Thanks to Josh for
sending me this review of Scarlet's Walk.
charts a soulful map
by Angela Pacienza, TORONTO
Tori Amos is consumed
with other people's stories. Volumes of intimate tales are stored
inside her head. The singer-songwritter, who startled audiences with
her 1992 debut by casting the sordid tale of her real-life rape to
the soothing sounds of a Bosendorfer piano, collected the stories
while touring in a post-Sept. 11 America.
After shows, fans
waited by stage doors to tell her deeply personal narratives about
loved ones. Others sent letters recounting anecdotes and memories
"that you don't say when tomorrow's coming," Amos, 39,
recalled during a recent stopover in Toronto.
"It was a time
in America where the masks were down, the makeup was off, the
resumes were blown away." Amos says their stories were spawned
from a spiritual source rudely awakened by the terrorist attacks.
"America itself came back to the round table with all the other
countries and realized that it was part of the world instead of this
isolated bubble," she said, gesticulating wildly. Her response
was to walk in another's shoes.Scarlet's Walk, the singer's latest
album, is a sonic novel that takes listeners throught an
introspective road trip across the United States in the aftershock
of the attacks. Amos was in New York that fateful morning, away from
her two-year-old daughter. The event caused the singer to pause and
reflect on her life, especially her new role as a mother. Afew
months later she lost a close fried, famed makeup artist Kevin
"From a national
world event to a personal event to just maybe as a writer realizing
that America is at a crossroads on every level, whether it knows it
or not," she said.
The concept for the
album was inspired by aboriginal stories sung by Amos's mother about
her Cherokee ansestry. Scarlet's Walk probes westward expansion,
porn culture and America's concept of democracy, throught the eyes
of a woman trying to find herself. "Scarlet's my character in
this. I get to hide behind her, I guess," Amos said.
"She's busy in
this...but there's a place of reality where she begins to see within
her travels that her fantasy of what a good day was , or a strong
relationship was, is changing. There is an impact that this has on
her, it does define certain parts of her. It's written on her body,
it's a body map. "
While the album is
rich with symbolism, Scarlet's trip can be actualized with any
Perley's road map of the United States. Traveling coast to coast,
some 4,800 kilometres, the album records Scarlet's many stirring,
romanticized encounters: the Mississippi River site of a massacre of
Apache people; Austin, Tex., where a Latino revolutionary is
fighting U.S. intervention in Central America; and New York, where a
woman tries to cope with a plane crash.
"The soul of
America and the native Americans made it very clear to me while I
was on the road that the time has come [for change] she's tired of
being misrepresented instead of Miss America."