A review of Tales Of A Librarian was posted to The Onion A.V. Club web site on January 7, 2004.
Thanks to Jessica Ritchie and Timothy Michael for letting me know. You can read the review online at theonionavclub.com or below:
Tales Of A Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection (Atlantic)
As her ill-fated '80s band Y Kant Tori Read proved, Tori Amos was never destined to be a rock star, but stardom (of a kind) beckoned anyway. Trading in the big hair, Amos switched into singer-songwriter mode just in time to get noticed during that brief period in the early '90s when the broad forums of pop culture favored innovation over the tried-and-true. Amos' innovation came mostly from the simplicity of her approach. Though she hardly ruled out ornamentation, she constructed songs grounded in voice and piano, and though the sound was worlds away, the back-to-basics feel mirrored the sentiments of Seattle. Amos' often brutally frank lyrics, which traced the scars of a difficult coming of age, made her even more difficult to ignore. After releasing two standout albums-Little Earthquakesand Under The Pink-Amos shifted away from the spotlight and into cult stardom, letting the words and the melody drift further toward abstraction.Tales Of A Librarianmarks Amos' first best-of collection, and as such, it makes a pretty good case for her career as a whole, and an even better one for her earlier efforts. Alongside highlights from later albums and some re-cut B-sides, the tracks fromEarthquakesand Pinkstill stand out most. Maybe it's because they're sung with the intensity of someone who needs to be heard, not the confidence of a singer who knows a built-in audience is hanging on her every word. Many cult artists are fated to be loved too much by those who love them, and to grow content with that love alone.Librariansuggests just how sad it would be if Amos dug into that niche for good.
By Keith Phipps