MTV Web Site Album Review
May 1998

Added May 12, 1998

A album review of "from the choirgirl hotel" appeared on MTV's web site in early May 1998.

This review is available at MTV's web site.

Tori Amos
from the choirgirl hotel

If you're a big Tori Amos fan, then you don't really have to read this. Maybe you've heard some stuff on the Internet before anybody else, or somehow managed to get a copy of the album early. You knew you'd love this album and you were more than right. 'Cause you're a Tori fan and you are so loyal that no matter what she does, Tori can do no wrong. She speaks your language. She speaks right to your heart and you are only reading this review to make sure that nobody is going to trash your Tori.

Hey, loyal fans are nothing to sneeze at, and Tori Amos has managed to amass one of the most loyal groups of fanatics since the Grateful Dead. She must be doing something right.

Tori Amos is for girls what Metallica is for boys. Sort of a pure distilled female hormone on CD. A flowing ball of estrogen for the masses. This doesn't mean you have to be a lonely teenage girl to like her. But it helps.

from the choirgirl hotel is pure Tori, from the seemingly random use of capital and small letters in the titles of the songs to the imagery of pain and water. But somehow it kinda succeeds. She has a talent for sucking in the most cynical ears. Once you are in the depths of her floaty, piano-driven world it is hard to get out. She layers sounds in a way that makes it feel that there are instruments both far away and oh-so-close to your head.

The album starts with "Spark." Once you get over the opening guitars that sounds exactly like the HBO theme music, the song unfolds into a story (though exactly what it's about is a little sketchy) and Tori spins a web of words and music that keeps your interest in both.

The song "black-dove (january)" starts with a mystical piano part that really does sound like rain deep in the woods. When she later sings "by the woods, by the woods by the woods," the listener is transported with her to some fairy tale land. She uses techno beats and hard-edged guitars that groove in some offbeat land of time that works but you are never sure just why.

A little bit folk, a little bit techno, a little bit rock'n'roll -- there is something here for everyone. And whether you're a wispy girl or a weight-lifting boy, if you listen carefully you might just be moved.

-- Jay Blumenfield

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