Click this logo to go to the Tori News 

The Orange County Register
November 1, 2002

Added Nov 3, 2002

 Tour Info
 Search / Map
 Entry Page

Thanks to Zach for this album review, which can also be found on

Amos wanders past the 9/11 blast
The Orange County Register

Tori Amos, "Scarlet's Walk" (Epic) - It's a fascinating, audacious outing, that's for sure: 18 songs - character sketches, personal reflections, social commentary - mirroring an inexplicably labyrinthine cross-country trek the flighty singer-songwriter undertook in the wake of Sept. 11.

What was she searching for? When it comes to Tori, who could say with any authority? Hazard a guess: Maybe the real America that television rarely shows? Proof that we're not as single-mindedly driven by revenge as we let on? Both are way too obvious and concrete for a woman who talks to angels.

The liner notes include a routing map to help guide you through the psychological foliage, and you'll need it, though it's doubtful even intrepid explorers will feel they're ever on solid ground during this epic beauty. It seems deliberately hard to follow, the languid, sophisticated musical approach blurring one song into the next (only the jaunty "Wednesday" breaks the mood), the enticing but maddeningly elliptical lyrics so abstract and off-metered you can barely pick out her punchlines.

Ultimately it's difficult to know which members of her cast she's addressing directly, which she's merely recalling to provoke thought and which she's fully embodying, for sometimes she manages to do all three in the same song. And maybe that's the point - that the faded porn star ("Amber Waves") and the American Indian forebears ("Crazy," I think, and definitely "Pancake") and the scarred lovers (they litter the landscape) and irreligious figures like "Mrs. Jesus," they all inhabit the same relatively small space you and I call home. And none of them seems terribly concerned with global terror. They have lives to lead, souls to tend to.

For as inviting as it is, "Scarlet's Walk" isn't an easy journey to endure, and like most road trips, it doesn't get really exciting until the car breaks down and the tension inside spills onto the highway. Once it does - starting with the seething "Don't Make Me Come to Vegas," on through the gorgeous "Your Cloud" (one of her saddest, most succinct works) and past the self- explanatory "I Can't See New York" - that's when it becomes a mesmerizing ride. Forget the Kate Bush comparisons that forever plague her; this is the closest she's ever come to a great Joni Mitchell album. (Amos plays Dec. 17 at Universal Amphitheatre.) Grade: B+ (Ben Wener/The Register)

Go Back To Articles

Go Back To ToriNews

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about The Dent. Email me (Mikewhy) at