Many thanks to Lucy
for this review!
paints mystical music of love lost Tori Amos is truly one of the
great musical enigmas of our time. While having never scored a top-10
single, guest-starred on a sitcom or spawned a national dance craze,
Tori nonetheless possesses one of the most rabid, devoted fan bases
of any performer in the last 20 years.
Her mystical musical
mirage of fairies and demons, of love lost and love renounced, of
insufficient deities and the women who look after them, continues to
capture and enrapture the hearts, minds and souls of men and women of
no particular demographic. Her originality is so idiosyncratic that
it would be impossible to attempt to craft another singer into a
"similar" style: you're either Tori or you're sadly
pretending to be Tori. (The critics and PR people who attempted to
market such piano-driven singers as FionaApple and Vanessa Carlton as
"similar to Tori" were doing disservices to all parties
involved.) After last year's controversial collection of cover songs,
"Strange Little Girls" (which included a notorious
rendition of Eminem's "'97 Bonnie and Clyde"), Amos returns
to the uncontrollable joy of her fans a mere one year later with a
lengthy new album entitled "Scarlet's Walk." This is Amos'
first collection of new original material in three years and her
longest since 1996's "Boys for Pele."
Walk" is a concept album that chronicles a musical journey
across America as seen through the eyes of Scarlet, the heroine
(portrayed by Amos in the accompanying photography). Amos wrote the
album while making her own journey across America last year touring
in support of "Strange Little Girls."
There's no easy way
to say this, but "Scarlet's Walk" is a little
disappointing. The overall tone of the album musically speaking is
mellow, plain and rather uninteresting. After the jagged little pill
of "Strange Little Girls," this one goes down like a gel
tab. This is by far the calmest and least experimental album Amos has
released since 1994's "Under the Pink."
The album never
really breaks from it's smooth-sailing reverie, which would be fine
if the music was prettier. Instead, we're given spare soft-rock
accompaniments, which still sound like they're drowning out Amos'
evocative piano. Consisting of 18 tracks and clocking in at 74
minutes, "Scarlet's Walk" could definitely have benefited
from a bit of musical diversity.
One's enjoyment of
this album ultimately hinges on one thing: one's reception of Amos
herself. "Scarlet's Walk" is a one-woman show if ever there
was one, and by the end of the album, one feels as though they've
just spent a very long time on the phone, listening to Tori pitch
them a bunch of song ideas she's been kicking around. So, while
"Scarlet's Walk" isn't likely to earn Amos too many new
listeners, it will still be eagerly embraced by those for whom Tori
could never do any wrong: her fans.
By Jason LeRoy, Daily