The Free Lance-Star
A review of Scarlet's Walk appears in the November 21, 2002 edition of The Free Lance-Star, a newspaper in Fredericksburg, VA. Thanks to Woj for making me aware of it.
Tori Amos heads on a Scarlet walk
By ZAC MONDAY
Artist: Tori Amos
CD name: "Scarlet's Walk"
They are the places where we all have been, either bumbling around countrysides or racing through cityscapes. And they are places we all can find--that some say form the heart of all of us as Americans.
It is from these places that Tori Amos' newest release comes, pulling up in a car from a dirt road to pick us up. These places are our nation's back roads, the invisible threads that connect to each city as we circle around the red, white and blue haze.
Scarlet, an apparently fictional character who joins Tori on this "road trip" around our nation, gives us a different perspective, showing us different ways to experience what's always been around us.
Scarlet connects people from the farmers to the McDonald's workers, in a circle of endless acts--all in songs like scenes in a play filled with 18 tracks, ones that help us form a history of her travels from coast to coast.
Amos herself is aware of what forms America, having clearly mapped out a course to lead us through the different cultures of each state. From the background banjos to slumbering drums, Tori ties together a name for America.
In the beginning, we see a womb of songs filled with relationships--not only between two people, but between many people who don't directly get to walk in each other's shoes.
Here, they get the chance to see what's happening in areas they may never go. Scarlet, for instance, explores the fierce history of American Indians. In "Wompum Prayer," she sings, "Greed is the gift for the sons of the sons/Hear this prayer of the wompum."
She also flies out of the East Coast in "I Can't See New York." The journey continues through "Virginia," and the "Amber Waves" of Alaska.
She takes us through "Another Girl's Paradise" to "Don't Make Me Come to Vegas" in one swoop--a quick culture change to bring us into the truth, suffering and history that Lady Liberty begged us to learn.
Amos' lyrics are a stylized blend of the exotic varieties of the land--and the whispers of the people who once laid their footsteps in our homes. Lyrics like "Beneath my raincoat, I have your photographs, and the sun on your face/I'm freezing the frame" are characteristic of the imagery here.
Tori and Scarlet create a web for us to follow, a path across the watercolor blends of our nation. In "Scarlet's Walk" we get a sincere sense of dignity regained--a clear answer to what America is made of, and what we haven't noticed it can be.
And if it takes someone like Tori Amos to expose us all to our home, then we better listen up--it's a long dirt path until we get to the end of this walk.
ZAC MONDAY is a senior at Colonial Forge High School.
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