Many thanks to Lucy
for this review! This is a syndicated type of review that was also
printed in other newspapers, such as the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel on October 31, 2002, as well as the Los
Angeles Times on October 27, 2002.
*** (3-stars), Epic
Surviving trauma has
always been a theme for this singer-songwriter, and her seventh album
is no exception. But as the collection's title figure encounters
myriad characters while making her metaphorical way across the USA,
Amos focuses less on registering anger and hurt and more on seeking
solace and love.
ultimately finds both within herself is also a typical Amos lesson,
but, literary devices aside, "Scarlet's Walk" reveals the
eccentric musician's heart as more generous and unguarded than ever.
Although she was inspired by the feeling that Americans saw their
country after Sept. 11 as a wounded being rather than an abstract
concept, she forgoes collective soul-searching for a
characteristically intimate, personal take.
Most strikingly, she
eschews histrionics to sing with empathy and soothing grace. The only
slightly discordant notes are on the false-Messiah reproach
"Pancake." As the producer, Amos lets the piano-driven
tunes flow serenely into one another, with delicate threads of
electric guitar, strings and carefully placed percussion. The songs
interweave touchstones from her mother's Native American heritage
with scenes from across the country and myriad pop-culture
references. It's a lot to absorb, but Amos' gentle wit and sense of
constant reevaluation make "Scarlet's Walk" a curiously
moving journey toward inner strength. Amos headlines the Universal
Amphitheatre on Dec. 17.