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Las Vegas Mercury
November 14, 2002

Added November 27, 2002

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A positive review of Scarlet's Walk appeared in the November 14, 2002 edition of the Las Vegas Mercury. Thaks to Woj for the info.

Tori Amos
Scarlet's Walk

4 of 5 stars

The sparkling piano that guides Tori Amos' voice through "Amber Waves," the first song on Scarlet's Walk, is less an introduction to an 18-song story, and more an invitation to three distinct groups of people: those who have trekked on Amos' windy road of a career for the past decade, those who have strayed from the route and those unfamiliar with it. For the devoted, Scarlet's Walk--Amos' seventh album, also her Epic Records debut--is yet another example of artistic ambition from one of modern music's most complex and imaginative figures. For the fairweather, the album is a sonic return-to-form, her stripped-down, piano-accentuated sound replacing the more layered and electronic experimentations of her last three efforts. And for the uninitiated, it's a proper introduction, one that highlights Amos' attempts to find an audience beyond her cultish following.

Scarlet's Walk is Amos' most sonically focused work since 1994's Under the Pink. Using the narrative of Scarlet, a woman paving a divergent path across America, Amos explores the American experience--past, present and future--with equal parts self-reflection and universal perspective. In Scarlet's travels--each song is a different destination--we see this wanderlust vagabond searching for transcendence ("Amber Waves"), falling in and out of love ("A Sorta Fairytale," the current single), confronting her past ("Don't Make Me Come to Vegas"), witnessing tragedy ("I Can't See New York"), demanding historical accountability ("Virginia") and, ultimately, coming to terms with herself ("Gold Dust"). Amos speaks in her usual metaphorical language, but instead of using it for pointed confession or mythical ambiguity, she attempts to represent an entire country looking for its soul, or even just peace of mind.

The challenge in trying to communicate such social, geographical and emotional vastness is you risk losing yourself--just as Scarlet has. There's a tonal consistency that keeps Scarlet's journey from dead-ending, but as the melodies remain grounded and thoughts become compounded, the view from the window appears blurred. It's almost as if the narrative drive and transitory contemplation don't allow Scarlet to stop to smell the roses along the way; each story feels like a chapter, well-written and intricately woven, but less resonant outside the story's greater context. Scarlet's Walk is likely to elude less dedicated travelers, but anyone who ever got lost in a good yarn only to find himself by the story's conclusion will revel in its endless discoveries. --Mike Prevatt

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