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A positive review of TOAL from The Sunday Times in South Africa
February 2003

Updated Sat, Feb 07, 2004 - 5:39pm ET

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A review of Tales Of A Librarian was printed in The Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa sometime in February 2003. It is a very positive review.

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Thanks to Holly for telling me about the review. I enjoyed the little factoid at the end talking about all the Internet traffic Tori generates! You can read this review online at or below:

Exquisite collection of Tori Amos tunes

Artist: Tori Amos
Album title: A Tori Amos Collection - Tales of a Librarian
Production company: Atlantic Recording Corporation
Ranking: 5 stars (Aural Bliss)

We Recommend: Other must-have albums by Tori:
The Choirgirl Hotel (1998)
Strange Little Girls (2000)

By Lisa Andrews

"If your work is any more than one dimension, you believe in fairies... alternate realities make you a good writer" - Tori Amos

Tori Amos' latest album, Tales of a Librarian (2003), is something more than a greatest hits collection. It is chockablock with many Amos classics and also boasts four new recordings: there is 'Angels' and 'Snow Cherries From France' as well as two reworks of the rare b-side gems 'Mary' and 'Sweet Dreams' (from 1992's Winter - limited edition).

For those who have only been exposed to Amos' radio-friendly songs ('Cornflake Girl', 'Past The Mission' and 'Jackie's Strength'), this album will change their opinions quite dramatically.

What truly separates this album from other 'best of' albums is its attention to detail and uniqueness. All the tracks on Tales of a Librarian have been remixed, reconditioned and re-mastered to wonderful effect, adding sublime depth to the album's quirkyness.

There are subtle nuances: the sleek addition of strings, vocal layering to add that extra texture and variations on the major and minor keys of the piano. This production collage gives the CD and its songs a polished effect, leaving the listener with a pretty good idea of Amos' evolution through song and lyric over the last 11 years.

Many forget that Tori Amos began her music career before reaching adolescence. She played piano and sang in her father's church choir at the age of eight, often doing weddings and funerals.

Tori Amos initially sang with a pop-rock outfit called 'Y Kant Tori Read', but the failure of their first album saw Amos take a sabbatical, emerging five years later to pursue a solo career.

This led to the release of the enormously successful and emotionally wrenching Little Earthquakes (1992), an album that also introduced Tori's distinct piano sound.

No stranger to controversy, Tori Amos has always pushed the boundaries. One of her album sleeves (Boys For Pele, 1996) carries a photograph of her breast-feeding a piglet - this is also a woman who makes references to God and Satan like they were high school friends. A classic point in note is the lyric: 'God you sometimes just don't come through, do you need a woman to look after you?'

Tales of a Librarian is a supersonic autobiography. The album is all about forward motion and the powerful opening track, "Precious Things", kicks things off nicely.

The only (minor) complaint would be the inclusion of the Armand van Helden remix of 'Professional Widow'. The dance track stands out like an artificial orchid amongst the bouquet of organic, living melodies. Many fans would probably like to have heard 'Hey Jupiter' or 'Caught a Lite Sneeze' instead.

The new recordings, 'Angels' and 'Snow Cherries from France', both merge well with her previous work, but pale against her better known recordings. However, true fans of Amos' lyrical depth will delight in these two little treasures.

Tales of a Librarian (2003) transports the listener on a self-awareness journey.

The album is surely the highlight of a musical career and style comparable to no one but Kate Bush, albeit two octaves lower.

This is an album that is best listened to in silence, as few are likely to have a voice to sing along.


- Tori Amos' 1996 album Boys For Pele is a 14-song epic based around the myth of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Isis. The title of the disc is in honour of a Hawaiian goddess and not the famous footballer.

- Tori Amos dominates cyberspace with the most Internet traffic for a singer besides that of The Grateful Dead (1965 - 1995).

Posted by: Mikewhy

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