Unrepentant Geraldines - Tori Amos
Tori Amos is a musician that I have listened to rather casually, but I was always intrigued by her sweet, mezzo soprano voice as it spouted out dark, intimately intense lyrics. Her advocacy for being a strong woman in the face of adversity has been an inspiration to many people, and what better way to work through her pain than to bring us beautiful melodies that have the ability to strike a chord in even the most hardened of hearts.
With her latest offering, Amos goes back to her roots, employing the lyrics and piano arrangements that have identified her as such an important piece of musical culture. The first track, 'America,' is a great example of her classic sound, her angelic voice overlaying lovely piano work. 'Trouble's Lament' has a great guitar tune that reminds one of the old west, the lyrics telling a story of the personification of trouble. Next up is a slow sort of love song, 'Wild Way,' followed by 'Wedding Day,' a song that utilizes woodwinds and acoustic guitars to deliver a harmony of a past love that never was. The ethereal tone of 'Weatherman' is sorrowful and mystic, again featuring a personification, this time of the four seasons. A more contemporary track, '16 Shades of Blue' speaks of time lost and the need to remain young at heart. In the fantastical 'Maids of Elfen-Mere,' Amos really shows off her gift of soprano and amazing ability as a lyricist.
The next track, 'Promise,' is a duet with her 14 year old daughter, Tash, whose voice is reminiscent of her mother's but with an R&B type feel to it. Tash is a great compliment to her mother, the song a sweet, catchy tale of a mother's promise to always be there for her child, and vise versa. 'Giant's Rolling Pin' is a tongue in cheek metaphor for the loss of privacy and freedom in our society, using tubas and a chunky tempo to make the song sound almost childish, as the lyrics are told in the vain of a fairytale. “Selkie' is a slow breathy tune, fading into the nature laden opening of the title track, a poke at religion and the futility of being a follower, instead promising to rebel and be free thinking, no matter the cost. The ending of the song contains an extra verse whose lyrics are not in the liner notes, adding a bit of mystery to it. The need to recover one's own self after a traumatic experience is the basis for 'Oysters,' another haunting melody. 'Rose Dover' is full of different elements, starting slow, then becoming more poppy and upbeat, then ending with a dark verse. The final track, 'Invisible Boy,' contains Amos and a single piano, ending the album on a lighter note.
Amos' talent for playing dual pianos is only part of what makes her so memorable, and with this album she takes her abilities even further with wonderful results. Although I would not consider this album to be any sort of landmark, it is just as beautiful and relevant as her other bodies of work. I love the duet with her daughter and am glad to see the support she has for such young talent. After 14 albums Amos manages to stay true to who she is and what she is about and I admire her for that. I will definitely be keeping up on her future endeavors.
This article is being published on August 22nd, which is subsequently Amos' birthday, and I'd like to wish her the best on her special day.