Toriphiles Christina Cielski, Danielle and Sean sent me a good review of that appeared in the June 25-July 1, 1998 issue of Electric City, a free alternative paper in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania. On the same page they have favorable reviews of Natalie Merchant's "Ophelia" and Heather Nova's "siren."
SOUND ADVICE by Mike Evans
No boys allowed this time! Tori Amos rocks!
FROM THE CHOIRGIRL HOTEL
Tori Amos is a rare artist in that she gets better with evey new release. While many strive toward this upward achievment, Amos actually does it. Her latest triumph is "From the Choirgirl Hotel."
As always, Amos is stunning; her vocals are uncompromising. She continues to play the piano with unabashed passion, although her playing does take a bit of a "back seat" on this album. Instead of being the only person on the stage, she's now the confident boss of the boys in the band. Guitar, bass and drums all get equal time forcing those 88 keys to fall in line as opposed to leading the pack.
Even though the disc's unfortunate inspiration was Amos' late 1996 miscarriage, her lyrics are still both insightful and sarcastically comic.
For example, the ivory tickling nymph can take a subject such as coming of age and look at it from both sides. "Northern Lad" is a forewarning. 'Girls yo've got to know when it's time to turn the page/when you're only wet because of the rain.' "Jackie's Strength" pokes fun. 'Stickers licked on lunchboxes/warshipping David Cassidy/ Yeah I mooned him once on Donna's box/she's still recovering.'
Choirgirl Hotel runs off in many directions while its focus is always rhythmic. "Raspberry Swirl" is a thumping dance track. Tori's patented wail gets funky on "iieee." Amos does her best salute to Elastica during "She's Your Cocaine." while the PJ Harvey-like "Cruel" buzzes and growls.
The recurring theme of strength overcoming tragedy runs throughtout "From the Choirgirl Hotel." Amos turns her most brash work into a celebration. She's jumping. She's dancing. She's saying "I'm okay." And we're all shaking our hips along with her.
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