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Los Angeles Times
October 27, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

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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.

Tori Amos
"Scarlet's Walk"

*** (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.

That Scarlet 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.

Natalie Nichols

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