Look below for reviews of Scarlet's Walk from Toriphiles, or fans of Tori Amos. (The most recently added reviews are posted at the top of the page.)
From BoyfromPele (Posted Nov 29, 2002)
So far I have gone through 4 copies of the album due to scratches and because i have probably listened to the album over 100 times by now, maybe even 200.
I am a huge toriphile, i've been a fan since '94. i'm beyond obsessed. fav albums are BFP, FTCH, and TVAB so for me I wasn't too impressed with the album overall although i do really like the concept. my favorite songs are: a sorta fairytale (w/extra verse only!), carbon, sweet sangria, pankake, i can't see new york (album fav), another girl's paradise, virgina.
favorite songs of all times by tori: precious things, concertina, blood roses, caught a lite sneeze, lust, bliss, spark, i i e e e, black dove (january), cruel, juarez, riot poof, datura, i can't see new york, crucify, god, real men, yes anastasia, the waitress, twinkle, etc.
hate it except maybe the chours
a sorta fairytale
so much better with the extra verse and possibly one of my favorite parts of the album
reminds me of rufus
i love this one, everything about it
hate this one too mainly because i am waiting for the chorus to bring more sound and make a fuller sound
LOVE THIS ONE!!!!! especially bridge
i can't stand this one
wonderfully strong voice
I can't see new york
my personal favorite
sounds too heather nova
another girls paradise
I like it a lot
overall: about 3 out of 5
From David O. (Posted Nov 22, 2002)
After being disappointed by Strange Little Girls, I wasn't sure if I would go out and buy Scarlet's Walk the day it came out. I had been hearing A Sorta Fairytale for weeks, and was getting a bit bored with it. I was afraid the whole album would sound like Sheryl Crow. But, in a leap of faith, I went out and got Scarlet the day it came out. A guy at the record store told me "It sounds like her old stuff!" "I doubt it," I thought.
Well, it doesn't sound like her old stuff. And it's just as poppy as I thought it would be. But, after a few weeks, I'm starting to love it.
It takes time to get into a 75-minute album. I still haven't made it through the whole thing in one sitting. But every single song on the album is growing on me. As well, the production is amazing. Every instrument -- with the exception of the drums -- sounds beautiful on its own, and even more beautiful in the mix. The drums just sound typical. But the over all sound is great.
As with all Tori albums, this one takes time to get into. But as someone who doesn't listen to pop music, I am amazed at how much I'm already loving it. I think Tori's created something very rare here -- a pop masterpiece.
From Jeannette Oravec (Posted Nov 22, 2002)
The first time I listened to the album I made the mistake of listening to it the way I listen to every album - song to song. I sat down next to my cd player and listened intently to each song. By the end, I felt like I was missing something and honestly, I was a little disappointed. Then I kept the cd in my player and had it on all the time, no matter what I was doing. That was when the "essence" of the album began to creep in. I must have listened to the album 10 or 15 times before I even glanced at the words. By then, I was totally in love with the album. It is a composite, and each entity or song brings something to the composite, so without one song, something is missing.
Then I listened to each song with the words to get to know the songs better. As I listened and read, the songs (and the album) took on yet another dimension and even more meaning. I began to love it even more. And by this point, I was absolutely convinced that this is the best album Tori has ever created, and I have been a fan since Little Earthquakes.
There are songs I don't really "get" yet or don't like. I don't much care for Amber Waves, it doesn't mean much to me. And I am not to a place yet in my life where I really understand Virginia or Gold Dust - not that I can't appreciate these songs for their lyrical and musical composure, it just doesn't yet have a place in my "being". Then there are songs I have been in love with from the beginning like Taxi Ride, Carbon, Crazy, a sorta fairytale, and your cloud. There are also songs that have really grown on me like strange, don't make me come to vegas, Sweet Sangria, pancake, I can't see New York, another girl's paradise, and Scarlet's Walk. I'm sure the others will come around in time :)
Next I listened to Scarlet's Stories. I would listen to the story and then the song. I still want to listen to Scarlet's Stories all the way through and then the album all the way through. And I still want to listen to the album through headsets to hear even more. I suspect with each listening, I will learn more and love it more.
I am also totally impressed with the creativity that has poured into the creation of this album and all the "goodies" we are given. As an artist myself, I applaud the combined efforts of everyone involved to create the entire package. I love going to Scarlet's Web and taking the journey with Scarlet, and reading the tour journal, and learning about the Native American tribes scattered about the country, and looking at the map, photos, and dvd. It's all so exciting and a little overwhelming, but mostly extremely well done!
From Scott Bates (Posted Nov 19, 2002)
I thought "Strange Little Girls" sucked. It's not that I don't like it when she does covers, just why did she choose THESE covers? Most of the songs were to my ears, devoid of the kind of melodies I am used to her playing. Her choice of material was awful.
How glad I am that this time around she has chosen to write her own material and write material that is melodic again. Scarlet's Walk is a return to her style, though a little more commercial than before . Although I loved the experimental "Venus" album, her return to more piano based music is nice. A little more poppy and accessible this time around, but not as commercial as I would expect as for her move to Epic Records. I have been pleasantly surprised how much of a cohesive album this is and can pretty much listen to the whole thing without skipping too many tracks. The theme of the record is unimportant to me, but I can definately tell that the stories were inspired by her Cherokee grandfather and thus the lyrics seem more personal this time around.
Favorite tracks: Carbon-nice melody and great tribal feel, Your Cloud-haunting, gorgeous, almost jazz-like.
4 out of 5 stars
From anna ham (Posted Nov 19, 2002)
Amber Waves: This is a song about a porn star. Yes, a porn star. It's also about how stupid the porn industry is for exploiting women. I could be wrong here, but I think many people have figured that out already. Then again, whenever Tori does something that has to do with current social issues (rape, feminism, etc.), it sounds new and fresh.
A Sorta Fairytale: I love this song, although some Tori fans have said that it's too "radio-friendly" and it's "selling out". One person on a Tori-related message board was even so quick as to say that they liked this song, but they listened to it in the way that they would listen to an 'NSync song. This person, I feel, hasn't given this poor little song a fair chance. Wait -- I don't like Tori's song "Agent Orange", and a lot of other fans do, so who am I to judge? Oh, screw it. I'll judge if I want.
Wednesday: I think Rufus Wainwright deserves at least a "thank you" in the liner notes for his stylistic contributions to this track. So he didn't write the music for it, but this track happens to sound a whole lot like "Cigarrettes and Chocolate Milk" on crack, mixed in with gelatinous guitar chunks of the theme song from Shaft. On another note entirely, this track just doesn't feel right unless you actually listen to it on a Wednesday.
Strange: I didn't like this song when I first heard it (gasp!), but, like black mold grows onto bread when it is left to age in a dark cupboard for a few months, it's grown on me. It's a nice, slow song -- very good for dancing to. Alone. Yes, alone.
Carbon: This is where things get a little weird. Currently, I'm nearly failing Chemistry, and the fact that Tori mentions at least two elements of the Periodic Table in this tune made me think that she was trying to communicate with me through her music and/or through the Periodic Table of the Elements. Once I realized how much I liked this song, though, it made me forget about all of my conspiracy theories involving this song, Tori, and my Chemistry grade.
Crazy: Another song that was tough to get into at first. But, once I listened to it about 600 more times while dancing around in my kitchen with a floor mop, it attached to me like a bloodthirsty leech and hasn't let go since.
Wampum Prayer: This little gem holds the record for "Shortest Tori Song Ever", in that it is exactly 44 seconds long. Again, I thought that Tori was trying to communicate with me; we're studying Manifest Destiny -- I like to call it "Manifest Density" -- in my US History class, and that is exactly what this song is about. Ah, the great, bloody, ass-kicking history of America. And with the President killing more innocent people overseas every day, we'll have even more bloodshed for our nation's future children to learn about in Social Studies class!
Don't Make Me Come to Vegas: The funkiest piano line this side of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London". Okay, maybe not. "Precious Things" is still the funkiest Tori piano line, in my opinion. This track still totally rocks, though; the lyrics manage to conjure up images of strippers, casinos, neon, and seedy Vegas hotels with rooms that always smell like cigarrettes, even if you get a non-smoking room, goddamit.
Sweet Sangria: Makes me want to go out with friends to a seedy diner in the middle of absolutely nowhere, order a virgin strawberry margarita, and waste all of my money playing Ms. Pac-man against some greasy biker all night.
Your Cloud: Sort of sounds like something you would hear while cruising the sale racks at Nordstrom looking for striped pants. But, oh, it's so much more. It's pretty, the lyrics are wonderful, and it takes some getting used to. I didn't like this song when I heard it the first time. Then, when I was sitting on my couch and reading Fast Food Nation for the fifth or sixth time and had the album on my stereo, I suddenly realized how much I liked this song.
Pancake: This song seems to be about a cult leader. With guitars, a Rhodes, and lines like, "You could've spared her oh but no. . .Messiahs need people dying in their names," it seems pretty fucking obvious, doesn't it? Paging Jim Jones, Tori's ragging on your ass here, buddy. Since it has to do with cults and gets down to the funky bizniss, this is one of my personal favorite songs on the album.
I Can't See New York: Powerful stuff here. This song is the sensitive yet sad antidote to Alan Jackson's majorly America-centric, trying-way-too-hard-to-look-like-I-care-because-I'm a-big-country-star crapaganza "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," as well as Toby Keith's war monger whoop-ass mating calls to those Bush-lovers of the US of A.
Mrs. Jesus: The token "Tori song that has something to do with Christianity" of Scarlet's Walk. Even though the lyrics are a little cliched at times and the piano line isn't the best she's ever penned, ol' Tori makes up for it in spirit. Meaning, essentially, that she has faith in this song and wants it to succeed in life. It's the little song that could! I think I can I think I can I know I can. . .
Taxi Ride: Tori gets even funkier here. A good song to listen to when you're stuck in traffic and really, really need an escape. Or when you're really, really bored. This song puts me in a good mood when I'm studying for a math exam, and not many things do. Give me all the hot fudge sundaes, new CDs, and cult-related jokes you want -- chances are, this song will still make me happier than all of those things combined.
Another Girl's Paradise: The chorus of this song makes me want to start my own coven of witches, go to the forest, and sacrifice a hot young virgin (male) to the Gods for some reason. Alternately, if fine young guy is not avaliable, dancing around by myself and screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs has proven to be a helluva lot of fun, too.
Scarlet's Walk: Creepy! If M. Night Shalayman (that guy who directed The Sixth Sense. Yeah, remember him?) had directed Gone With the Wind (or perhaps a remake starring Courtnet Cox as Scarlet and George Clooney as Rhett. . .frightening!) this would be the theme song. Well, it should be. And Tori had better be in charge of the music, gal durnit.
Virginia: If you put System of a Down's "Aerials," the live version of "Bells For Her" and what a Frida Kahlo painting sounds like into a blender and made an iced treat out of it, this is what it would sound like. And you'd sure as hell need a nice, cold beverage to keep you from fainting from heat stroke during those hot Virginia summers, wouldn't you?
Gold Dust: Oh, the final song. It's pretty. It's also sad. When I found out that Tori's December 21st show in San Francisco was sold out -- after trying to get tickets for an hour, thank you very much -- this was the song I had on repeat while I was on the floor, curled in fetal position for two hours and bawling like a loser. But, by some sort of miracle, I got tickets for the December 20th show, and this became a happy triumph song.
From Mark Levine (Posted Nov 19, 2002)
So this one is something else, huh? I found myself sitting on the couch, with the rain outside the window, listening to this on my headphones, following along with the lyrics, spacing out now and then on my life and the state of the world: something that a Tori album hasn't really done for me since Pele. I remember getting an advanced copy of Pele and listening to it in my car, riding through darkened suburban streets, with chills go up and down my spine. The emotional strength and ingenuity of Tori's first three albums created a powerful trinity on the search for self from interior issues to dealing with the external world and its joys and disappointments, leading back to the self. They formed a soundtrack to my life, filling in all my emotional blanks. They are permanently grafted to the environment and atmosphere of that time.
When Choirgirl came out, I was late in my college years, and although I accepted this album into my emotional life, it wasn't due to the album itself, but more to the reassuring sound of Tori's voice. I was confused, Tori was confused, the album was confused. We still fit together. I moved to New York and To Venus came out, and I listened to it, knew every word, knew every melody, but it was more like a breath then a powerful wind. It came and went and sits on my shelf. Strange Little Girls was the first album of Tori's that I cared very little about and not because of the lack of original material. I felt her "concept" was heavyhanded and the experiment a bit of a glorious failure. I had no time for it. I did see her in concert shortly after 9/11 at the Beacon, and she was amazing. Part Banshee, part Angel, she comforted, excited, and disturbed me all at once.
So I wasn't altogether out of the Tori fold, but I certainly was a bit hedgy about the whole affair. Had I outgrown her? Has age and motherhood sapped her creativity as it has with so many artists as they grow older?
I heard " A Sorta Fairytale" online about a month ago and was horrified. Not to bring up the specter of Jewel , but this song sounded like it could be used on the Dawson's Creek soundtrack. Bland vocals, cliche melodies, that deathly adult-contemporary percussion. Needless to say, I was not too excited about the upcoming album; what I had heard of the concept sounded like Joan Baez-style heavy handed politico-naivete. And yet I was drawn to Virgin Megastore on October 29. I went to the listening station and put on the first track, "Amber Waves." Pretty, okay, fine, yes, what! What a hook! On DVD and magazine, she did what? Did she say every boy's wet dream? And here's comes the Northern Lights bit...and my hopes began to lift. I skipped Fairytale, and went right to that gem of a ditty, "Wednesday." Now here is a song that would have been on a B-side long ago, but here it is track 3. My foot's tapping, Tori's vamping on the keyboard, singing in that "Life's a bitch, ain't it?" kind of lilt. This is one of those songs that I think I'm gonna get sick of, but I doubt it. There's an element of Mr. Zebra and a touch of Past the Mission going on. I took off the headphones and bought the album.
It took some time, but I have come to understand and like Fairytale. I still think it's characteristic of the one major issue of this album. Although I think Tori is a fine producer, and this album has a clarity and fluidity that I haven't heard in quite a while, there is a monotonous quality and a dearth of compelling orchestration.
The percussion is at times exciting, but generally, in an attempt, I assume, to be subtle, the percussion, strays too often into that bland, keeping-the-beat soft rock sound that just undermines the complexity and beauty of the melodies and vocals. Moments like the flute underscore in the superb "Mrs. Jesus'" only make me wish there were more moments like it. But this is a minor concern and I digress. Fairytale, like many songs on this album, relies mostly on its lyrics. These lyrics are by far the most clear and lucid since Little Earthquakes. It's a great story of a song, and I imagine would be great to hear on a car radio. So, good single choice.
From the beginning of "Strange", i get a strange deja vu that doesn't leave me throughout the album. In fact it only intensifies on the final song, "Gold Dust," whose chorus I swear I've heard before...On Strange, the question, "When will I learn?" sounds like something...the chords resolve in ways that feel alarmingly familiar. And yet, it manages to sneak past being derivitive, and instead feels natural and inspired. These strains of melodies that I know i know, seem like a collage of pop hooks and riffs, and you clearly understand that Tori is a master of the idiom. She is able to make them sound entirely original and newly powerful. It's exciting. I really like this song. I move on.
"Carbon" begins with typical Tori piano doodlings, a smattering of drums, a giggle of bass, then..the beat picks up and we hear a driving rhythmic landscape, the percussion occasionally slapping around. Ghostly back up vocals float above a deeper core of more jagged singing. I hear a choppiness reminsicent of "Marianne" , the 'weasel squeaks' part. It's too soon to even guess what she's getting at here with the lyrics. "Carbon-made only wants to be unmade" I could wax rhapsodic about that for a while, but let's not.
Okay, this intro to "Crazy" is so annoying. I end up liking this song, but this whining "Jacki's strength"-like bullshit is too much. Again, come the soft-rock drums, again undermining the lovely lyrics and melodies. This sounds like a Y Kant Tori Read song. But I love the chorus. " I let Crazy take a spin, then I let Crazy settle in."
"Wampum Prayer"- yeah.
"Don't make me Come to Vegas"- I love the bass in this song. In fact, the bass throughout this album is wonderful, reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius on Joni Mitchell albums in the mid 70's. She sounds like she's having a great time. Jacaranda is a great word. There is something so assured and sassy about this song. That "over my dead body" bit. And finally, with this song, she doesn't end it with this long protracted note that wavers and cracks into silence. It just stops. Nice.
"Sweet Sangria"- Organ intro really sets tone on this one- elements developed on choirgirl really come to fruition in this one.
The next song is so wonderful. "Your Cloud" is a wedding dance song. Until that chorus about the Horizontal line, I keep humming that part. It's so directed and controlle and mature. She says like it is, no need to get upset. This song is so articulated, her phrasing is really assured.
"Pancake" - is one of those songs that I respect her for making. But again these sewer like bass lines, boring percussion, gurgling organ, ragged vocals, are getting a bit monotonous here. And again, the lyrics are really the saving grace: when I can't keep my interest in this song, i listen to what she is saying and I like what I hear. It's nice that Tori makes you work a bit. So I guess I'm undecided. Maybe this semi-monotonous sound is good in that it makes the listener really listen. Of course, like most Tori albums, the songs begin to differentiate themselves with repeated listenings. So maybe this all moot. "I ordered you a pancake"-Oh Tori...you and your non sequiturs.
Well this is really long already so I'll wrap it up, but I love Virginia, and Mrs. Jesus....ok, that's all..
From Erik Williams (Posted Nov 19, 2002)
Hello. mmm-k here's my review of what I am more and more finding out to be one of Tori's greatest masterpieces. Although I was hoping for a bit of a return to a more "Pele" style (more Tori, less electronics) this album is just brimming with tasty tidbits and subtle beauty.
"Amber Waves"-this song just screams '70's porn era. I love the idea of the northern lights drowning. This song really brings out the character of Amber Waves and the pity I feel for her situation is genuine. I totally dig the chorus.
"a sorta fairytale"-I love this song. The drum beat is arresting and it is melodically beautiful. The edited-out third verse is probably my favourite part of the whole song along with both versions of the bridge. It is deceptively simple and I truly enjoy the minimalist piano.
"Wednesday"-I think this is one of my favourites. I dig the groove and the song in itself, though about dark parts of the relationship wars, makes me want to giggle and say "hey, just go drink some wine, it'll be ok!" I'm thinking "Mr. Zebra."
"strange"-I love this one too. It is dramatic and sweeeping in its sublteness if that makes any sense at all. Relying on simplicity and darkness to convey a mood of shocked discovery that things aren't the way they at first appeared to be. as Tori says, "the masks are finally down." I think, although I am a frontline detractor of electronic pianos (prefering acoustic by margins so wide i think I need an airplane), the mellotron sounds of the Rhodes in this one really suit it.
"Carbon"-the lyrics in this song are some of the most poetic on the album. the metaphor and imagery evoke true experience. It is a cold song, meaning you almost feel the cold breath of wind while standing at the precipice trying to convince this troubled girl not to become "un-made." Love the reference to her conversation with Neil Gaiman about a possible song called "Snow Glass Apples." Neil apparently loved the song and told Tori she HAD to make it. He would not accept no for an answer.
"Crazy"-I am not particularly fond of this one. I find it a little cliche, a little cheesy and a little beneath Tori's talent. However, it does evoke images of a late night drive down the highway with highway signs glaring in the headlights. Very Nostalgiac.
"wampum prayer"-although this is the shortest song on the album, I think it is one of the most important. This one truly connects with the idea of continuity of thought flow from one era to the next. I can almost see this being chanted by a shaman.
"don't make me come to vegas"-I love the latin groove to this piece. I'm thinking tequila. you can really feel the exhasperation in Scarlet's voice at the thought of having to come back to this place where she doesn't want to be because her niece has made some bad decisions.
"Sweet Sangria"-my first thought in this one is "The Waitress." the first time I heard this one, the chord progression I heard in the verse I recognized as that from "the waitress." Is Tori repeating herself? I don't think so. So much of this album is about where we've been and where we're going. I think that on Tori's own journey, she needed to subconciously revisit some of the places she's been to form a point of reference. almost like an archemedian point. I find the chorus to be a little long in this one. I could do without the second half, leaving it at "Yeah, what you think about that." But that's just me.
"your cloud"-this song is so dreamy. it floats. kind of hazy, like overcast. it's one of the moments in the album to sit and reflect. I see tori as scarlet on a train looking out at the passing landscape through a rain beaded window.
"pancake"-this song is an enigma to me. everytime I hear it I pick out something different. I kind of equate this song to "God." Sorta calling out the character in the song and saying "listen, what's the deal?" It feels like an absinthe trip dripping with poetic lyricism.
"I can't see New York"-I still have to listen to this one a few more times. I am put in mind of Bowie's "Space Oddity" although I am not entirely sure why. It seems to be one of her epic pieces and I think with more listening I can bridge the gap to it. I am still a little distant and kinda going "is that a bird or a plane?"
"mrs. jesus"-I wish I had written this song. It truly captures the ideas of religious fanaticism and I think awareness of that sort of thing is extremely important in this New Age.
"Taxi Ride"-this song grooves. I love the duality of the first line "Lily is dancing on the table." When coupled with "we've all been pushed too far," you think of some woman who has just snapped, dancing on the table. but then you think, wait. this is a funeral wake for a dear departed. Lily as in the flower dancing in the breeze drafting in through the open parlor doors. then you just feel sad. I also love the line about the glamourous bitch being in need and knowing the honey from the killer bees. dripping with thoughts of betrayal and redemption.
"another girl's paradise"-I love the change in the chorus with the hook "does it all come down to the thing one girl fears in the night." This song sounds big and is full of classic Tori ideas of woman verses woman and the stealing of thunder.
"Scarlet's Walk"-probably one of the most interesting songs Tori has created. I love the intro and the pre-choruses. I wonder if these are the same violets as in Cloud on My Tongue. Instead of harmonic reference, tori makes lyric reference to her past creations.
"Virginia"-I think this one is directly related to "Bells for Her." From the opening and closing piano riffs to her repetition of "not even you can" a la "not even you can stop what's coming..." The themes of both is very similar as well. If not sisters, first cousins definitely!
"gold dust"-if Scarlet's Walk is one of the most interesting, "gold dust" is one of her most beautiful and touching. The sheer joy she feels at the birth of her daughter is blatantly apparent and you truly feel touched by the fond observation of "where does the time go." Love the string arrangements, especially the tritone-sub used between the second verse and the beginning of the first chorus.
over all, I have to say I am impressed. though most songs are not as lyrically complex as some of her earlier work, they still require some thought which is something I have always admired and enjoyed about tori's work as well as something which I try to utilize in my own song writing. I have to say kudos to You tori and what's next. BRING IT ON!
From Soultrading24 (Posted Nov 19, 2002)
ok I think I am ready I have been wearing this album out since Ive gotton and most recently seeing Tori in atlanta was driving around listening to it for hours. It's the best album I think since chiorgirl altho I did like slg this is from her soul and this is what I think of her babes
does anyone think it kinda sounds like pandora? anyway I like this one but kinda worn out on it so I mostly skip it.
a sorta fairytale
the best single since caught a lite sneeze! it's wonderful! I didn't realize the whole concept of the song at the very first listenings and I think the origianl version paints a clearer version of whats going on. great song!
come on everyone loves this song? right?
reminds me of my ex! it's great
like it! sorry to not see this one done live it's kinda wearing thin now cause all the other songs coming forth
I got the sampler so the songs on it I kinda skip but I leave this one on. theres extra guitar or something in it that gives it that extra kick it's classic Tori and you know she loves this one! I like 7&8
this is when the album starts to really kick ass! I love this song! it has that whole western feel to it right? it's great love the line It matters now to you and me what you belive in. this one was only at it's best in tampa where she went nuts at the end
one of my faves! it's one of those Tori ballads where she doesent have to be mushy it just comes from a place where it just is beautiful it doesnt have to be anything else.
classic I really liked it on the sampler and it is a strong voice for the album
I can't see new york
great song! classic! wonderful! lyrics are great! I really havnt been having the best time of my life this year and I think this song to me means your in a really dark place in your life and looking for a way out!
somone on here said this one should be taken off the record but I can't see it not being on here! good song.
sounds good to me. and it's for kevin!
another girls paradise
good song! lyrics are good and I like the meaning behind it.
one of my faves I guess Tori uses someone else's voice for the background vocals??? wow I never heard of her doing that. I love this song!
this is my fave right now! theres just something about the sound and the lyrics and her voice it's like Tori where have you been?
I know everyone loves this one and it is growing on me too!
this whole album is just classic sorry I'm not at reviews! so hope you don't hate it! I love this album!!!!!!!
From Chris Sommers (Posted Nov 5, 2002)
One word comes to my mind when I think of Scarlet's Walk, and that word is complete. I have never in all my life heard anything as complete and fully visualized and understood as this album. Everything fits together perfectly and there are no showing seams or flaws. Each song goes with the other. If you listen to it from beginning to ending, it's as if you have just watched some sort of bizarre movie that has made you feel every emotion possible.
Asking to name a favorite would be impossible. I think any Ears With Feet would agree with me on that one. I would give a blow by blow of each of the songs, but instead I will just name a few (okay, quite a few) that stand out to me.
Obviously Carbon is a favorite of all of ours, and I totally agree. Don't Make Me Come to Las Vegas and Another Girl's Paradise are great songs as well. But I think three girls stand out the most on this amazing record, and those are the title track, I Can't See New York and Virginia. I Can't See New York is a completely ferocious song. It wants to be endearing but I find it to be very much the opposite. The song Scarlet's Walk is a terrifically gothic masterpiece. The lines "I will follow her on her path-- Scarlet's Walk" are perhaps my all-time favorite Tori lyric. And then there is Virginia. On first listen I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't until I listened to it for the second time when I understood how truly remarkable it is. It's a fantastic song all the way through, but when it comes to the near end of the song, around the last 45 seconds where Tori chants Virginia over and over again, that's when it gets remarkable. I don't think I've ever heard anything as haunting as this and ever time I listen to it I have to stop whatever I'm doing and just sit there and close my eyes and go away with the music.
So clearly, I love this record. I love it just as much as all of other Tori's works, if not more.
From Justin (Posted Nov 5, 2002)
damn, she's a genius! let's get right to it...[please bear in mind that these are only my opinions, and they do have a tendency to change drastically from time to time]:
good introduction song. the lyrics, in their clever duality, really pull you into the story, tempting you into and preparing you for "your journey." the chorus is catchy enough, not too strong, not too weird. i think i finally like it.
a sorta fairytale.
the logical choice for the first single, although the album version's extra verse and stunning last bridge [which, with every listen pleases me to no end] are what truly make the song. it's signature tori. i've had a while to get used to it, but my appreciation for this song never declines. great roadtrip song.
this song proves that great things come in small packages. one of the more complex dishes on tori's menu, it jaunts across your palette. the melody and tempo shapeshift deliciously, while the lyrics leave a bittersweet aftertaste.....goes perfectly with coffee or beer.
i much prefer this one live -just the piano and tori. sorry, but it does at times sound cheesy -not that it's not a beautiful song, i just don't really care for the production. tori gets a demerit for the unnecessary use of a drum machine [i know it's not one, but it may as well be]. in fact, i could do without all the excess production. this is a simple, beautifully written song -c'mon tori, let's lose the makeup and let its natural beauty shine through. although as far as potential single talk goes, i must admit that i do think this song has more commercial appeal than 'crazy.'
god, what can i say? i truly feel like i'm skiing when listening to this song. the stunning echoing effects, tempo changes, instrumentation, and of course the incredible vocals, propel me forward, and there seem to be trees and rocks coming at me, cold air rushing past my face as i slice through the snow....this is a song that you don't just listen to, you experience it. it sounds like the illegitimate child of siren and concertina. "ribbons of lithium", "where the world bleeds white", imagery just pours from the lyrics and tori's beautiful, dream-like delivery -all accented perfectly by the production. if there were any justice in the music industry, and assuming that the masses could accept the complexity of the lyrics, this song would be a single. and there would be a remix or two. and a video.
i had heard this song previously, and its listening value has much appreciated in its new context. it is a good song. "first let's just unzip your religion down"....great line. definite long-drunken-roadtrip-on-an-overcast-day,-lazily-rolling-along-with-a-sprawl ing-monochromatic-landscape song. but as aforementioned, i just don't hear the marketablity[if its not a word, i just made it one] in this track as a single.
kinda hits me as a throw-away song. it isn't long enough/interesting-sounding enough to be acapella and still hold its own on the album. yet of course i can appreciate the beauty of tori's voice...unadorned, but shining brightly.
don't make me come to vegas.
i really dig the groovy, desert vibe. this song is strangely and pleasantly relaxing. it demonstrates what a master of diversity tori is, with some of the best lyrics on the album. "over my dead body..."
one of my favorites. also tastes of the west. the drums and percussion are hypnotic, with hints of 'liquid diamonds' and the doors. this song drips of sex and sorrow. her voice is like a velvet ribbon, weaving its way across the landscape, slave to the dry desert winds. and the ending is
okay, i stick by my contention that the piano in this song makes it sound like lounge music. "hello i'm tori amos, and welcome to my lounge act....i'll be here till saturday, and i take requests." with an oversized brandy snifter sitting on her bosey....i'm not saying that its not a pretty song -her voice and the piano drizzling like the rain....i wanna hear this one solo. "stiffler is a horizontal line!"
yum. more hints of the doors woven into it, this is a signature tori song. the lyrics, her voice, the music.....all creep around you like a swirling mass of smoke. i love this song. i want to marry it.
i can't see new york.
so i can definitely see why some are drawing pink flyod parallels with this one. its haunting beauty is growing on me. more atmospheric than 'spring haze', but definitely a relative. i have yet to be completely taken with this song, but methinks it's on the horizon. for now, though, i find i have to be in the mood to listen to it in its entirety.
why, tori, why? it starts off well, but once that damned "drum machine" [see above.] kicks in, i lose interest in hearing anything other than the live solo version of this song. although the production is clean, for me it's unnecessary. [flute + strings + "drum machine" = cheese].
a cacophany of confection, confusion, and catharsis, all in just the right amounts.
this is one of those quintessentially deceptive tori songs. while bouncing around to its infectious melodies, i'll stop in realization of the cutting lyrics. sure, it's not the most musically complex song in the world, but at least, unlike most super-catchy songs, it's got......what's the word?.....depth. if this song isn't the next single, i'll eat my car.
another girl's paradise.
there's nothing great about the beginning, but the chorus totally makes up for this song's flaws. great lyrics. try as i might, though, i can't help but hear "jasmine fucks me in her groove". the more i listen to this song, the more i'm drawn to it, even if her voice may sound a bit too precious at times.
another song in which the piano and vocals seduce you and then smack you across the face with a phrase that'll stop you in your cerebral tracks. and of course her voice is amazing. this is tori showcasing her vocal skills in a song that truly deserves and compliments them. the backing vocals, in their sparsity, accent the song perfectly. easily the best of her title-track songs, it leaves one in awe of its sheer beauty.
sorry to repeat myself, but what can i say, this song is also gorgeous. i dig the guitar. i dig the piano. i dig the vocals......her voice at the end and the spacey-eighties sound effects are completely breathtaking. as is the entire song. i often find myself listening to it multiple times in a row.
um, okay i think, like 'crazy,' i appreciate this song more in context. it sounds like a movie soundtrack song, and i can't decide if that more pleases or repulses. but for the first time on the album, the strings finally sound at home in and integral to the song structure. at first i didn't think it'd be good as the last song, but it turns out to be a near perfect closer.
stand outs: a sorta fairytale, wednesday, carbon, don't make me come to vegas, sweet sangria, pancake, taxi ride, scarlet's walk, virginia. [yeah, that's half the record. so sue me.]
hmmmm....'s: strange, wampum prayer, your cloud, mrs. jesus. overall, i think this album is a very cohesive listening experience. it has some of tori's most stunning vocals on it. although the mood and production have obviously changed direction, she definitely hasn't lost her knack for melodies, nor her ablitly to maintain that classic tori sound. the production is clean, --which can be both a credit and detriment-- and the sways toward saccharine excess were few and far between. it's unquestionably her most commercially accessible record, and thus perhaps the least experimental [yktr encluded, of course].
overall, i think it's an amazing album.
yep, tori never fails to intrigue, to entice, or to dazzle me....
[i didn't get into the america theme because then this'd be a novel, but i can't wait for the tour and am hoping a cover of simon and garfunkel's 'america' will make its way onto a setlist!]
From Ben Ruppert (Posted Nov 5, 2002)
There was no skepticism on my part when I embarked on Scarlet's Walk. I received the album a day late because by the time I got the little yellow slip from the post office on the 29th it was too late to take it in. So when I did get it, I was excited beyond my expectations. I first watched the DVD, which got me set up for the listening of the album. I popped it in my CD-ROM drive, and I heard "Well he lit you up like Amber Waves in his movie show". The landscapes and textures of this song thrilled me to extents that I can't quite place my finger on--somewhere up there on a little niche in my mind's sky. I swept through the west coast with Scarlet, from the radio-friendly (but uncompromising) "a sorta fairytale", to "Wednesday", and continued to traverse this path to "Wampum Prayer", basking in her bare voice, and the history behind it and the words. "Sweet Sangria" has a wonderful contrast between the discordant and strange vers to the infectious chorus, "Balmy days, sweet sangria.".
This path that Tori Amos has created is beautiful: its holes are filled by starkly blunt insight, and sometimes left to be examined. The foliage is lush, filled with her harmonies and intense piano riffs. One can smell the roses, the foxgloves, the irises, but, for me, it was first taken in as a whole, letting the sounds, smells, sights, and all senses of America be presented by Tori and her perspective.
One of the most impressive tracks, musically and lyrically, is "I Can't See New York". It seems as though if one were to write a song about September 11th that it would almost definitely come out as something painfully clich&Mac218;: for after the first few weeks, it seemed as though all that could be said had been said. Until Tori decided to put her view on the matter, and did it as a storyteller, giving a voice to those on the plane. And the fact that she was in New York the day it happened gives it even more credibility.
"Another Girl's Paradise", made me sing at the top of my lungs with Scarlet and Tori and the song's shift from Major in the verse to minor in the chorus. And then "Scarlet's Walk". There was no shield to protect me from this song. It hit like an unexpected storm, and I found myself on the verge of tears, with its profound and aching refrain "I will follow her on her path/Scarlet's Walk through the violets".
By the time I got to "Gold Dust", I was a wreck of emotions. I wanted to sing these songs with Scarlet, and I wanted to walk with Scarlet again, and be elbow-in-elbow with Tori again as I was when I heard the album. I was filled with a longing--a longing to be touched by things in the way that Tori was touched by these things, these objects and feeling that we call America.
A path of wisdom and originality, of history, of insight, of understanding and open-mindedness provide the perfect terrain for venturing across America--Tori's America. This is her creation, her standing. And, thanks to a beautiful girl named Scarlet, Tori has done so much more than talk like others, she has talked like herself, like Scarlet, and she has walked: Scarlet's Walk.
From Kev Lannigan (Posted Nov 5, 2002)
I am secure in reviewing this album, because I know my way around the music industry by now, and I have absolutely ANALYZED Tori Amos' career.
This is definately a solid piece of work
but don't get too cheeky fellow Toriphiles
Yes, she seems to move from "tragedy to tragedy
Yes,her responses to direct media questions such as "What do you really think of your fans", or "Just what are really trying to say?" have gotten more obscure and more purposefully evasive over the years (Whatever happened to her "Tell it like it is" attitude from her shining, glorious Little Earthquakes days?) I know some of the most seasoned Toriphiles know that Tori Amos never actually answers questions, she just knda talks
but let us not forget that this Tori Amos has given us some flawless musicianship from each of her albums over these years
I never really bought into the concepts of To Venus and Back or Strange Little Girls, but those albums gave us rubies like "Juarez", "Josephine", and the breathtaking version of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" It was never really a question of whether or not Tori Amos has talent, it was a question of just what her real agenda was?
Is she trying to take over the alienated youth subculture (Which is really quite cruel), or is she actually trying to help people by venting? At the very core of it, I think the latter is true
Scarlet's Walk is another one of her albums where they promote it as this big spiritual thing, but honestly, its just a really kickass record
I was most impressed by the beautifully structured, radio-friendly "A Sorta FairyTale", featurig that beautiful, "I'm angry-but-in-ecstacy" voice of hers, (a rather underappreciated voice, ifI don't say so myself)
The most pleasing thing about this album is the VERY apparent Native American influneces on here, as well the Bjork digital choir renderings. The choruses of Tori's are everywhere in this album, and will pleasantly haunt you for days. Harmonies that will haunt you for days, I swear. Also note that whoever Nancy Shanks is, these two women where MADE to sing beautifully together. It's a shame no one really notices just how perfect the two voices blend together that make that gorgeous resonant tone
Also gone are the non-sensical lyrics, yeah it was great that some of the lyrics left you guessng, it made it that much more personal, I know, but when she goes "Luna Reviera", you have to wonder.
These lyircs will cut straight to your heart, so fast you'll have to hit the rewind button just to reassure yurself she atually groaned out "misogynist homophobe" unforgivingly (the groovy, kickass "Pancake")
Trademark Tori Amos balladry (a talent record execs have recognized and cherished in her for years now) find themselves beautiul in "Strange" (what a beautiful march this song does) and "Goldust" (don't be surprised if it wells up and makes you cry, many of these songs do that to you)Like I said, everyone was so caugt up in what she was SAYIN, including her fans, that no one really saw just how goodshe is at craftng catchy melodies. She was a child prodigy fter all, a Mozart only in a different media
While I'm talking about the music, some of these songs suck. Like really bad. After creating beautiful, heartbreaking, ear tickling melodies, the woman will cut thm up, stop them, ad take the song in an entirely different direction (most notibly on the title track Scarlets Walk, in which she launches into a moving "I will follow/her ON her path/Scarlet' Walk/Though the violets" and then completely stop). The abscense in the piece is very recognizable and VERY frustrating when we all know that some of these songs have moments of pure beauty.
Other highlights are Mrs. Jesus (but it also has irritating breaks in the structure), Crazy and Sweet Sangria.
What I want to talk about is Taxi Ride. Personal to me because I know of the story (Kevyn Aucion) and also because I'm gay.
It's about DAMN TIME SOMEONE sang about the troubles of homophobia, and this song totally changed my life. We always knew Tori would speak up about it, and she has my utmost respect.
This review may seem negative, but its not. I will finish by saying Scarlets Walk is thoughtprovoking, beautiful, and IS the DEFINATIVE FOLLOW UP to that beautiful masterpiece called Little Earthquakes.
From tdisanto (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
First of all, This is the first cd I have bought in over two years. I normally do buy music anymore when I can get it for free. Being such a huge Tori fan I wanted to buy the DVD enhanced cd to unlock the scarlet web page. I enjoyed the packaging and the little "extras" such as the lizard toy and stickers. I think some of Tori's best music peaked on Pele. The tracks were all hear felt and come from a place of hurt and darkness, tapping into her personal feelings. The first listen I wasn't really digging the whole thing.... but I have come to love many of the tracks. I am curious to see how this songs will be played live. After last year tour, I am not sure how tori will connect at that intimate level on this tour. I felt she need to reconnect with her fans last year and went on a solo tour. So I think this album is better than the last three.
From kristen/beekept (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
many fans have cited this work as tori's best since pele. I agree, but I also concede that this album wouldn't be possible without the three previous - without experimenting with a band, tackling more public and/or accessible topics, and walking [sic] in others' shoes. certainly tori's personal growth and changing lifestyle have left their mark on her music, but even setting biographical knowledge of tori aside, I find myself viewing FTCH, TVAB, and SLG as stepping stones on the way to Scarlet. the depth, complexity and maturity of the album seem to indicate that these songs have been percolating inside her head for longer than even tori herself may recognise, looking for an outlet.
tori has never been shy with new instrumentation and musical textures. from earthquakes to pele, we've heard drums, bass, guitar, and even a dulcimer, backing vocals, a prepared piano, strings, winds + horns, harpsichords, and let's not forget that bull. FTCH still struck many as new, because tori foregrounded the "band" sound and feel. on tour, she alluded to her brothers behind her as a sort of rhythm machine, and acknowledged that she now had to pay more attention to that pesky thing called tempo.
still seemingly enamored with the band idea, tori released TVAB, a combination of one disc of new material and a live disc featuring some of the old girls in new clothes [ie - remade for performance with the band]. a good portion of the new material had a pop flavor, and catered to more public issues - the 80s as a collective experience, and the tragedy of the kennedy plane crash. since she had new elements like the band and electronic samples to support her in both recording and performing, these releases let tori sit on top of the sonic stack - focusing on the lyrics and vocals, which were both stunning - but leaving something to be desired with respect to cohesion.
then of course, there was SLG. a foray into social commentary through music, a "concept album," a "cover album" - whatever you want to call it, it was quite an exercise. tori took apart other people's songs and put them back together again in her own ways, keeping the original lyrics but substituting a female voice and point of view where once there was a male's, often resulting in drastically different moods. SLG is striking and brilliant, but again, lacking in continuity.
now, scarlet's walk. another concept album, but here the concept is a unifying force. what is america? what have we done and where are we going? tori offers up eighteen songs, almost as diverse as eighteen different americans, as an answer, even though we have one guide/narrator/imagined protagonist named scarlet. but scarlet is an alter ego of tori's, and tori is the guide we've had all along. the girls have always been individuals, and scarlet's girls [as opposed to pele's, who held hands and let off emotional steam; or venus' girls, who were all in the same room but avoiding conversation with one another] have locked elbows and dared to say that which had gone unsaid. with scarlet's walk, the chordal/harmonic depth, rhythmic and stylistic diversity, and adroitly layered vocals converge in beautiful musical richness.
wednesday combines bouncy country with 70s flavored funk and a slower, starker, gently reflective refrain - without a hitch. wampum prayer reminds us of the sheer power in tori's voice, evoking both her previous acapella pieces and somehow [perhaps through her own bloodline] simultaneously channeling the voice of the native American people. carbon is a dynamic journey, climbing up a snow-covered slope with a hand drum and piano chords, then plummeting back down at breakneck speeds on the skis of intricate harmony, eventually coming to an exhilarated and flushed stop. I can't see New York nearly defies exposition, as the song itself seems to convey the whole spectrum of emotions triggered by the semptember 11 attacks - its poignant piano work and shocking guitar chords melt together in a truly breathtaking manner. "I will follow her on her path / scarlet's walk through the violets," tori sings on the title track, in what is easily one of her most moving refrains. the keening at the beginning of the song invokes the ghosts of america's past, the struggles of the settlers and natives alike. the piece stands as a tribute: "If you're a thought / you will want me / to think you / and I did." finally, gold dust situates scarlet and the listener firmly in the present, in their own lives - jumping back from macro to micro. no matter how often you look back or pull out those old pictures from your coat pocket, you will always be you, and moving forward. enjoy what you have - the end of every journey [or album] marks the beginning of something new.
From Kevin (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
I'll admit I was skeptical about purchasing Scarlet upon hearing the 6-song sampler. To me, the songs sounded over produced, not anything remotely close to a Tori classic. Alas, I did not let the fear stop me, and was I ever pleasantly surprised. Tori has finally done it; she has matched the creative genious both musically and lyrically to her original smash Little Earthquakes. All 18 tracks fit perfectly together in a harmony of loss, love, and hope. Tori's harrowing vocals seem reserved on tracks like "Crazy" and "Another Girl's Paradise," but she makes up for it with the powerful grit of "Pancake" and the festive toot of "Wednesday."
We all know Tori is a tad eccentric, especially when describing her own music. Personally, I'm not understanding this as a "concept album." The songs fit well together, sure, but they sound equally as impressive on their own. Perhaps Tori made the cd too well, surpasing even her own expectations, I know it exceeded mine. To me, this cd is no more of a "concept album" than Little Earthquakes was.
To pick a favorite song would be like choosing a favorite star in the sky, there are so many beautiful ones with unique attraction. If forced, I would have to say "Your Cloud" is my favorite song. Tori's vocal is hidden behind a jazz like sense of passion and desperation, yet she finds herself within the chorus. The music is to die for, make sure to listen to it with candles! Other highlights on the Walk include "Carbon"- A percussion dream, "Don't Make me Come to Vegas"-A cheeky tune brighter and more amusing than most neon lights, "Taxi Ride"-A bit mainstream, but still a pleasant pick-me-up in a train of mellow songs, and "Virginia"-The chocolate surprise center of the Tootsie Pop. Though the album finds Tori in a new grounds as a rising pop-star, her sensual timing and lovely mixture of harp strings, piano keys, and red hair makes for her best album since her debut.
From Joseph Barnes (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
With Scarlet's Walk, the depth, feeling, and genuine passion which has been largely missing in Amos' work since Boys For Pele has finally and gloriously risen back to the surface. Thankfully, Amos again a presence in her own songs. Whatever From The Choir Girl Hotel (or, Amos's Traveling White Elephant and Fire Sale'), To Venus And Back (admittedly, on which there was a lot to admire) and Strange Little Girls were supposed to represent, they're past us now.
Listeners will hear a kaleidoscopic mix of influences and musical references on the eighteen songs*from Kate Bush (especially on I Can't See New York,' the album's Hello Earth'), Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, and Laura Nyro to Three Dog Night and Maria Muldaur. But what makes these songs special is that, more than anything else, they sound exactly like Tori Amos songs the listener has never heard but has somehow already imagined, or known well, and loved, perhaps in dreams; this is not mere hyperbole. Several songs, including Strange,' Don't Make Me Come To Vegas,' Scarlet's Walk,' and Gold Dust' are songs, however new to us and beautiful, that we somehow already know and cherish.
Scarlet's Walk is also Amos's most outreaching record thus far: Amos seems determined to connect, to offer these songs to listeners in easy and friendly fashion. Amber Waves,' A Sorta Fairytale,' Wednesday,' Your Cloud,' and Taxi Ride' are warmly-felt, uncompromising, yet still extremely palatable and ear-catching.
Strange' and Crazy' are the most perfect 3:05 and 4:23 minutes Amos has yet committed to record; Mrs. Jesus' would have fit in perfectly on Boys For Pele, and Wednesday' on Under The Pink. The ghostly, driving, seemingly fatalistic Scarlet's Walk' may remind some of Stevie Nick's Sisters Of The Moon.' A Sorta Fairytale' proves that Amos can write a great top-40 hit without compromising a whit. The evenly controlled Your Cloud' is every gorgeous ballad ever written by a women rolled into one, and walks a careful tightrope over saccharine without ever lapsing into it. Scarlet's Walk also moves in many new directions, including several cuts underscored by subtle jazz rhythms and intonations. Throughout, Matt Chamberlain again proves he is Amos' vital secret weapon in much the same way that Roger Fisher was to the Wilson sisters on the first two Heart albums. Amos's production (and the arrangements) are immaculate (if a little safe), particularly on the vocal harmonies; Amos has rarely sounded better than she does here. Some fans may find the beautiful but certainly unsubtle orchestration on Gold Dust' a bit too heavy and overwhelming for the fragility of Amos's lyrics and vocals.
If Scarlet's Walk has any weaknesses, it's that, if listening to it without knowing Amos's intentions or having read the numerous prerelease articles, only A Sorta Fairytale' and Gold Dust' really suggest that the tracks represent a song cycle reflecting a journey, especially one across America in the early 21st Century. Unlike Joni Mitchell's traveling-by-car-across-America album Hejira, which was probably a partial if perhaps only semiconscious influence on Scarlet's Walk, the songs here fit together musically like pieces of a well-oiled puzzle, but there isn't a terrific sense of lyrical unity or much to suggest they've been garnered from the American landscape. Some of lyrics are remarkably plain-spoken, but as often as not they're as obtuse as any of those on Boys For Pele, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Every song here works and works magnificently. It's also welcoming to see the sort of graphics Amos has chosen, and that she's willing to publically align herself with America, questioningly or unquestioningly. It's been a long time since she's presented herself straight-forwardly as a human being and a woman. It's likely that the Tori Amos fans love best is the unadorned Ms. Amos, electronic toys and body armor aside. Fans should welcome her, and Scarlet's Walk, with fully open arms.
From Megan Dougherty (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
I went and bought "Scarlet's Walk" on Tuesday morning like everyone else.. I got the limited edition and once I got it bakc home I loked at all the cool things inside and watched the TV.. The only song I'd heard is "A Sorta Fairytale", which I instantly fell in love with.. While watching the DVD, I wasn't that impressed with "Taxi Ride" or "Gold Dust".. I waited 6 hours before I listened to the album, and I did so while driving to school. I didn't have very high hopes for this album (considering I really didn't like "Strange Little Girls, and I never had a favourite Tori CD, except maybe for TVAB). I put the CD in my car and "Amber Waves" hit me.. I wasn't too impressed and starting thinking this wasn't going to be that great of an album.. ASF came one and I started to get excited.. I've been listening to Scarlet's Walk for almost 3 days straight, in my house, in my car, before I go to sleep, while I'm working.. This is my absolute favourite Tori album, and I never dreamed I would say that (since I just really started listening to her in 1998)! I always thought she had a pretty voice, but I always wished she would make some songs that woudl still have the piano, but have more of a beat and a few more instruments. Having said that, I love scarlet's walk! The first time I heard it, I thought all the songs sounded too similar, and there wasn't enough definition between them.. But now, I can tell that each song is different, and very well constructed, and they can all really stand on their own. The only song I'm not wild about, and try to skip is "Wednesday". I just don't like it that much. My favourite Tori song is now "Another Girl's Paradise", it's great! The whoel album is really fantastic! The instruments, her vocals, and the piano all come together so nicely and coherently that is makes for a truly amazing album..Tori has never sounded better, and her peformance and the lyrics are exceptional. I found the whole album to be very strong, but also very relaxing. I personally think that "I Can't See New York" is the perfect song about what happened on 9 / 11.. It's subdued, but compelling, and not at all what I expected. It's so beautiful and has become one of my favourites on the album. I didn't like the beginning of "Your Cloud" but the part where she starts singing "if there is a horizontal line", and all the layering vocals comes in, make this song really wonderful.. The title track is eerily great in the beginning, but you know you're hearing something special..The only song I'm not sure about is "Mrs Jesus", to me, it sounds too much like UTP or something, and I'm not sure where it would fit on this album, but I still like it. Tori should be very proud of herself. I know I am. This is probably my favourite album of the year, and Tori really really outdid herself! All Toriphiles should be proud!
From Natashia (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
The music (The notes) are hypnotic and beautiful, however the lyrics are very vague, and that as always is the annoying area of Tori's work. The DVD video in the box set is also fairly meaning less. It really has no point, and watching Tori making a bunch of her (Im really dreamy, mysterious, and cute) faces gets old fast. I think they could have released the video airing on VH1, for a sorta fiaere tale, that would have been cool. The editing on the DVD disk is lacking as well. Super 8 is cool to look at though. I really think the marketing for this project is weak and boring. However the fake Polaroid's are kinda cool. But Id skip on the silly cheap jewelry charm. That would be nice for a middle school kid. Tori is a interesting women. Im not really sure how someone can self promote herself for years on end though. Its a full time job for Tori, to preach Tori, I am sure.
From Howard (Posted Nov 3, 2002)
There's a sense of liberty and deep expression within Scarlet's Walk. Everyone knows its roots...a deep concept formed in the mind of the one and only Tori Amos. Although odd and far from what most humans' minds could create, we're lucky to have Tori's mind constantly working. What other woman would take the positions of the women in songs by men? Who else has created a guide map and polaroids to their tracklist? I myself had no idea what to expect. Sure, I had listened to the 6-track sampler because I can't wait for anything. This was beneficial. I probably would not have been as excited if I had waited because I would have expected something as weak as Strange Little Girls. But this music was like none I had ever heard before.
Scarlet's Walk, to me, is more than a concept album. Very few CD's have supplied envisionment material. I have always loved females who create music that is honest and intelligent, but when you are taken to another level, that's plain orgasmic. I see things when I hear the album. I see the route "Scarlet" has taken. You can actually step in her shoes and see what she saw. Sure, you can have different takes on things. For example, I see that the girl in Amber Waves (or Amber herself) is a gorgeous porn star just as Tori describes, layered in makeup unknown to her before. The 'sorta fairytale' is on the 101, and I see Tori's hair blowing in the wind and driving. I am beside her, taking notes. I am on the plane in "I Can't See New York". I taste the sweetness of "Sweet Sangria".
It's all just an amazing experience, and probably one of Tori's best pieces of work to date. Nothing will ever compare to the power and richness of her first three releases, but that's usually how it works with any artist. I haven't heard one bad Tori album to this day, not even Strange Little Girls. She's an artist who will continue to possess amazing talent and capabilities. Scarlet's Walk is a terrific album, and I can't wait for the tour.
From Strangelttlgrl2 (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
I am just totally blown away by this album! After the first spin of it, I just sat there...I couldn't speak. This is by far her best album since "Boys for Pele". I have been a Tori fan since Pele, and that is, I think, the only album that can at least compare to this one. Every song on SW stands as its own, but yet ties in together somehow.
The lyrics are definitely the focus on this album, with the music not far behind. I can't believe the growth and maturity on this album. It seems like with a new record label, new baby, and a wonderful husband, Tori is starting from scratch. Kinda cleaning the slate and getting back to the basics. So much though has gone into every song, and it shows.
I like the fact that Tori spreads the love around by not just strictly using the piano. And the band sounds great! I can't wait to see them live. I did hear the 6 song sampler for this album. I was kinda disappointed at first. I can see where critics got some of there harsh comments from, after hearing that. But when you put the girls in their place with their sisters, It was like hearing them for the first time! Each one has its place. They all play a role in this piece of work.
I am, so far, not following this as a concept album. I guess I haven't let that in yet. I need to be able to understand them as sperate first, before i pack the car up for the road trip. The album has so much to take in and is very consuming in different levels. I have to take my time with it, I'm a bit slow...lol.
I already have so many favorites on this album. I can't choose one as the best. There are so many reasons to love each song, its hard to pick a favorite. But I guess i'll ramble the ones I love so far...Carbon, Sweet Sangria, I absolutely love Your Cloud, I Can't See New York is positively breathtaking. i get chills everytime i hear it! and last but not least, Gold Dust. I am taking this from another review I read on here...: "If Tori decides to end her live shows with this one, there won't be a dry eye in the house!" that explains it all.
Ok, wrapping up my rambling, This one sits as its own masterpiece. So much has gone into this album. Tori has takin' a trip for us, she has once again opened my eyes to things i have never questioned, in my life! There isn't much more i can say. Forget the bad comments some reviewers have made. Final comment, Scarlet's Walk is a masterpiece of many levels!
From Fiona Bradley (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
And so it was that I had come to view Tori, metamorphosis seeming complete with the release of "To Venus and Back". No longer the chanteuse, needing only voice and piano to create magic. Now, the cacophony of instrumentation had drowned out even her Bosendorfer.
I do not see myself as a "Little Earthquakes" only fan, but my partner is (well, let's be generous, LE, UTP, and a little of Pele). His two, whispered questions after I first listened to "Scarlet's Walk" were -
"Is there any doof?"
And there was not, and he was pleased.
I see Scarlet's Walk as the album that will bring many of Tori's fans back to the fold. Although I think Tori made many wonderful experiments with her work on Pele and beyond, I don't think it was always true to what Tori wanted to do. Piano struggled to be heard above dance beats, lyrics ceased to be understood in any form. But a change in record labels, the birth of her daughter, have brought us Tori's most personal, honest and complete work since at least Pele, if not "Under the Pink".
Perhaps surprisingly, the best track on the new album is arguably "I can't see New York". A simple, yet powerful work, it tackles the emotions surrounding September 11 without politicising, or evangelising, or over-hyping, as attempts by other artists have done.
"Wednesday" harks back to Pele, a wonderful, swirling tune dancing between "Father Lucifer" and "Doughnut Hole". "Strange" is simply beautiful, "Don't make me come to
Vegas" equally so. "Virginia"! Oh, Virginia. Secreted away near the end of Scarlet's journey, a sublime surprise. "Carbon" sees something akin to Tori' s live sound finally arrive on CD.
Like all journeys, there are times when we are tired, we want to go home, don't much care for whatever we'll see on the road from here. And I feel this way about "Sweet Sangria" and "Your Cloud".
All in all however, "Scarlet's Walk" is a stunningly coherent work, both in concept and in instrumentation. There is something for every one of us.
From strangelittleguigo (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
sonically speaking, i think this is one of the best albums ever. the songs flow extremely well into each other.
already old school tori fans are saying that this album, again, is not what they want from tori. one fan told a friend of mine, that she wished tori would get divorced, lose the kid and get angry again. well tori was never really "angry". she stated that rori wasn't playing the same type of music.
this is true. her music isn't the same. scarlet's walk is not little earthquakes. it wasn' meant to be. tori grows in personality with each experience. the growth then comes out through her songwritting.
the album has a very maternal feel to it. the songs have a very warm glow to them. i think this is mostly due to the the use of the middle piano keys, and also to the warm guitars that weave around her vocals. her voice also seems much warmer and almost more alive than on strange little girls.
songs like wednesday and don't make me come to vegas remind me of rufus wainwright's piano style. i wonder if he had an influence on the album. they are very caberet styled.
this album seems to appeal to all tori fans. for the old school tori fans she has seemed to incorporate more piano onto the album than she did on tvab.
then for pele fans we have tracks like carbon, which is reminiscint of the non-lp track siren. then new school tori fans will find the same firey lyrics on songs like i can't see new york that we did on choirgirl.
the novel album has one of the best hooks ever. amber waves is a toned down dressed up masterpiece. to me, its dorothy from the wizard of oz dressed in an evening gown. when i heart it i wonder if the marianne from pele would have become the woman amber.
the next few chapters are masterfully crafted. though our attention is more than grabbed tori keeps on the edge of our seats. the paces change, and there is a bit of mystery as to where they will taken next. they wind through the very western movie bar song sounding wednesday and the outstanind carbon (which features some of the best drums matt chamberlain has ever done) to the slow crazy.
then comes wamum prayer, which to me is almost an editors note, or aside to the audience. it seems to be completely indendent of the songs around it, yet with out it the album wouldn't feel whole. the old old thread seems to run thorughout the album. wampum prayer seems to be the entire thread collected into one instead of 17.
every song seems to be a hi-light.
i can't see new york though, seems to be the center of the album. the other songs draw your attention to it. they point. icsny is yes, anastasia, beauty queen, and juarez blended into a lull landscape where "no lines are drawn".
keeping in novel form, i feel as though the climax of the album is located in the song, another girl's paradise. this song upon first listen was the most difficult for me to connect with. i'm not sure why, the song is quite a wonderland of lush sounds rolling over and over onto each other. but after hearing it apart form the flow of the album. just skipping to it and repeating it, i realized its subtle power. like a southern lady, quiet yet immensely powerful and knowing.
the album then winds down with scarlet's walk. being a gone with the wind buff, i was immediately interested in whether there was any ilitteration to the book/movie on the album and was so happy to find there was. the important things have already been mentioned, htough, so i won't repeat them.
then we have virginia and gold dust winding us down to the end. slowing us to a gentle emotional stop.
this novel/album is something that will surely spellbind me time and time again. i pray there is a sequel.
From Larry Hirsch (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
The first time I had the opportunity to listen to "Scarlet's Walk" was on a drowsy, rainy, foggy day in which I was barely functioning on 3 hours of sleep. I heard it in my friend's truck on our way back from Houston, ecstatic that I'd gotten the album early and impressed greatly by what I'd heard --- but way too mind-numbingly sleepy and unaware of being able to fully absorb the album upon a first listen (the way it should be). I remember thinking, "God, I really love it! But I'm still devoted to Pele." I went to work zombie-like from sleep deprivation, but still glad I'd been able to hear the album.
Work dragged on even more than it usually did. I was almost to the point of lapsing into a coma, but still wired due to my excitement of having "Scarlet's Walk." When it was time for me to leave, I drove straight home, grabbed my CD and portable Walkman, lit up a cigarette, and sat on the porch listening to it. The fog was still thick, mist surrounding our house in an impenetrable haze, and as corny as it sounds it made the peerfect atmosphere to soak in the album (other than sitting in the middle of a desert). Yes, I know they're too complete different environments, but one of the beauties of "Scarlet's Walk" is that (for me, at least) the overall vibe of the album fits both to a tee.
All I can say now is that it took one complete, full listen for me to change my mind. I was once a "Pele" boy; like so many other Toriphiles my heart and soul belonged to "Boys for Pele." Nothing was ever going to cahnge that --- "Pele" was a part of who I am, and that's that. As I listened to "Scarlet's Walk" --- the music, the lyrics, the vocals, everything --- I realized that "Pele" is who I WAS, not who I am now. (To think, I've been that pretentious for so long! Then again, pretentiousness IS a common trait in most Toriphiles --- look around at the faery wings during her concerts if you want proof.) "Scarlet" has undeniably replaced "Pele" as my all-time favorite Tori album ever, with the latter running second.
There is not a single song I dislike on this album. That is a first for any Tori album, even "Pele" ("Talula" never really hit me until a year ago). There are songs I love more than others, but there's not one track that I skip as I listen to it. Even the two weakest songs ("don't make me come to vegas" and "mrs. jesus") are stronger than the ones I've disliked from Tori in the past, and as they come on I feel no need to push the forward button on my Walkman. The album and its themes of light and dark, oppression and suppression, political hypocrisy and internal hypocrisy, genuine bravery and false patriosm, along with its many other explorations into what many don't care to face, really strike a chord somewhere within me. I've been suffering from a depression for a long time now (cue the violins), and this album lifts me out of that. I applaud Tori for not creating another "Pele," or another "choirgirl," or another "earthquakes." Every album is different in its own way --- the sound, the lyrics, the "messages" --- and as she grows I feel we must grow with her if we truly are devoted fans.
That's not to say that we have to like every album she makes simply because she's Tori. There are some people so obsessed with her that they actually scold themselves for disliking certain albums or certain songs and force themselves within time to start liking them. This is not the case, nor is it the way it should be, in my opinion. I highly value any negative opinions of the album (other than the biased, personal vendetta that "Entertainment Weekly" seemed to hold against her in their skewered, enigmatic review), and i respect anyone who feels differently. However, I feel that this is the most mature, most cohesive, most fluid, and richest work of Tori's career. As with Bjork and "Vespertine," I believe that Tori has finally reached her zenith, and if she makes a better album after this I might possibly turn heterosexual.
My friends and I are always road-tripping (usually juanting to San Antonio, Austin, or New Orleans), and this album reminds me our "greasy spoon" IHOP kitschy endearing road trips. The majority of these songs remind me of my three friends Liz, Bonnie, and Willis.
Out of 1-10, in case you're interested (I wouldn't bem if I were you), this is what I think of each track:
Amber Waves --- 9
a sorta fairytale --- 10
Wednesday --- 10
strange --- 10
Carbon --- 10
Crazy --- 9.5 (it has really grown on me within days) wampum prayer --- 9
don't make me come to vegas --- 7
Sweet Sangria --- 10
your cloud --- 10
pancake --- 10
I Can't See New York --- 10
mrs. jesus --- 8
Taxi Ride --- 10
another girl's paradise --- 10
Scarlet's Walk --- 10
Virginia --- 10
gold dust --- 10 (my favorite Tori song EVER) Operation Peter Pan --- 9
Some people may think, "It's too early to judge how much you really love the album," considering it hasn't even been released a full week yet. I believe this to be true for some, but there are times when you see something or you hear something and you know it's love at first sight. This is what happened to me with "Scarlet's Walk" (actually, it was love at second sight on four hours of sleep).
Well, that's my two cents.
From Jessie/DarturaRabbit (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
First and foremost, I am going to write this review as an objective fan. It is impossible for me to be harsh in my detail, and as an artist, a dancer to be exact, I look for the artistic drive of others in their products. That said, a brief note. (Stay with me here, I promise we'll take the long road but the destination is worth the view!)
I find that all art is important. There are two deciding factors in what makes art appeal to certain people: their experience, and their passion. A person with no passion can look at art and with experience, take it apart and put it together without finding a shred of meat. A person with passion and no experience tends to go on at length with no real hard conclusion in their appreciation. I think the final product of all art is a combination of these two as well.
That said, a word about me: I am a native Californian; for my sophomore year at college in Connecticut I had to travel by bus, across the country, through many, many states, and some odd if not memorable experiences. Absently I thought "One day, I should write a book about this." Leave it to Tori to chronicle another passage of my life musically.
Her work is masterful. I'm sure you'll agree. Not one of you wouldn't be a fan if you were not touched by the music. The albums read as other mediums, "Earthquakes" is a diary, "Pink" is a painting, "Pele" is a novel, "Hotel" is a collage, "Venus" and "Girls" are scrapbooks of sorts, and now "Scarlet's Walk", a masterpiece, a map.
I think of this as a new beginning for her. Her first new album for a company that so far has put her more into view than Atlantic ever did, and it shows in the finished product. Sublime and deep, this is a walk that will go many miles.
(I bet you thought I'd never get to the review!)
The album, as all her previous ones, is wonderful overall. Not every person will say each album is flawless, as we all have our tastes, but each of you can agree that there is much to be respected in each volume. "Walk" is no exception. From the open track "Amber Waves" who is a reluctant leader of the pack, we are already treated to an aspect of this.
She DOESN'T want to go on this walk, in part because she's afriad it will unsettle her. This makes "Waves" more poignant when you realize that by the time she wants to turn back, she has forgotten her fear. "a sorta fairytale" which is a perfect first single, is the first of these ideals that gets challenged. Who doesn't want to believe in love at first sight that lasts forever? She learns not all is as we wish it to be, a hard lesson, but the first she acquires. She runs though her first string of lovers, and as a new passionate girl feels the pangs of jealousy and suspicion ("Wednesday"), and regret ("Strange").
On her travels she comes to the aid of old and new friends thoughout the album; Carbon, don't make me come to Vegas", "Taxi Ride", and begins to unearth her own history, embedded in the lost hills and plains of America, buried deep with the serects of a history stained with the sweat of the innocent, written in the blood of the conquered. (This is also referring to the deaths of many white people as well, I won't go into the racial subtext of the history of the US, image how long that would take). Her journey takes her to fear and angiush ("I Can't See New York", "Scarlet's Walk" "Virginia",) and finally to redemption (Gold Dust).
This walk is in step with many after the 9/11 tragedy, the birth of her daughter, the loss of her friend Kevin Aucoin and the success of her new label. This is a lot to get into an album. (Imagine your own loved ones, experiences and how long an album you'd have if you put them all down.)
Musically, Amos again takes big risks. This album undoubtedly has the biggest pop feel of them all. The arrangements call forth the lush greens, hard beiges, rusty and hardened reds and golds, delicate whites and violets. There was a lot of love and care put into these, and it makes for a harder time for the fans who favor Tori Grrrl, while for the newcomers, it takes them in and sits them down at the table easier.
I myself hated Boys For Pele when I first heard it in 96, and loved Venus when it came out. (Ducks the knives, chairs and dirty looks being catapaulted his way) I didn't have the experiences that helped me understand the art. The passion was there (Caught A Lite Sneeze) but it would take nearly three years before I could listen to the whole album. When I did, I agreed it was a centerpiece of her work thus far. I can understand why so many Tori fans are having a harder time taking in the new sound.
Musically the piano is not the centerpiece, but the family has grown, much as Tori's own has, to include many other people that enrich it with their own special flavors. The Rhodes and Wurley get lots of playtime here, and that is great. They each give the song a different feel that is nessesary in this journey.
The songs themselves are amazing. Each read like those little bronze plaques that get placed on monuments, giving a brief glimpse into another place and time we may not have been to, and by them we are that much more experienced. There are moments of soft clarity, the most powerful being "Wampum Prayer", a brief song, almost a tone poem, that sits in the center of the album, almost a revelation in the noise of the journey. A quiet spot to realize her own mortality. These moments often seen in her best songs "Baker Baker", "China", "Here. In My Head", make Tori the driving force in music she is today. Be kind to Scarlet if she should cross you on her path, because although you may not realize it, you are on your own walk, while she is on hers.
PS. If you want, I'm ALWAYS ready to talk Tori, I live in Long Beach CA, and am ALWAYS happy to hear from any and all local ears to discuss....AOL IM is JCJedii Thanks for letting me ramble on! "I Was Here"
From Holly (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
In my opinion, this is the Tori album that I have been waiting for since Choirgirl. To Venus and Back was filled with wonderful songs and concepts, but there didn't seem to be a sisterhood amongst the songs. As for Scarlet's Walk, I honestly do not know where to begin. Tori has managed to surprise me and blow my mind all at the same time. I think that amongst the strong vocals, percussion, piano, and most importantly the lyrics and concepts, that this could very well be Tori's finest piece of work. Don't get me wrong, I never thought that anything could replace LE and UTP, but Tori has grown and evolved into a musician that I had never forseen. Not only was there the thrill of looking through the stickers and matching them to songs, there was the feel of myself being Scarlet and moving from song to song so carefully along the map and feeling what she feels as well as what myself feels as i feel combined into many introspective thoughts and perspectives on life. As far as album highlights to me, "mrs. jesus," "carbon" "your cloud" and "crazy" stick out in my mind, but I honestly cannot a pick a favorite among the 18. I listen to it everywhere i go, in the car, in my room, on the treadmill.
There is a feeling that in 5 years from now no matter how many times i have listened to this album, that something new will hit me. There is so much to take in. It doesn't get much better than getting to know the songs on a new Tori cd.
From Meilani Marie (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
This album has only been in stores for a few days, but already I've heard a lot of negative reviews from Tori fans. I've also read a lot of positive reviews. So far, it seems like fans were either expecting Boys for Pele or Little Earthquakes, or hoping for Choirgirl.
While I love those and the other Tori albums, I am glad that she continues to grow and develop as a lyricist and musician.
Scarlet's Walk, to me, combines many elements of all of her previous albums, but is also unique. As a journey, this album is amazing. Like most of her work, it takes time and repeated listens to appreciate, understand, or criticize it.
I purchased SW at a midnight sale in Sacramento, California, and have listened to it quite a bit. However, I expect my opinions to gradually change.
The album starts out with Amber Waves, a song that didn't impress me on the promo cd, but I have grown to like it a lot as the opener of SW. Like the rest of the album, the song is mellow, but the music is awesome. There is definitely a strong drum and bass feel to all of the songs.
A Sorta Fairytale has been criticized as being too "poppy," but I definitely like the lyrics. True, this second song of the album is no Blood Roses; but it is sorta sad at the same time as being relaxed.
Wednesday is one of my favorites, it reminds me of songs on Little Earthquakes a little bit, and I definitely like the guitar and chorus, while the lyrics are nice and silly, but meaningful.
At first I didn't really like Strange, I thought the lyrics were kind of ho hum, but now I do like it, though it's still not one of my favorites. To me it sounds like something off of Strange Little Girls, which I liked a lot, but not as much as her original work.
Carbon is one of my top 3 favorite songs on the album. It sounds like a really mellow Caught A Light Sneeze and Siren, which are two of my favorite Tori songs. I love all of the lyrics, "Carbon made only wants to be unmade, blade to ice" It's great!
Crazy is a song I love to drive to (as is the whole album-take a road trip with this, you'll love it!) It has a lot of imagery and a great sound. Tori's voice on most of the album is beautiful as it circles around itself and in the background.
Wampum Prayer is a short little a capella Tori song that really for some reason makes me emotional, probably because it really is intense like Me and a Gun, only it's about the rape of Native American Culture, but it's really beautiful.
don't make me come to vegas is a song that once I got used to I loved. Her voice is ironic and strong, and the lyrics are very cool. "don't make me pull him out of your head-Athena will attest that it could be done and it can be done...."
Sweet Sangria sounds a little like Choirgirl at the beginning, but obviously not as electronic sounding, more organic. I love this song. It's got a great melody and Tori's voice is perfect.
Your Cloud already has been compared to China, Baker Baker, Hey Jupiter, 1000 Oceans etc., as a great Tori ballad. I don't agree that it's really up to Hey Jupiter, but that's just me. I really didn't like this song until I read the lyrics. Now I like it a lot, especially when her voice gets deeper and she sings the part, "If there is horizontal line..."
pancake was one of my favorites from the sampler. I still love it, though I admit I listened to the sampler too much and am already a little burned out on this song. The lyrics are absolutely great, and I guess this is the angriest she gets on the album. Her voice on this sounds like Strange Little Girls era.
I can't see New York is pretty hard to listen to. I love it, it is a great song with really great lyrics, and the music is really dramatic and awesome. Tori's voice sounds the closest to Boys For Pele (probably second half though) that it does on the whole album, probably because her voice wasn't super produced on this song like on many of the others. But the lyrics "I can't see New York... I'm circling down, through white cloud, I'm falling out," I just can barely listen to it right now.
Mrs. Jesus I guess is the other side to Father Lucifer, and I find them similar, though I like Father Lucifer better. This song is funny though, with her usual allusions to Christianity, but also she alludes to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, I'm sure you'll hear it. I like this song.
Taxi Ride has to be one of my favorites, not my very fav., but it's in my top 3 or 4. The lyrics are so great, sad, but great "just another dead fag to you... just another light missing, on a long taxi ride" The music is perfect. It's so upbeat you almost miss what she's saying, but I think this is going to be a favorite of a lot of fans.
Another Girl's Paradise I liked right away, it kind of reminds me of stuff from Little Earthquakes, and also a really low key Waitress.
Scarlet's Walk is in my top 3. It really has a southern feel, but also Irish and Native American. Remember the beginning of Gone with the Wind, "the land Scarlett, the land." Tori's voice starts out hauntingly "Leaving Terra" This song sort of reminds me of Choirgirl. It is so beautiful and I love the chorus. "What do you mean to do with all your freedom.."
Virginia is my favorite song on this album right now. It is so beautiful and the lyrics are so great. The piano kind of reminds me of Cloud on my Tongue, it's really pretty like that. "try and arouse her turquoise serpents"
Gold Dust is a lot of people's favorite on SW. It is so amazing, her piano is beautiful, and the orchestra makes the song even more emotional. This song really reminds me of fall, and it is the perfect ending to the album.
Scarlet's Walk may not be my favorite Tori album, but it's close. Musically it is not the amazing Boys For Pele, lyrically it is not the diary Little Earthquakes, or the whimsical Under the Pink, it is not Choirgirl, or Venus, but it is an entity unto itself, and it really doesn't need to be compared. This album can stand on its own. It will not please every Tori fan, but expect it to become a favorite in a year or so when we've had more time to be with it.
From Caroline (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
This is my first review here so here go's. When i heard the promos to this c.d, i was alittle shaky though there were some wonderful songs. When i bought the c.d my whole world of thought changed. It is one of her most amazing c.d's. - truly intelligent and mature. My fav. is wednesday, it has a English/ yet i feel that maybe on her trip she stopped in at a country bar and performed this one - def. favorite! Next mind blower is I cant see New York - I feel the sadness in this but it does rock this album with a feel of led zepplin/its like she got on a plane to reach the other side. Another is mrs. Jesus - again with the flute i feel the influence of zepplin, beautiful, peaceful song. Another Carbon - wow! I feel tori reaching her in this. It reminds me of under the pink with the intro and the guitar - i def. hear my siren connected. Virginia is awesome., i cant say enough on the whole album- wampum will sooth the most troubled soul- thats really the only one that brings tears to my eyes. i love this album -not every song but most of them. Tori is a wonderful teacher and listener and i would really like to see her get that grammy.
From Morgan (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
.Scarlet's Walk is one of those "essence of Tori" albums. Each song has a not-quite-identifiable rhythm that makes me want to dance and sleep at the same time; and a voice that is both chilling and achingly beautiful, no matter what the tempo or the lyrics. It has blown me away - the first time that's happened since Pele.
The first song on the album that made me break down a bit was Taxi Ride. Tori had me with the first two lines; we have all been pushed too far! It's haunting, it's honest, and the chorus only gets better upon each listen. Now, after almost a week, several songs stand out: Don't Make Me Come to Vegas (should I dance to it? should I weep? I can't decide!); Crazy (my sister contends it's one of Tori's top 5 songs, ever, and I can't argue); Amber Waves; Carbon Made (this gem was hiding out on me until yesterday!); and Sweet Sangria. *forgive me if the titles are wrong...I don't have the case with me now so I don't know for sure!
The only thing I can do with a new Tori album is wait to let each song speak to me when it's ready. And the best thing about a new Tori album is discovering, after weeks or even months, that there's a story on there (maybe one song, or three) that suddenly appears, and becomes the essence of that album. It's a moment where you "get it", and the album becomes a part of you. It's like discovering a whole part of the album that I hadn't previously known. I'm looking forward to "getting" each song, and having one song hit me from out of nowhere.
Interestingly, as I've been singing the tunes in my head while at work (where I don't play music) one in particular - I'm not sure which - kept turning into Fire On Your Side from YKTR...so, though I haven't figured it out yet, some part of Scarlet's Walk is reminding me of old school Tori. That's a good thing!
At the same time, I don't think this work can be compared to any other albums. I get a lot of Bee Side feelings from it...sometimes I'm reminded of Bachelorette; sometimes Toodles Mr Jim; even Beulah Land comes to mind at certain points. In short, it's a masterpiece. Congrats to Tori for making a beautiful, original, intelligent album. I adore it.
From Josh (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
After hearing "A Sorta Fairytale" in late August/early September, i knew that this album was going to be great, and i wasn't disappointed at all. Although i love all of Tori's albums very much, this is probably one of my favourites, right up there with "Under the Pink" and "from the choirgirl hotel." The first single, "A Sorta Fairytale" is really good, probably Tori's best since "Spark" and/or "Bliss." But "A Sorta Fairytale" isn't the extent of "Scarlet's Walk" - there are several great songs here: the album opener "Amber Waves", "A Sorta Fairytale" (the longer album version has taken a while to get used to (although i do like the additional verse), while the 101 Mix, which is on the single, is amazing.) "Wednesday", "Crazy", "Sweet Sangria", my two personal favourites "Your Cloud" and "I Can't See New York", the amazingly beautiful "Taxi Ride" and "Gold Dust", which is Tori's most beautifully haunting song since "Yes Anastacia." Although all the songs are great, these are the ones that call me back, although i'm sure they all will once i get to know them better. But i noticed something with this album: unlike most of Tori's albums ("Choirgirl," and "Venus" aside), her piano seemed to be the main feat, while on "Scarlet's Walk" seems a little more focused on her voice (the vocal arrangements on this album are gorgeous.) And while all the songs are really good, you can't help but get the feeling that some of them sound a lot alike, but then it comes back to mind that this isn't necessarily Tori, it's Scarlet, her "alter ego", as she put it on "Live with Regis and Kelly." And as we all know, not many of Tori's songs sound alike, so this is somewhat excuseable. I bought both the Limited Edition version with the DVD and the regular version, but my DVD player isn't working right now, so i haven't gotten the chance to watch "Scarlet's DVD" yet. I also got the Dolphin charm, one which i haven't seen around yet. All in all, this is an extremely good album, quite possibly the best i've bought this year.
From Sherrie Lemire (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
I waited until release day to listen to any of SW's songs (excepting the radio edit version of A Sorta Fairy Tale which you can't help!), so this was truly a first listen on the day of the release. I remember Tori saying something about not spoiling Christmas by opening your presents too early and this was exactly how I felt about the new CD - you only get to experience that "unwrapping" once and I wanted to savor it.
I decided to start with the bonus "Scarlet Stories" (think this was Mike's suggestion). I'm so glad that I did because it was such a lovely experience! I pulled out the map and traced the route as she was talking in the background, thinking about the places she was describing and the story she was weaving and how the pieces fit together. Each description melded into the next and sometimes I had to run over to the computer to see which track we were on so that I could keep the stories straight, but then it just reinforced how much these stories are interlinked. There were moments that I had tears in my eyes, particularly during "I Can't See New York" and "Taxi Ride" (I had read the story of Kevyn and was truly touched by it. I could tell she had close feelings for him, was grieving him, but was also angry). I love Scarlet Stories and would have purchased it as a work in its own right. I'm planning on framing the map to preserve it, so that anyone who listens to the songs while they're over can take part in the journey.
Then I put Scarlet's Walk in. I have not yet had the chance for a second listening so this is truly FIRST impression. To be fair, every new Tori album takes some getting used to - no cookie cutters here. They're like relatives, related by blood, but unique individuals, with their own personalities, lifestyles, language. Scarlet's Walk, however, produced the strongest reaction in me since Boys for Pele (which is now judged by most of us to be the best - so that says something!). I found myself actually wavering between tearful joy and horrified disgust. My boyfriend didn't know what to do with me - one minute I'm hailing the complexity and musical genius of the album, calling it an epic akin to The Wall or Tommy, and the next I'm sitting back with a grim expression, like someone betrayed. I have to laugh at feeling this way because some songs bothered me to the point that the words "sell out" crossed my mind (one of these was "Crazy" - I couldn't wait for that song to be over as I had visions of Tori playing in every pop cultured CD player in America. Noooo!).
But taken as a whole, based on first listen only, I feel that this is truly her greatest achievement to date - perhaps even worthy of a Grammy nomination. My boyfriend (a musician, which I add only because I am not, and a Tori admirer only because he has to be with me around) was impressed by the complexity of the arrangements, and was blown away by the bass on some of the songs. She is truly in a class by herself, and an example of how a musical gift can evolve into greater degrees of genius if given the right environment, respect, and opportunity. Ê
Taken individually, a few songs stood out for me on this first listen: A Sorta Fairy Tale (infinitely better and more complex than the radio edited version) Wednesday (great fun in a Happy Phantom sort of way) Carbon (a kind of personal anthem for Tori, in light of her comments in Scarlet Stories), Taxi Ride (brilliant, a tribute to a great artist, can't wait to hear the remix), Gold Dust (so far my very favorite - gorgeous and soft and lovely, what an ending). But how can a person comment based on one listen? These songs will grow with me over time, evolving, until one day an experience will trigger an understanding I couldn't have appreciated before. For instance To Venus and Back has taken me years to get into, but one day - bam! How could I have missed it?! Concertina has been stuck in my head for weeks. You see, I recently discovered that sitting in a particular chair at my kitchen table creates a unique listening experience for Concertina. Something about how the positioning of our speakers isolates certain tracks. It's quite amazing. If anyone cares to try it out just let me know....!
I'm not a music expert, just a music lover...and this album was worth the wait. Thank you Tori.
From Lee Chaix (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Here are my initial thoughts on Tori Amos's new album, Scarlet's Walk.
AMBER WAVES: An ideal introduction to the album. Tori introduces us to the major characters and themes that we'll be hearing on Scarlet's Walk. Amber Waves is an upbeat, fun song that prepares us for the rest of the album. A single possibility?
A SORTA FAIRYTALE: A love story that tells the truth -- love is great, but sometimes it takes more. The rhythm section helps move the story and song along, and was an ideal choice for a single. I prefer the album version, however, particularly as I think the journey "down near Mexico" is an important part of Scarlet's journey. I love how the drums change as we get nearer to Mexico -- reminds of Juarez, actually. How appropriate!
WEDNESDAY: Very Lennon-McCartney. You can definitely hear the Beatles in this fun, fast number. Not my favorite, and I'm not sure I understand exactly how this fits in the journey, but perhaps that will come with time.
STRANGE: A new take on an old theme. This hearkens back to Tear in Your Hand, Doughnut Song, etc., and is perhaps an extension of A Sorta Fairytale -- how can we make a love last that just isn't working anymore? I especially love the chorus in this one.
CARBON: An immediate favorite. Tori's use of harmony in the chorus is absolutely stunning. I think Carbon really showcases the beauty and power of her voice. The bass and drum lines are equally as powerful. I'm surprised Carbon wasn't chosen for the six-song sampler, because I think it's a great representative of the album's strength. I have a feeling this will be stellar live.
CRAZY: When I heard this after the sampler's release, I had mixed feelings. It was nice, but not a favorite. Hearing it in context, however, makes a world of difference. I think Crazy is a pivotal point on Scarlet's journey -- she abandons her past love and parts of her life, invites a bit of insanity to join her on the voyage, and is ready to see what happens. Musically, not my favorite, but I appreciate it more now than before.
WAMPUM PRAYER: I see a big connection here with some of Tori's earlier work. The slow, sad a cappella voice is almost identical to Me and a Gun, which I don't think is an accident. In much the same way as Me and a Gun, Wampum Prayer deals with rape (of the land) and the victimization (of an entire culture and ethnic group). I'll need to roll this one around for a while, but I think it's a powerful parallel.
DON'T MAKE ME COME TO VEGAS: Fun fun fun! This is a great get-in-your- groove song. I think this also may be Tori's shining moment lyrically. She weaves in clever references with a fast-paced story and leaves the listener completed rapt and enthralled. I can't stop playing this one!
SWEET SANGRIA: I have not given this one the time I've given its sisters, so I'm not sure what I think of it. Initial thoughts -- not bad, not a favorite. The rhythm is captivating and works well as a follow to Vegas. Its feel matches its portion of the journey (Southwest). I think this one may be stronger live than recorded, but we'll see.
YOUR CLOUD: A hidden gem. Although the verses didn't pull me in initially, I was bowled over by the chorus. Again, I see some old themes resurface. "Where you end where I begin" and the search for an individual self within a relationship is an interesting parallel to Bliss, although now we're talking about a lover instead of a father figure. I adore the musicality of the chorus, and think a live version will be interesting, especially because I think the backup vocals really make the song.
PANCAKE: I liked this one a lot when I heard it off the sampler, and I still do, but I'm not sure I get how it fits into the journey. I'm surprised it doesn't come later, around Scarlet's Walk and Virginia. I don't get the connection with Your Cloud and New York. But sonically, I think it's stellar. Of course, references to God and religion are not new ground for Tori, but this time, rather than directing her anger at the deity Himself (a la God), she targets the entire religion and its impact on culture and the land.
I CAN'T SEE NEW YORK: A beautiful, elegiac masterpiece. The slow build to the climactic chorus is heartbreaking. I think Tori has honored those who lost and were lost on September 11th, and I'm moved to tears each time I hear it. So powerful.
MRS. JESUS: A nice throwback with the flutes. Not a highlight or a favorite of mine, but certainly continues the journey. I appreciate the Let It Be/John and Paul/Mary reference, and I can hear Beatles influence here as well.
TAXI RIDE: I adored this song when I heard it on the sampler, and continue to love it. Tori's layered vocals, coupled with the powerful bass and drums, make this song fun to listen to. I imagine Kevyn Aucoin would have loved it, and I think it's a great tribute. I can't help but sing along to this one.
ANOTHER GIRL'S PARADISE: I love this song. Again, Tori addresses female friendships and the betrayal and jealousy that often come along, as she did with much of Under the Pink (Bells for Her, Cornflake Girl, Waitress, etc.). This time, however, Tori looks at the even darker side of envy -- that what we desire in another may have its shadow side as well. Part of me wonders if this isn't also a message to some of her fans -- hey, it's not always great being me, either. Hmmm&Mac183; in any case, the chorus is captivating, and I think this song is where the journey begins to wind down and reach its end -- betrayal and jealousy lead nicely to&Mac183;
SCARLET'S WALK: The ultimate betrayal, where the uninvited guest becomes the unwanted landlord. Tori nicely weaves patriotic references with the dark, bloody consequences of "discovering" America. The opening of the song sounds like a sorrowful cry, which is appropriate for the subject. Musically, she sets the stage for the story of betrayal and death. A side note -- does anyone else hear a Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac influence here?
VIRGINIA: Possibly my favorite on the album. The idea of betrayal continues, except this time, Virginia (the land? the woman?) unknowingly betrays herself to protect the man (the invader?) she loves. The dobro gives a nice Southern flavor to the song, and I don't need a map or the song title to know where I am. I also appreciate the quick changes between major and minor keys, which helps illustrate the duality and the confusion underpinning the story.
GOLD DUST: We've reached the end of our journey, and Gold Dust is there at the finish. All of Tori's album closers (Little Earthquakes, Yes Anastasia, Twinkle, Pandora's Aquarium, 1000 Oceans, Real Men) have a similar feel -- a slow ballad moving towards a crescendo and the final bittersweet ending. This is one of Tori's best ballads, and the beautiful orchestration swims in, around, and between Tori's vocals and piano work. A stunning way to end such a long journey.
OVERALL: I believe this is Tori's most important, most accessible, and best work to date. Tori's use of a voyage/quest motif is highly effective, and she is able to expand on several themes (sonic and subject) we find in her earlier works. She has grown as a musician, lyricist, and artist without abandoning her roots. I think Tori will expand her fan base with Scarlet's Walk - my husband, for example, groans every time I put a Tori CD in the player -- he absolutely can't stand her. But Scarlet's Walk resonates with him, and I think may for other non-Toriphiles as well. He can't stop listening, and is captivated by her music and her story. Scarlet's Walk is an impressive masterpiece, incorporating many past thematic statements with a new view of life and the resulting journey. I'm glad to travel along with Tori for a while.
From Eileen Christiansen (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
"I listened to Tori Amos's new album "Scarlet's Walk" from front to back for the first time yesterday. H. recorded the CD onto a mini-disc so that I could listen to it in the car. I wanted to get to know this album in my car. The album is about a road trip, so I thought that listening to it to start on my car's kickass sound system would do it justice.
Before I listened to the album in its entirety, there was a part of me that wanted to be detached from it. I didn't want to be loyal to it simply because I was a Tori fan. I wanted the album to stand on its own two feet alongside its sisters in Tori's varied discography. I wanted it to be able to tell its story without me placing a "good" or a "bad" label on it ahead of time.
I got in the car, I took a deep breath and I started to drive.
Tori is cooking with gas, my friends.
Man, oh, man.
I'd say that this is the most accessible album that she's released since "Little Earthquakes". I think it's an album that non-Toriphiles could enjoy, and it would be a great album for someone who has never heard Tori Amos before.
I don't have a lot of concrete things to say about the individual tracks yet; I haven't spent enough time with the album to really know the individual songs intimately. It sizzles. It sparkles. Tori spreads her wings to travel into new styles of writing and rhythm and it works for her. The mastering gives the music a warm and bright feel. Some of the songs are layered with all sorts of interesting sounds and effects, but you can tell that they would stand on their own with just a piano or a three/four piece band.
"Wednesday" grooves and bounces (not too country western, not at all). "Amber Waves" is a rock opera anthem. "Scarlet's Walk" is lush and majestic. "your cloud" is wistful and uses powerful poetic imagery. "Pancake" shakes its tiny fist. "Strange" is wonderful and very singable. "a sorta fairytale" is lovely in its full version. The song about "Vegas" is a lot of fun. "wampum prayer" is as soft and as gentle as "A Song for Eric"; I miss Tori's a cappella writing. "gold dust" is tear-inducingly good. The album's message is a hopeful one, even though it points to the sickness in our country.
Some of the songs are piano driven, some are band driven. Tori's vocal production is clear and expressive, sometimes highly emotional. She doesn't hold back, and she sinks into her character Scarlet like she would into a great pair of shoes. Strappy shoes, the kind that you'd wear to a night in the city. You know the kind I'm talking about, girls.
I cannot wait to see these songs performed live in concert. In the meantime, I'm going to spend some time driving and getting to know them. It should make my weekly drives a lot more interesting, that's for sure."
From CLE1978 (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
ok, so ive been a huge fan since i first saw the "silent all these years" video, and today is no different. i was so high off the album upon first listen, and of course took a road trip to it. i listened to only 3 of the promo sampler songs so that i could make it as exciting as possible, and of course tori did it again.
now, ive read a few reviews, and i have to say im really quite sick of people putting down venus and slg. ITS STILL TORI! i dont understand how people say its not as good, or whatever, because tori has always done things her own way, and for this reason im still after 11 years a big fan. i mean, slg wasnt her own lyrix, but it IS a cover album, what did you expect? i love all the songs, and will follow tori wherever she goes because i know her too well to think that shed actually try to go "commercial" (whatever that is). now venus is a beautiful album also. i try not to heed it too much mind, because if she had just done little earthquakes over 8 times then people would gripe then too. let her go, and i know that we'll be excited with her on her journeys. she hasnt let me down yet, dont close your mind to it just because its different from what she's done before...
ok, now scarlet is just a rush, its very much like the waves i felt sweeping over me when i first heard venus. the melodies, very strong, the lyrix of course again a strong point, and it maintains my interest even tho she uses mostly the drums/bass/piano on alot of it. i think its a very good album, but it wont be noticed, hers never are. and its sad, but that doesnt mean its no good....plus i get to keep her to myself(hehe).
i dont wanna pick thru all the songs and strip them down, because i dont even know the words yet, but even then i just relate, cuz she has the way she sees them, and that doesnt mean we have to also. i am a man, and i do not like feminism, because its about all of us not some of us, and i dont see alot of it on the record like one review said. wampum prayer is beautiful, just because somthing's short doesnt mean it cant be powerful. and prayer is very powerful. crazy is great, since i do have some of the same problems as tori growing up in a very christian house and going to a catholic school for a long while. and now i have a bf, and crazy just sums it up for me.
i dont like writing stuff like this online about tori, cuz most fans are too closeminded to accept all her stuff, but her ways of relating to not relating to everyone else, relates to me. but shes not sappy about it, or whiny (like korn or papa roach) but more of a man than many of those guys will ever be. and "ewf's" opinions on her piss me off, she's one of us, and i think the ones like mikewhy and whoever runs hereinmyhead.com understand what shes doing and we're the ones who will be open enough to just love her and recieve it back through her work, and the amazing scarlets walk is no different from that format.
but feeling the immediacy of the songs on scarlet is a wonderful feeling, and she's been glorious at that since venus. and i think that it wont be taken out of my player anytime soon, and even after that will be placed back in very soon after. your cloud, so lazy and nice, no hurry ya know! vegas, a nice pickup, and i love over my dead body---ahahahoouh.!! love it. another girls paradise? omg great pace, love the rhythm. im getting to know it well, and love it already.
of course i think the next album will be a complete departure and will still amaze some of us, the ones who dont lag behind in the past--but the ones, like tori, who push themselves and work towards a stretched horizon. i almost stopped listening with choirgirl, but just listened anyway. and i finally got what she was doing, and today i look back and kiss my self for not throwing in bizkit, but embracing the darkness she had on that sad album, with a little help from maynard, and will look to my next album the same way tori does to hers---with sadness, dancing, a sense of humor, and trying to do something that will keep the outside world out and let the few marked ones in to enjoy the wine. Because i dont want a bunch of unbelievers at my show.
From angel1010 (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Tori's new album, "Scarlet's Walk" was a bit of a surprise. I have been a fan since "Little Earthquakes" and what I have always loved about Tori is how dramatic & unique her music is. It is original and nothing you would hear anywhere else. I get goose bumps every time I hear a new Tori song. I was so discouraged once I heard "Strange Little Girls." I thought it was horrible, and absolutely nothing like Tori's previous albums. I usually listen to Tori songs over and over and never become bored. SLG, I listened to maybe five times and now it collects dust. Once I buy I new Tori album, I will listen to over and over the night before and then the next day when I listen again, then I know which of the songs has an affect on me. I received Scarlet's walk yesterday, did the same routine and today I skipped "A Sorta Fairytale" along with some others, I'm starting to get tired of "A Sorta Fairytale. "Taxi Ride, "Pancake", "Virginia", and "Gold Dust" are absolutely beautiful, but I have to agree with another reviewer, Tori makes better music when she is going through a hard time. I believe "Precious Things" is the best song ever created by Tori and I am hoping she will play that and some of her previous works from other album before SLG at her Atlanta concert. I find "Scarlet's Walk" a little plain and I'm still questioning and waiting for the dramatic piano playing. My opinion is just exactly what is is, an opinion, I love Tori and without her, I would NEVER buy another CD again. I fully believe Tori is a true composer of our times and a gorgeous woman with talent I could only dream of having.
From Meredith Burke (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
I am so thrilled and excited to see Tori commenting and creating an album such as Scarlet's Walk at this exact moment, 2002, what have you. Lately, I have been really wanting to explore the issues of freedom, the rights of any individual on this planet, and the beauty and secret treasures of this awesome country of ours. America is not mass media, big business, capitialism, the Bush dynasty's war agendas, etc. America the land holds secrets and power in its own right. Freedom is an individual experience not something collective. It's not something you find externally by looking outward. Scarlet is on a quest in her own right. Just like all of us, to find what America is all about to her. I love this idea. Tori's ties to the feminine, her love and respect for the indignious people of this amazing land of ours, her own personal vision of America does come forth in an awesome creative way. I love Tori's perspective on everything, not because it mirror's my own 99% of the time, but because she is so strong and thoughtful. She is a thinker, a creative one. Someone who really understand the power of ideas. They create reality. She putting out an courageous album of ideas of an America lost, but slowly reclaiming it's place. A few months ago, I did a tarot spread seeking some feedback about America. I got back that the focus should be not on the death of America, but it's resurrection. It's a personal choice to see that resurrection as a super power ready to just create unnessecary wars and that kind of focus, or being someone who wants to reclaim something more truthful and honest about America the land and it's people. I think you know what my choice is. Tori is an inspiration to us all, the ones who search for true freedom.
From Dan (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Man on man what an album!! If there is one word I could use to describe Scarlet's Walk is "joygasmic". IMHO, this is one of her most diverse albums. All of the songs are totally different from anything she's played before. Also, I sense a maturity in her voice that is prevalent in this album. I don't really want to ramble on, but I'll give you my personal thoughts on the songs. I had heard all the songs from the 6-song promo, so I couldn't wait till the full album came out. I've been so anxious. So finally tuesday I bought it and have been listening to it constantly since. I think after 2 full days of round the clock listening I can give a full review. Amber Waves - I really like this one. The lyrics to this one excellent. You listen to all the lines and you can just picture the porn star. A sorta fairytale - Excellent song. The video is really bizarre, but I love it. Matt keeps a really nice drum beat throughout this song. It's a song you can just listen to over and over and not get sick of it. Now. Wednesday. What an awesome song!! One of my favorites actually. It has this funk, ska-like feel with the piano and electric guitar, then it switches to a totally different type of sound. The time signature changes from 4/4 to 3/4, slowing it down some. Then it jumps right back to the faster rhythm. It's just a really fun song to listen to. Strange - a beautiful ballad. The strings in the background give it the song a very melancholic feel through the verses. John Phillip Shenale did an excellent job arranging all the strings and orchestration of the album. Carbon - I heard this and it reminded of Siren. A driving piano, guitar and drum beat through out. I really like this song. It starts of nice and slow, then the accoustic guitar and piano start. The song over all buids and builds. A truly beautiful song. Crazy - I've loved since I got it through a music sharing program that shall remain nameless:) This song and many others have Tori harmonizing with herself and it sounds utterly amazing. Who better to have as backing vocals than herself? Nice and slow ballad-like tempo with very poignant lyrics. Wampum prayer is a short solo ditty with a very native american feel. Not much I can say about it except it just highlights how great her voice is sans piano or anything. I love the beginning of Don't make me Come to Vegas. Drum and bass, then piano. This song should be awesome live come tour time. Same goes to say for Sweet Sangria. - I like the use of the rhodes and keyboards and then the switch to piano, like in from the choirgirl hotel. verse in keyboard, then chorus in the piano. The bridge is carried by Bass and drum, i love the raw feeling to this song. Now the next song is possibly my favorite. Your Cloud has a very jazzy feel to it, with all the minor 7 and 9 chords. The words to this song are so innocent and beautiful. It's a song abour a relationship and how it has to endure. I almost cry its so beautiful. This song live will bring people to tears. You just wait til November 7. Pancake I really love because of the lyrics. Also the rhythm really sucks you into it. I can't see New york is the monster of the album. At 7:14 it's the longest, and it's such an incredible song to listen to. It starts almost hymn-like, remembering 9/11. The voice starts out very slow, chant-like and haunting. then all of a sudden the chorus or bridge begins and it's powerful bass and drum with a driving rhythm. I can't wait to hear this live. mrs. jesus a great song. I really like the chorus of this song. I miss Caton on guitars in this album, but even without him, she picked a couple great guitarists for the whole album. Taxi ride is another great song. The accoustic and electric guitar in this song really carry it through to the end. This is a very band driven song, and i really enjoy it. Another Girl's Paradise is just another tori masterpiece. I could picture this being an offspring of one of the songs from Choirgirl. I can hear elements from the album, just refined and matured. The title track is excellent. The song is written in some minor key signature, and it gives the song a gorgeous tone. This one may be my second favorite song. I hear Virginia, and i LOVE the first sound I hear. The type of guitar used, the dobro, has a very mandolin sound to it and gives it the southern feel of the song. And to end the album with Gold Dust is great. What a beautiful work with the orchestration of the song. A very sad song, especially the emotional tone of her voice throughout, specifically in the chorus. I love this song.
Well that's a basic overview of the album. I think this one may be one of my favorites of her albums. It's so musically and lyrically mature and different. That's what I love about tori. From one album to another everything changes, yet you know it's her. Well, I have my tickets for the second show of the tour in melbourne. I'll let you know how that goes. Well Happy Halloween to you and everyone on the Dent.
From Dustin Holloman (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Hey, just thought I would give a few thoughts on what I thought about the new album. I think I would do better going song by song instead the whole album concept because I am still trying to figure what the whole concept is.
When Amber Waves starts up you can here a lot of clarity in her voice and the piano. It's got a good beat to it and the chorus almost reminds me of the chorus from Lust.
A Sorta Fairytale has a kind of Under the Pink feel to it, mostly due, I think, to the prominent drums and the light piano.
Wednesday is a really great song, I feel like it belongs in a silent film with an old west saloon. Some of the guitars sound like Space Dog. It is such an odd song and tune and she pulls it off really well.
When I heard Strange for the first time, I thought it was kind of boring, but the more I listen to it I can get a full impression and all the sounds come together.
Carbon was really flowing and relaxing. I gives the same kind of feeling that Siren gave me, a little anticipation from the climax. I was glad she also included a reference to Neil and my favorite story of his.
I think a little of Crazy rings true to everyone, it may just be me, but I could relate to the story really well. I also love her voice when she sings about unzipping religion.
Whenever I hear Tori's voice with nothing around it, it just seems so haunting. With Wampum Prayer, I got that feeling of mystery. You can tell she was covering a lot of ground on this album.
My favorite on the album is probably Don't Make Me Come to Vegas. The beat and sounds remind me of Bachelorette, and Tori just sounds like such a badass singing "over my dead body".
Sweet Sangria has got some great drums in it as well which makes for some great driving songs. She delivers some awesome sounds with her voice. It seems like she is drumming with her voice.
I've never heard Tori quite like the way she sounds on Your Cloud. Very laid back and quiet.
Pancake is just simply awesome. Very loud and I got to hear some the vocal howls I was secretly hoping for. I have also decided that the line "seems in vogue to be a closet misogynist homophobes" is one of my favorites. Very quotable.
I kind of cringed when I saw the title of I can't See New York. But when I heard it and listened to what she was saying, I find that she did very well in being poignant and avoided any cheese. I really loved the music and it reminded me of Happiness is a Warm Gun. The song I would dislike the most is turning out to be one of my favorites.
Mrs. Jesus was one song I ended up humming a lot. It has a great tune and some interesting lyrics.
When I heard Taxi Ride, it seemed like a happy little fast song. But when I read the lyrics and and learned what it was about, I realized how angry and sad it was. It shows that she is a really caring person. I also wouldn't be surprised if it gets to single status, it is an awesome song.
Another Girl's Paradise has memorable piano lick, and the tune gets darker when the chorus hits. I think it has Choirgirl touch here and there as well.
I really enjoy Tori's voice while she howls "leaving terra" on Scarlet's Walk, it's very striking with the droning of the drums. It has such sporadic chord changes which makes for an interesting song altogether.
Virginia reminded me so much of the plugged version of Bell's for Her. I loved the lyrics of it and story that she was trying to get across. It's good to know some artists are still making music that means something.
I think Gold Dust could have been on Pele, the strings mix perfectly with her piano. Her voice is exceptionally clear and sounds in pristine condition.
In all, I am really impressed with album, I think this and Boys for Pele will be my favorites. I bought the regular version because I just wanted the music, that was all that was really important about her to me in the first place, and I have to say that I don't mind NOT having a charm and a few stickers, I have a great album from an evolving musician.
From Alison Zemell (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Here is my quick review of the new album, Scarlet's Walk. I have listened to it now several times, but feel I still don't really have an opinion yet. There are some songs I like more than others, yet on the whole there isn't a song that I don't really like, which is great. However, I also don't really hear any songs that seem like they will become a favourite of mine. I am interested to hear the songs in concert, and maybe that will change my opinion, but all the songs seem to blend together. I guess that is good, seeing as the album is a sonic journey. It does feel like that, but I don't think it feels like it is a journey across America. My biggest complaint with the album is that probably what I have come to love most about Tori is that she puts so much of herself into an album, and I in turn can relate to so many songs. On Scarlet's Walk the only song that you know is from Tori's life is Gold Dust, and other than a few lines here and there, the songs aare so conceptual that for the first time I can't say "Ya, I've been there."
From Clint Everett (Posted Nov 1, 2002)
Let me start off with positives about this album. I have been a fan of Tori's music for many years, like so many of you reading this, and my desire has always been to support an artist whose music has greatly influenced my own.
"Scarlet's Walk" is Amos's most solid piece of work since "Choir Girl Hotel." Lyrically, Tori has taken a different direction .. I would not say less complex .. I would not say more simple.. I WOULD say simply different.wanting to be heard a different way.Wanting to shine in a different light. The vocal arrangements themselves are prime examples of Tori's exceptional composition skills.. She not only writes the music with her pen and piano.. she also writes with her voice.. Letting each pattern add more depth to the music's landscape. I love Tori's voice.. always have.. always will..
So what do we have so far from me? I like the words.. I like the melodies.. but yes there is negative coming from my side of the spectrum and I will start with something a little more technical... The sound quality.
The sound quality of this album is simply NOT acceptable! I think as a fan I have the right to complain about this. EXAMPLE #1 'Choir Girl Hotel' (without question being Tori's loudest album) can be played very loud on all 3 of my stereos. I tried to do the same thing with Scarlet's Walk.. and what do I get??? Distortion! I dont just mean a little distortion.. I mean enough to make me wonder if my speakers have blown.. I like my Tori music loud.. I like my music loud PERIOD! So I am offended that the 7th release in the year 2003,from a multi-platinum selling artist requires that the bass on my stereo be turned almost completely off (thus sounding cheap) just to be cranked up a few notches and I still get some "overload." I can not possibly be the only one who is experiencing this.. And if this is also a problem for you.. Don't be afraid to speak up about it!
My opinion (like anyone else's) is purely subjective... Scarlet's Walk has a lot of substance that could have been so much more than what it is. I don't think Tori's heart was truly in it.. And as a musical artist.. I dont just think it .. I feel it.
A very close friend of mine also purchased the album this week. She emailed telling me she's enjoying it, and Im happy to hear this. I'm happy for whoever is enjoying this album.. Not trying to rain on your parade.. so please dont take it that way.
Many have said you have to let some of Tori "sink in" .. Or better after subsequent listens.. And that all may be true. With more complex workings like "boys for pele" I would agree completely...
Since the release of "Strange Little Girls".. I came to terms with something about Tori's more recent work.. and that is, if it works for me it works.. and if it doesn't..it doesn't.. Im not going to be like so many other fans and force myself to groove to something that doesn't groove naturally on its own..
I can't help Scarlet "Walk" .. I hope someday soon I can put her in my cd player (bass or no bass) and see her walking all by herself..
From Matt aka Idioteck (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
Here is my play by play on the new CD by Tori Amos, Scarlet's Walk:
Upon first listen, it is really hard to discern themes and even variations on some songs. It all fits so well within the context Tori used (classic singer/songwriter albums of the 1960's and 1970's) that sometimes you get lost in the concept.
Closer inspection reveals this to be another triumph for Tori. Each song is crafted as a tale that stands alone and together with it's sisters. Amos' songwriting is really what should be focused on this time out. She created a sprawling, epic journey through her character, Scarlet's head, making the imagery just leap at the listener. It is a truly visual album. The music is interesting and stripped of it's electronica halo, featured so prominently on From The Choirgirl Hotel and To Venus And Back. The closest cousin of SW could very well be last year's album of covers, Strange Little Girls, for no other reason than the comparable instrumentation.
It would have probably been very easy for Amos to spew out gut-wrenching craziness with banshee-like precision given her other subjects. September 11th figuring in most importantly. What she has done instead is take the subtle road, controlling and focusing that rage and making it sublimely maternal.
When you first hear the opening notes of Amber Waves, the rollicking and raucous opener of the disc, it feels very familiar. The introduction of Scarlet's porn star pal is both bawdy and tender Amos' background vocals are especially strong on this track, in fact all over SW. The percussion is sensitive and shines during the chorus of "he said he's got a healing machine, it glows in the dark. You say there's not a lot of me left anymore, just leave it alone". Not doubt a pointed statement to her critics who complain she isn't edgy or daring any longer. Boy are they in for a big surprise.
A Sorta Fairytale, the disc's smooth and flowing single, is like an old Fleetwood Mac classic. It conjures images of everything from California and Oliver Stone to Native American oppression the mystique of the desert, one of Tori's favorite hang outs. In the bridge, Scarlet wails about being lost in the rearview and as sung by Amos, the heartbreak is palpable. The song is as much about weighty politics as it is about being in a settled marriage, just as Amos has done. She reminds the listener that she could "pick back up whenever I feel". Ad you believe her.
Happy Phantom, Past The Mission, Space Dog and Bachelorette. Good songs, yes? If you stuck them all in a blender, you might be left with Wednesday, which could be summed up as Tori goes to a ho-down. It's a really fun, sincere song about routine and the little things you can do to challenge your everyday doldrums. The guitar is stellar and random and the time changes in the music will leave your jaw on the floor.
Feeling nostalgic no doubt, Amos revisits many of her previous albums, Strange could have been plucked directly from any of her catalouge. It is a sweeping, orchestrated ballad wondering "when will I learn?" It is the ragged around the edges Q&A piece that has become one of Tori's staples. The Wurlitzer organ is used to great effect here, and turns out to be more assertive than on last year's SLG. Matt Chamberlain's percussion is especially strong here. He is the master of adding subtle rythms to slow pieces. Bravo!
Speaking of incredible percussion, Carbon has some of the best on the entire album. With subtle acoustic guitar flourishes and spare bits of right-handed piano sprinkled in for dramatic effect, this song just sort of pulses. The thunderous crashing of the drums in the end adds a very dramatic and almost latin flavor to the song. Not one of my favorites, but it is just absolutely stunning in musical terms.
Tori always seems to bring an alt-country slant to all of her proceedings. Most recently and notably, on songs like "Playboy Mommy" and "Rattlesnakes". Crazy is another of these songs that would feel more at home in Nashville. The chorus of "first let's just unzip your religion down" is chilling and dynamic as far as singing goes. The sad sliding guitar sneaks up on you in key parts of the song and just tears your heart up. Could be my favorite on the album!
Wampum Prayer is the only tune I can't get into so far. It seems better suited to be a B-side and seems a bit gratuitous, almos tas if interrupting the album's flow. Still, it's nice to hear Amos go accappella again.
Don't Make Me Come To Vegas showcases again, the immense skill the singer has accrued over her years in the business. She has said that you can only write your diary one time and then you have to learn to hone your skill as a songwriter. In this cautionary tale about love and betrayal in Sin City, Amos captures a storytelling abililty until now unseen. Nothing is personal, she takes on a character and tells that character's tale. It is refreshing for her to take a step back from personal issues here.
South of the border lies Sweet Sangria. The beginning is wild and scattered. The liquid-like flow of the bass and drums is reminiscent of Choirgirl-era production, like Lquid Diamonds. The ending, with it's tank-like drums and wild, feverish piano playing is a fan favorite already.
Your Cloud is certainly among the album's best and more personal songs. It has a sweet jazz standard feel to it. The melody is divine and the playing is so classic. Jon Evans sly work is a bit more forward here and his bass is so touching here. The singing is just heavenly on this tale of love and how it grows. One of the neatest things here is how Tori can seemingly work out her emotions pre- and post- marriage in one song and make it seem effortless. You can maybe feel some disdain here and there but in the end you can tell there is a serenity.
Pancake is from another place and another time. It is luscious and brimming with keyboards instead of the Bosendorfer. While at first, the song may seem simple, be warned, it changes it's properties. The sneaky drums change from just barely there to totally pissed off, but in a way the casual listener might not pick up on until the tenth spin in the player. Again, Evans' bass is really shady here. This is probably the "dirtiest" Amos get's this time out. It is reminiscent of a dodgy roadhouse.
A centerpiece of the album, according to many reviewers, myself included, is the angular, building death-rock of I Can't See New York. Pink Floyd never sounded so good when they met Kate Bush. The trembling and harrowing tale of Scarlet witnessing a mid-air airplane collision will take some getting used to. Amos has more than likely kept her lyrics obtuse enough to make them non-theatening and instead of singing with unhinged anger, she brings soft sensiblility and anguish to her part. The swirling piano playing during her line "I know his lips are warm, but I can't seem to find my way out, my way out...." needs to be heard to be believed. You can almost feel Amos sitting alone in New York with her husband and daughter safely tucked away in England. Truly audacious.
Mrs. Jesus, which yes, features FLUTES, is a pretty, incidental re-tread of many of her older themes. Religion, feminism, and some sappy orchestra bits all converge to make this song's cliched lyrics seem quite dated. If I could take any one song off the album, this would be it.
Down south, Scarlet has to deal with the death of a gay friend, much like Tori did when her makeup man, Kevyn Aucoiun passed away recently. On Taxi Ride, Amos conveys some raw anger and much loveliness. Questioning love's motives and wondering what the point is really, she arrives at the conclusion that "I'm glad you're on my side still". Bittersweet perhaps, sincere for sure. An allusion to her fans? You bet... The jubilent melodies are decptive here, brought down a notch only when you read how depressing the lyrics really are.
Another Girl's Paradise continues with the surprising musical changes. Starting out in a sweet, girly tone and winding up in a guitar-driven crash of a chorus that has Tori asking more questions to herself, with the answers given in the backing vocals. Not inspired, but still very enjoyable and listenable.
"Leaving Terra". The ghostly images Tori brings to mind while singing these two words are overwhelming. The make the listener think back to the formal term for "Earth" or "dirt". They also harken back to the 1939, to the home of one of the world's most famous film heroines, Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind. "If you're a thought, you will want me to think you and I did" is just a small glimpse into her chat with a sheriff who is curious as to her motives. "All DEBTS are off this year." is another desolate shining example of how Tori can still turn our heads with just a simple turn of phrase. Scarlet's Walk, the song, may be among her best of all time.
Whoa! Just when you think it's almost over, Virginia stampedes across your mind, tearing it up. The music in the song, from the piano to the guitar, to the dead-on drums, is unique and utterly fascinating to hear move. The chord progression in the chorus is one of Tori's best. The song evokes prostitution, inter-racial love, and even Pocahantas. When Amos cries "ooooooh Virginia" in the bridge, you remember that she only needs a few choice words to capture your interest, as long as the right emotion is hiding behind those words.
Lastly is the very emotional and very feminine Gold Dust, in which Scarlet and Tori have a child and are sort of forced to grow up and make the best of what they are given. The verses are joyful and filled with love. The swooping orchestra zig-zags back and forth like on something from Under The Pink. Washinton D.C. is the setting for Tori's reminiscence. Local landmarks and old movies are all brought to light here as well. The perfect ending to this album, to be sure! Somehwere out there Alfie is smiling and crying along with every Tori Amos fan.
Scarlet's Walk is challenging, even to the old hat. It is provacative, feminine, searing and soaring. While it isn't the angry dark confusion of Boys For Pele or the lovelorn schoolgirl charm of Little Earthquakes, SW stands on it's own as another unique addition to the Amos library. For those expecting to find a bridge directly from her previous work to this newer style, travel with caution.
The thing I personally have always been excited about, in regards to Tori and her music, is that she has always had the ablility to both surprise me and make me feel things taht aren't easy to express. That is the true link between all of her albums that continues on Scarlet's Walk.
From Faerie on the Hill (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I think Scarlet's Walk is the answer to the fans who wanted Tori penned songs but weren't quite settled with Venus and Back. Like Venus, the album has moments of abstract melody that can grow on you with repeated listens. As a new concept album, it's very innovative for Tori, and I was impressed.
Scarlet has a definite vibe that fits the times, and really reminds me of autumn. Contrary to sneak peak listener's opinions, I thought the newer styles gave Scarlet a well rounded personality. The piano shines, but does not take the spotlight away from the drumwork and vocals, which are much softer. Pay mindful attention to the lyrics; the storyline and imagery lives up to my expectations of Tori. After first putting it on, I found myself enjoying each song that was on more than the one before!
Those lucky enough to catch the tour might beg to differ, but I don't see Scarlet being fiercely energetic, or confident. While not totally subdued, Scarlet never screams the way the Under the Pink, or Choirgirl did. Maybe it's because she's found peace.
From KellyB (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I sometimes hesitate to "review" something so quickly, but I also feel that art should leave an immediate impression on its audience. Scarlet's Walk has most certainly left me with an immediate impression, though I'm sure that some of my thoughts will evolve or change once the album has had time to sink in.
I think a comparison to Boys for Pele is appropriate in that the record as a whole tells a story, in addition to the individual and separate stories evoked by each song. However, the feel of the record is so different from Pele, and so different from any other Tori cd. While Pele felt like winter, the season of Scarlet's Walk is summer. Perhaps that is due to the idea that road trips and journeys are, in my mind at least, rites of passage in the summertime.
While Tori's lyrics have always had historical references, they tended to be more European, while Scarlet's Walk focuses, of course, on American history. Some may add the words "or lack thereof" but I think that's a misconception. American history is so buried, it is easy to lose/overlook our connection to it; the songs on Scarlet's Walk force you to reconsider the history of the land of America and its people.
I feel that this collection of songs also reminds us of how great an effect people can have on you, even when you don't realize it or don't think of them as central figures in your life. Especially when you don't think of them as central figures in your life:
"I think that there is a place where she realizes that people come in and out of your life, sometimes for one day, sometimes for longer, and all of them make you what you are. You can't separate these people out of you..."
And this can be applied to American history and the native people we overlook; the effects of our actions may not be recognized, but that does not mean they don't exist.
Furthermore, I think it Tori's most overtly feminist work to date. She speaks of porn stars and their objectification; she speaks of Scarlet needing to save her niece from this man in Vegas; and of course, the lyric "It seems in vogue to be a closet misogynist homophobe" not to mention so many other instances. There is a real critique of American values and culture and how we treat ourselves and each other; I think she makes the case well that it stems from our treatment of the land and native Americans and the desire to own and conquer this country.
I look forward to discovering the many references, themes, and contexts in Scarlet's Walk on which I haven't yet focused.
From Martijn A. Tulp (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I fell in love with Tori's music when "From The Choirgirl Hotel" was released. It just sounded so new and so fresh to me - like nothing I had ever heard before. I quickly purchased her 3 previous albums, and even though I liked the first and second ones, I preferred "Boys For Pele" because it sounded very fresh and original, too.
Then came "To Venus And Back". It was great hearing all the live versions, but I wasn't too blown away by the new songs. Sure, it has its gems, but it's not exactly a standout album. But I kept in mind that this wasn't an actual album, but an EP that accidentally had more songs on it ;) I was eagerly awaiting Tori's next project, when her, in my opinion, worst album to date, "Strange Little Girls" got released. I only listened to it twice, and then put it away. On to the next project, I said.
I've heard all the songs on Scarlet's Walk a bunch of times now. Some I like ("A Sorta Fairytale", "Your Cloud", "Gold Dust"), others I just don't get, but perhaps they have to grow on me. I do know that this album is rather plain sounding to me. I definitely doesn't sound like something I've never heard before. It doesn't sound fresh and new. Even though the melodies are new, they aren't presented in a new way. I hope I'm making myself clear.
It is rather sad to conclude that Tori has to be very unhappy and angry to create a great album. Her 2 best works to date were done at not-so-good times her life, namely "Boys for Pele" (nasty breakup) and "From The Choirgirl Hotel" (miscarriage). I guess as long as Tori stays happy, we will still hear 'nice' songs, but they won't be very interesting, musically.
I do have to say that the packaging (I got the limited edition) is every fan's dream. So many nice things! The polaroids are wonderful! Too bad it doesn't come with a regular booklet with the lyrics in it. I really don't see myself listening to the album with the map of the U.S. all folded out, to read the lyrics.
From Léigh/OneLittleSpaceman (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
In the past 3 years alone, several important things have happened to Tori Amos. 1) The birth of her first child. 2) Moving to a new contract with Epic records after over 10 years with Atlantic records. And 3) September 11th.
Now with all of these major events influencing this thought-provoking artist, you'd expect an album of either Maternal smotherings, or a 'Don't let the bastards grind you down' album. Well... following last years 'Strange Little Girls' cover album, and Tori's new found love of the concept album, 'Scarlet's Walk' is the story of a woman called Scarlet as she travels across America, and encounters everything from Porn to other cultures... as well as having a baby and witnessing terrorism.
Whether you love or hate Tori, it's undeniable that her intelligence and imagination makes a thought-provoking listen, as in the past she has never been too shy to tackle other issues such as rape and miscarriage with unflinching determination and guts. 'Scarlet's Walk' is no different in that respect. However, Tori's new found laid back and more radio friendly style demonstrated in these 18 tracks will be the most thought-provking issue amongst hard-core ToriPhiles.
For many of the tracks, Tori takes her seat infront of her Fender Rhodes organ while her trusted piano plays runner up, backed by slurring bass guitars & slide guitars and soft drumming... taking Tori back a good 20 years to the days when she made her living as a bluesy bar singer. It's an intruiging effect that Tori pulls of with style, but no doubt it has left her fanbase with a little bit of a culture shock; considering that her last 2 original solo albums ('From The Choirgirl Hotel' and 'To Venus And Back') found Tori pushing electronics, pounding guitars and contemporary arrangements to the forefront, while her vocals and piano simply tied them together rather than stood out.
After this initial culture shock for her fans, one non-stop listen to 'Scarlet's Walk' will leave you curious. Another will make you intrigued. Another will leave you finding your self engrossed with what Tori (or rather Scarlet) is saying. And one more listen should find you totally besotted with this record and remebering why you fell in love with Tori way back in 1992. This is probably due to the fact that amongst these laid back, bluesy numbers, traces of the classic 'Tori + Piano = simplicitic gorgeousness' formula are very much apparent. None more so than the heart renching album finalé 'Gold Dust'. A 6 minute heart breaker which see's Tori and her piano lost in a sleepy world of a 60 piece orchestra... It's a dazzling moment. Songs like 'Pancake' are the nearest thing we get to the experimental, venus and back style. While 'Taxi Ride' and the first single 'A Sorta Fairytale' bridge all the gaps in practically every style that Tori has dabbled in over the past 10 years, while still demonstrating the albums new themes perfectly.
Even if Tori had released a Full blown Drum'N'Bass & Electronic album, it strangely wouldn't have been half as suprising as this new found direction. As here Tori has gone back to her song writing and inspirational roots, rather than 'heading forward' into unmarked sonic terratory; and has thus produced a record that could have been the ideal soundtrack to 'Thelma & Louise'. Let it grow on you and you'll wish you were there.
OneLittleRating: 8/10 (Beauty, warmth and razor sharp intelligence in one imaginative tale.)
From Kevin B. (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I was sort of an old school Tori fan with Under the Pink/Boys for Pele being my top, top albums from her. I went out and bought SW and walked around New York City just letting it spin...and I must say I'm just really blown away. It's a very mature piece of work and so multi faceted that everyone who listens to it will have a different emotional response to the work as a whole. What will be clear to everyone is the music's construction. Matt and Jon's skills really shine through here, it's easy to imagine all of them jamming and grooving together on some of these songs. There is a mature enthusiasm here, real live music that sort of reflects a kind of progression from Strange Little Girls.
On the other albums, there may be a line or a hook that I used to just rewind back to once it'd past but I found I couldn't do that here. The songs are so tightly wound together that you can snap it up, you can't like just one little piece. They're whole girls with really good accessories and you kind of have to take them as they are. Everything feels and sounds so alive, it's really is an amazing piece of work that will be regarded very highly when all is said and done. It's hard for me to listen to I Can't See New York and it was odd walking through the streets, past street vendors, commuters, children gripping their parents tightly and feeling that it still isn't the same, how it still isn't real because it was interrupted by something so very tragic...
I love this album to pieces, "Virginia" so far is my favourite, and just when I thought I'd hit the heights, a little silver angel fell into my lap...(I'm still gunning for the reptiles)
I've been thinking about the Pele and Scarlet album connection, they are kind of one in the same, sort of.
Pele was about searching for that inner fire after having merged with someone, it was about the heart and all those crucial relationships that can snap and it was more...improvisational.
Scarlet is not a young woman, she's not fearful and she doesn't make those same mistakes but she has to be troubled. Otherwise, she wouldn't have got in the car to begin with and when you look at the map, you see she's going clean East and then totally turns around and goes back West. She's in Texas thinking about Vegas and in the air when thinking about New York. She's trying to figure things out in a much more controlled way and Tori makes an effort to have things be as clear as possible both in the lyrics and the music. Both albums are about going on a journey; in Pele it was into the dark, with Scarlet, it's into the light (Scar has more than one lover, she allows herself to fall in love again and again even if she knows it won't or can't last until finally she has that child who'll love her forever) Pele focused a bit on the space people occupy in relationships while Scarlet focuses on the space we all occupy in this country. Make no mistake about it: this is an American story, full of passion, rebellion, and the search we all seem to make toward identity.
Another little thing I found was that when she's in more...urban, big city areas on the map, the music gets a bit more sophisticated. There's more base, more drums, and the sirens are in full force in the background. The songs seem to really respond to these areas, I dont know if that's planned or not.
From A. Welles (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
Since I practically adore everything the 39-year old redhead does (okay we forgive her 'The Happy Worker' and some things on 'YKTR') it is pretty hard for me to do an objective review of her latest work, 'Scarlet's Work'.
Okay here goes...
Some people were a bit disappointed about the fact that after 2001's 'Strange Little Girls' Tori came up with yet another concept album. But this one's different. You can either go with the concept or just be in awe of the diversity of 18 songs on 'Scarlet's Walk'.
The promo sampler that leaked out some months ago only provided us with a tip of the iceberg, because 'Scarlet's Walk' is much more than those 6 songs. And they cannot even be called representational to the rest of the 12 songs on the record. 'Taxi Ride', 'Pancake' and 'Crazy' are all wurly/rhodes songs and have a mellow flow and can therefore be called close siblings. 'Pancake' is striking of its strong and almost humorous lines as well as it's growling use of vocals.
The record's opener 'Amber Waves' shows some of the things Amos is good at: combining different shorter melodies and turning them into one song. This was also an asset John Lennon was known for ('I Am the Walrus', 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'), and which could have been found on some of her previous songs like 'Liquid Diamonds' and 'Pandora's Aquarium'. 'Amber Waves''s only complaint might be it shouldn't have been the album's opener.
John Philip Shenale did an amazing job with his subtle yet powerful arrangements on 'Strange', 'Mrs. Jesus' and the album's closer 'Gold Dust'.
One of the most amazing tracks definately is 'I Can't See New York', which is not 'just' a referrence to the September 11 events but provides a wall of sound and a subtle yet shocking arrangement which is reminiscent of Pink Floyd in some parts.
There's the latin balmy groove of 'Don't Make Me Come To Vegas' and 'Sweet Sangria' of which the latter is sounding like an accidently recorded jam- session that might take a while to appreciate. But it's getting to me now. 'Vegas' is just a sweaty girl-power (but then of the good kind) sonic episode of this sonic novel.
One of my personal highlights is 'Carbon' with an amazing piano intro and some piano riffs that are closests to 'Siren' and definately one of the highest summits in an already overly well-produced and arranged range of mountains.
Tori seems to be loving the waltzes here, as on the Celtic 'Virginia'. The title track (strangely enough at the last third of the album) starts with the lines 'Leaving Terra', but as far as I'm concerned Amos is pretty grounded on this one...
From Amanda Jaquay Haile (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I was pretty much a Scarlet's Walk virgin, being that I only listened to A Sorta Fairytale and Pancake previously. I wanted to wait and let the excitement build. I woke up at 7 a.m. to be the first one at the store to get Tori. I was also very petrified of not getting the limited edition.
I wasn't surprised at all about the magnificent quality of the album because I wholeheartedly believe that Her Soul is in each recording. I know that the lyrics and I will become best friends because I love to devour them and find all the hidden goodies. My first reaction was to jump in my car and drive with the windows down and my hair ablowin'. This album is so rich in originality. At times it is Westernish, a love song, or classic. I felt like I'd been old friends with the song girls for years and it was our long needed reunion.
In all, I feverishly fell in love with Scarlet's Walk and I was on a Tori High all day. I love and respect her sooooo greatly and I want to thank her for such a gorgeous album.
From Troy Underwood (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
In general, I am very pleased with the album. Has a very distinct sound, unlike anything she has done to date. The whole album reminds me a lot of old Elton John. Love Jon Evans' bass work on the album. It is incredible! Now for specifics.
Amber Waves -- a great song, and I can easily see it as a single.
A Sorta Fairytale -- love the vocals on the song. some very neat things done with Tori's voice.
Wednesday -- not crazy about this song, but I love the chorus.
Strange -- very good!
Carbon -- reminds me Siren, one of my favorite Tori songs.
Crazy -- can't get this song out of my head, very catchy.
Wampum Prayer -- very subtle, but powerful.
Don't' Make Me Come to Vegas -- love the rhythm of this song. makes me want to dance.
Sweet Sangria -- another quality song
Your Cloud -- my least favorite song on the album, not sure why, just can't get into it.
Pancake -- one of my two favorites on the album. Adding it to my all time Tori favorite list.
I Can't see NY -- a good song.
Taxi Ride -- a fun song.
Gold dust -- is my other favorite. one of the most beautiful things Tori has ever done. Hope it is regular on the tour!
There you have it, just my opinion.
From Christian Mero (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
This cd is like nothing i have ever heard before. Tori is her her finest and I believe this will be my favorite of all her albums. The wistful "A Sorta Fairytale" has such a great hook to it that it just reels you in. Love the piano chords and the drum beats on this one. Amber Waves is another song with a great hook and Tori's classic overlapping harmonies. The two finest songs on the album in my opinion are "I Can't See New York" and "Gold Dust". The first appears to be from the perspective of a passenger on one of the doomed flights on September 11th. This song stays with you after your done listening- I can't explain it. I guess hauntingly beautiful is the best word to describe it. I believe it is a masterpiece. And "Gold Dust", is one of the saddest songs- at least to me, that ive ever heard. Its like someone who is realizing too late, what they had all along "We had gold dust in our hands..." The strings are beautiful and reminiscent of "Yes, Anastasia". I have a feeling that Tori may close the live shows with "Gold Dust." and if she does, there will not be a dry eye in the house. Another standout- "Taxi Ride". I think this is an amazing piece of work that shows the inaccessability and unemotionalty of my least favorite Tori Album- "To Venus and Back". This album is a classic. 3 Words- Haunting, Beautiful, and Journey.
From Matthew Daniels (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I got the limited edition of the album and I am enjoying it very much. I am very surprised with the new style she is going towards on this album. Not as electronic as her last 2 original releases but yet different than Little Earthquakes and Under the pink. It's nice to be a huge fan of an artist who never ceases to amaze me. From lively songs such as wednesday and Sweet Sangria to softer songs like gold dust and I Can't See New York, this album should please all her fans because I think it has a little something for everybody. I am so glad to here that tori's hands on the piano once again have gained control over the songs rather than the other rather loud instruments that can sometimes even drown out Tori's beautiful voice. The limited edition version of the album also includes all sorts of goodies for the tori fans like me who just can't get enough Tori! :-)
From Andy (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
'Scarlet's Walk' can be described as the most pleasant surprise I have had in quite some time, possibly since 'Still' by Nine Inch Nails (finally he released 45 minutes of subtlety!). Now, I am not the biggest fan of 'To Venus and Back' or 'Strange Little Girls' and I thought that maybe Tori's best years were behind her, but I am very pleased to say that 'Scarlet's Walk' is her best album since 'From the Choirgirl Hotel' (maybe even 'Boys for Pele') and her most solid and consistent since 'Under the Pink' (maybe even 'Little Earthquakes').
Over 74 minutes of musical journey Tori never lets the songs get repetitive and there isn't the dip in quality over the second half like on 'Boys for Pele' (though if she had kept up the quality of the first half for that whole album then she'd be my own private goddess). The word "surprise" is going to appear a lot in this review because that has been my main reaction to this album and that is because I feared the worst. That is not to say it is a perfect record though. It is often very difficult to form an emotional connection with the characters and experiences Tori describes over the course of 'Scarlet's Walk', but she can still come up with some enchanting melodies and lines like "if the rain has to separate from itself does it say "pick out your cloud?" pick out your cloud" (that may not sound like much, but oh when she sings it). Although there is nothing which has grabbed me like, say, 'Pretty Good Year' or 'Hey Jupiter', I do believe I will be coming back to 'Scarlet's Walk' many many times.
A word about the performances on the record. They are solid; which is both a good thing and a slightly unfortunate thing. Good in the sense that everything sounds wonderful but unfortunate in the sense that it lacks the fluidity of the musicianship on 'Pele' or 'Pink' where Tori's more experimental leanings had songs changing shape and form in the blink of an eye. Some songs on 'Scarlet's Walk' retain this quality (although you don't realise because of how solid the performances are i.e. there aren't major changes in sound) whereas some don't (and these are mostly the weaker tracks. But these weak tracks are stronger than a lot of the better ones on her previous two efforts, so that's ok).
What about Tori's performance? Well vocally she's excellent and thoroughly moving as always, even though there are no mind-blowing moments like in 'Professional Widow' or 'Precious Things [live]'. She still has the ability to thoroughly confound listeners with cryptic lyrics but I think that's part of her appeal. After all, who wants everything spelled out in black and white? (could the critic at the back please put his hand down). Much like on 'Choirgirl' Tori's piano seems a little low in the mix on 'Scarlet's Walk' but this just makes you appreciate it more when it does take centre stage like on the beautifully sad 'I can't see New York'.
I've probably listened to the record six or seven times since I bought it on Monday but I haven't been able to pick out definite favourite tracks, which could mean that there aren't any stand-out tracks or that its too consistently good a record. I like to believe the latter. Even so, I'll try to name ones which I remember reacting to with surprise (there's that word again) and delight. So that'll be: 'Amber Waves', 'A Sorta Fairy tale', 'Wednesday'... oh damn I'm just naming them all. See? It's hard.
Clearly this has been a very messed up review: that's the kind of confused state the album has left me in. Is it merely quite good, or is it truly brilliant? Right now, I can't say... give me a few months! Oh yeah, random thing: anyone notice how a tiny bit of the piano line on the title track sounds like 'Talk Show Host' by Radiohead? No? Ok, just me then. And another thing; I bought the UK Limited Edition version and it doesn't have a charm. Dammit, I wanted a charm! Oh well, I'll just have to make do with one of the most surprisingly good albums of the last few years.
From Jessica Dennis (Sisterjanet2) (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
Coming off of Strange Little Girls last year I was a little scared to hear what would pour out of my CD player once I had Scarlet's Walk, but Tori did not disappoint. The music is refreshing, and hearing each song in the order they are placed does what Tori intented- I felt lead along a path of emotions and imagery. The songs have an uplifting feel that I've never received from Tori's music before (having listened to her in my darkest hours for strength and sympathy). This being a joyous time in my life I am drawn to Scarlet's Walk and my own Native American heritage through this new work, and I definitely love the acoustic classic rock sensations in the music. This is beautiful album from start to finish.
From Matt P. (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
"Well he lit you up like Amber Waves in his movie show..." - The opening line on the album, and lets you be swept up in Tori's beautific vocals. Then along comes "...He said he's got a healing machine that glows in the dark..." now you should and will be completely melted with the melody of the chorus which you can't get out of your head in a hurry, nor would you want to. This is just the beginning of the journey that is Tori's 8th and latest album, Scarlet's Walk. This is also Tori's first album with her new label (Epic) and the first album she has created using a theme, America. A Sorta Fairytale is beautifully spread over 5 and a half minutes, and flows without gaps. You'll probably notice your foot tapping along to the beat at the beginning of the song (espesially if you've seen the ASF video). The honky-tonk caberet sounding 'Wednesday' will sure enough put a smile on your face. The first 5 songs flow across evenly with steady beats and easilly listening. Then we come across the perfectly crafted and beautifully sculpted song known as 'Carbon'. A 4 and a half minute epic with marvellous backing vocals by Tori on the Chorus, and percussion work by Matt Chamberlain that completely draws you in. Tori's voice will melt you in the hymn 'wampum prayer' and you'll get caught up in the tango beats of 'don't make me come to Vegas'. The haunting piano and vocals of 'I Can't See New York' brings chills to the spine, especially when Tori sings the lines "...on the other side..." and the chorus is beautifullly crafted. This song could bring a tear to the eye in rememberance of the tragic events of September 11. The most haunting, yet the most mellodically acceptional track is of course the title track, Scarlet's walk. Probably also the most powerful girl on the album. When Tori sings the words "leaving terra" sound painful and beautiful at the same time, and the mellow chorus ("...i will follow her on her path, Scarlet's Walk through the violets...") is enough to melt your heart.
This album is a MUST HAVE for all devoted Tori fans. Also has immense potential to reel in a truck load of new fans :)
From Alex Junaid (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
Lets get one thing straight right off: Scarlet's Walk is a conceptual masterwork. Tori weaves a narrative across 18 songs that takes us through fifty states and a myriad of characters in an attempt to get at the heart of what really makes America what it is. The album follows the character of Scarlet as she crisscrosses across the country in a journey that begins in L.A. and ends just east of DC. Each song represents a leg of that journey and reflects on Scarlet's thoughts and the people she encounters. Taken together, these experiences shape her perception of the land through topics like it's native people (Virginia, Wampum Prayer, et al), it's messiahs and religions (Pancake), frontiersmen and freedom fighters (Sweet Sangria), homosexuality (Taxi Ride), pornography (Amber Waves) and tradgedy (I Can't See New York). The story weaves itself together on multiple levels, both as a tale of one person's individual journey and as the testament of a nation.
Of course that's all well and good, but this is an album, not a novel, so the music has to stand up as well. This is not a record that's too likely to hook you on the first listen simply because of it's density. There's nothing as easily accesable as songs from '98s "From the Choirgirl Hotel" or '94s "Under the Pink." All the songs also have a very sleek and polished flow between them, unlike '96s schizophrenic "Boys For Pele."
Given enought time, however, the melodies begin to seep their way into your consciousness, and it's then that all their subtleties spring forward. There are lush, soft tracks, such as the beautiful 'Gold Dust' the positively haunting 'I Can't See New York' and the rainy day jazz of 'Your Cloud,' but there are also radio-friendly rock pop cuts, like the sublimely sardonic 'Pancake,' the steady plunge of 'Virginia' and the disillusioned first single 'A Sorta Fairytale.'
The piano is back in a big way, on this album, which contains more songs driven by Tori's main axe than either of her last two original albums (the previously mentioned "Choirgirl" and '99s "To Venus and Back"), but she brings along the band with her as well, and bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain accompany and compliment her. Strangely missing from the lineup is longtime guitarist Steve Caton, but newcomers Mark Aladdin and Robbie McIntosh do very well for themselves. Finally, as always, John Phillip Shendale's strings spice up a few of the albums tracks with a huge orchestra presence.
Tori's pal, author Neil Gaiman, said that Scarlet could be a person, the land itself or a trail of blood. No matter which level you choose to examine, "Scarlet's Walk" is definitely one worth following.
From Christina Thistlewaite (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
I absolutley love this album. Its happy and its sad at the same time. The whole map idea and Scarlet's travels is an amazing. I thought of this woman(I saw her as a woman) while listening to the CD and I felt like I was in those places. Every song is different with something new to offer.
I loved the bass and the funky 70's like guitar in Wednesday.
Carbon has the most beautiful chorus I have ever heard and the fast piano in the background sets the scene perfectly.
In Scarlet's walk the "leaving terra" part is so sad. (I liked the reference to Scarlett's Tara) Gold Dust is just beautiful. The ending of Virginia is so moving; kind of like she lost something. Each song offers something different and wonderful. I think in this album, Tori is exploring her Indian side and how that plays a part in America today.
Tori never fails to amaze me and I am thoroughly blown away by this CD.
Also, the goodies offered in the limited edition and the Scarlet's Walk website are so exciting-I felt like a little girl opening up my Christmas stocking!
From Martin (Posted Oct 31, 2002)
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