she omitted a handful of the less-favorable tunes, this album would be a classic. As it is, it's more or less a testament to the inability of Amos to censor herself. So in a sense, it's brave without sounding stubborn, and that's something we've wanted from Amos for years.

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