Goldmine Magazine
September 11, 1998

Updated September 3, 1998

A review of "from the choirgirl hotel" appeared in the September 11, 1998 issue of Goldmine Magazine (Issue #443 with Eric Clapton on the cover.)

Special thanks to Daisy Melanie & Lenny Green for first alerting me to this. The article includes a large photo of Tori lying on a mirror.

For a woman that has no trouble expressing her views in a frank straightforward manner during interviews (the God of Christianity beong a frequent target of her scorn) Tori Amos can be downright inscutable when it comes to putting her stormy emotions into song. Most if not all of the song on Choir girl her fourth effort makes little if any real sense at all. Indeed amos seems utterly incapable of uttering a direct sentance. Though Amos has stated that some of these songs came out the sense of anger, pain and loss that she has felt in the wake of her recent miscarriage her modus operandi is set to specific mood be it anger or sadness without clealy articulating what is underlying that particular emotion.

In her favor, the music itself (anchored by Amos expressive piano playing) is often entrancing. She thrives on versitlity. amos voice is is an everchanging multifaceted instument which can soar to a thrilling soprano one minute, or convey a tart edginess the next. Her music constantly suprises--you never know what to expect from track to trackand theres not an ordinary moment within hearing distance.

Two of the less cryptic songs apper to address the loss of her child. On the mesmerising opener, "Spark", Amos questions the very existance of the creator ("if the divine masterplan is perfection, maybe I ll give Judas a try here) while the dense exotic iieee (the records best song) find Amos railing against the basic unfairness of her fate (we scream in cathedrals why cant iyt be beautiful why does there gotta be a sacrifice) She cant stiop asking the big question why.

Amos songs are rife with high drama On northern lad she laments lost love with a heart rending catch in her voice. Playboy mommy is is a sympathetic look at a trashy womanwhos fiercely committted to donig the best that she can for her child while Rasberry swirl pulses with urgency (though amos hyperventilating vocal sounds erotic the song appears to be a paean to the power of female friendship).

Amos slips up only once on Hotel, a noisy mess of a tune that reeks of self indulgence, something that, for all the records high wire emotional intensity, she manages to avoid everywhere else

--Tierney Smith

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