Reviews & Recommendations
...where the pretty girls are? Those demigods with their nine inch nails and little fascist panties tucked inside the heart of every nice girl.
-- Tori Amos
Tori Amos
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"Here's to Tori!
Tori the rebellious, Tori the musical genius, Tori the accomplished pianist, Tori the provocative and controversial lyricist, Tori ... the sweet girl.
Intense yet delicate, her songs carry everything from heartfelt emotions, torment and anguish, to hope and romance.
Her debut "Little Earthquakes", included the song Me and A Gun, a chilling story of her devastating rape experience (1984 in L.A), a song that would later become an inspiration for founding Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
"Little Earthquakes" ('91) might have put Tori on the map, but it's her second release, "Under the Pink" ('94), that clearly subdues the listener, by stretching the boundaries of rebellion, and questioning everything from Religion and God, to parenthood, love and sex.
"God sometimes you just don't come through, do you need a woman to look after you?".
By 2001, Tori Amos had already released 6 critically acclaimed studio albums, and built up a cult following worldwide.
Shocking and always compelling, that's the story of Tori!''
-- Said Sukkarieh,, 9/01

 Tori Amos Discography - Album / CD Reviews

***¾1991: Little Earthquakesaudio

"...despite the frightfully vivid rape images over many songs, Amos also displays a knack for describing the pathos of relationships, using only her voice and her incredible piano playing. 'China,' with a wall of sound as expansive as the country itself, portrays a long-term relationship breaking at the seams as she poetically notes, "Funny how the distance learns to grow." The evocative, wrenching lyrical assault of 'Mother' is just as memorable. Yet it's with the delicate 'Winter' where Amos soars. It's as if merely listening to the song would open one's eyes to the turbulence of life, love, and adolescence. The epic climax leaves Amos spent - you can hear it in her voice, and you can't help but feel the same.

There are some albums that just affect you regardless of age. If you don't feel something after listening to Little Earthquakes, you'd better check your pulse. It was the design for most female songwriters of the 1990's to follow, and they all owe substantial tribute to her for it. Indeed, the Muse had finally found Tori's address. She delivered a collection of songs and emotions unparalleled by any other female artist this decade. "
-- Pierre Stefanos,

**** 1994: Under the Pinkaudio

"From girl-child prodigy, raised within strict religious confines, to outspoken and free-thinking/speaking/singing fearless woman, Amos ensures us an interesting, if not enlightening trip. Amos challenges just about everyone on this album, not just the usual lovers and emotion-torturers, but her God, parents, other women and herself.
(...) Under the Pink most importantly brings forth her gorgeous piano work, showcasing her strongest talent, instead of hiding it behind arrangements a bit too powerful and guilty of overshadowing the simplicity of her delivery and message.
(...) A complex, beautifully arranged album and compelling musical journey, Under the Pink further confirms Tori Amos' status as gifted musician/goddess and compelling storyteller/guide. It's a trip worth taking. "
-- Beth Bachtold,

*** 1996: Boys For Peleaudio

"For all of you who skipped pagan Sunday school, the Pele in the title of Tori Amos's sprawling, explosive, and sumptuous third album is not the Brazilian soccer wizard but the tempestuous volcano goddess of the Hawaiian isles. Given Amos's fiery mane, hot bubbling psyche, and passionate (and sometimes bitchy) music, she makes a perfect Pele priestess. So who are Pele's boys? Well, given the traitors, weasels, senators, and sheriffs that mostly make up this album's crew of male figures, I'd say that the boys may well be sacrifices.
(...) Amos gets so much buzz for her lyrical persona that folks pass too quickly over her music, which is just getting better: full of breath but refusing climax, laced with brass filigrees and melodic tendrils, cut with shadows and grit. Boys for Pele includes some warped blues and weird noise effects that thicken the stew considerably, balancing out her fractured faerie tales and use of the dangerously twee harpsichord. "
-- Erik Davis, SPIN , 03/96

**** 1998: From the ChoirGirl Hotelaudio

"With her wails and whimpers, muscular piano playing, and far-out imagery, Amos has always painted vivid worlds in her songs. The full band she's now recording with gives new depth and color to her work. The use of drums, guitar, bass, and the metallic clang and hiss of electronic instrumentation both propel her songs and ground her melodramatics. The music now bends and curves with her swooping voice and hammering piano, but it's still Amos' sheer emotional power and anguish that holds it all together. Since her 1991 debut, she's been consistently challenging voice in pop music, laying the groundwork for the many women muscians who have taken over the charts. "
-- R.R, Out Magazine, 6/98

*** 1999: To Venus and Backaudio

"Tori Amos has filled the gap vacated by Bush, and , while her lyrics are undoubtedly weird ("Father, I killed my monkey/I let it out to taste the sweet of spring"), to dismiss them as merely the ramblings of a colourful imagination is to misread Amos's alchemic strivings: words and music both sift the flotsam on the wilder shores, and add up to an extravagant gothic construct that delves deep into the more secretive recesses of human nature. To Venus and Back brings all of Amos's quirks to the fore, and is as marvellous and quixotic as last year's "From the Choirgirl Hotel". Bliss, Concertina and Glory of the 80's are tours de force, while an accompanying live album cherrypicks a strong back catalogue. Amazing what these daffy chicks can do. "
-- R.R, Out Magazine, 6/98

*** 2001: Strange Little Girls audio

"... Amos sticks with the script when reciting lyrics from acts as diverse as the Velvet Underground, Depeche Mode, Neil Young, Tom Waits, and Slayer. She transforms the material, though, by singing in a pained tone, weighing the lyrics with heavy emotion and stripping most of the songs down to their simplest elements--often just a string section, a drum machine or a piano, leaving the original music almost unrecognizable. The most poignant of these tracks is definitely her cover of Eminem's "97' Bonnie and Clyde." The first-person story of a man dumping his lover's dead body takes on an ugly sickness and brutality with Amos's almost-whispered narration. As with most of these songs, Amos removes the pop façade and leaves the listener with a stark picture of the message behind the lyrics--whether that message concerns violence or male identity--in a statement both subtly political and stunningly beautiful. "
-- Jennifer Maerz,

*** 2002: Scarlet's Walk audio

"Opening with the pleasant ‘Amber Waves’ which utilises background harmonising to tremendous effect, it is followed by the single ‘A Sorta Fairytale’. Immediately catchy it is a hark back to her early career when melody was the most important factor. One thing that does stand out is the use of guitars. On past releases this instrument was barely used and when it was, it was kept to the background. This time the guitar is used frequently and in a bolder way. This is not to say the piano is made redundant. Rather it has just had to move over a little to make room for the gentle buzzing, rolling guitars. (...) Another new feature on this album is the introduction of longer songs. And - get this - they actually work. Previously, save a few exceptions, her attempts at creating something over the 4 minute 30-second mark have yielded rather dull results. ‘Gold Dust’ and in particular the seven minute ‘I Can’t See New York’ make up for past errors, as every second is vital to the song and demands the listener's attention. But, being a Tori Amos album, along with the beauty and the genius, there is the irritating and the bland. ‘Pancake’ and ‘Mrs. Jesus’ just don’t cut it and were needless additions to this album. But therein lies the problem. This album is 18 tracks long! Very few albums can sustain quality and interest over so many songs. (...) If three or four of the more mediocre tracks were harvested, then perhaps it would be a more enjoyable relaxing experience. As it is now, it is just too long and failed to hold my attention for the whole album."
-- Graham Smith,

2005: The Beekeeper audio

"With her new album, Tori Amos delivers some of the most accessible music of her career, coupled with beautifully obscure lyrics. More adventurous top 40 PDs could spin The Power of Orange Knickers or Cars and Guitars and finally bring her some much-deserved airtime. As a whole, though, 'The Beekeeper' doesn't passionately smolder like previous outings, instead shooting off bright sparks (Original Sinsuality) and damping the flame (Ribbons Undone) in equal measure. The grave title cut underscores its theme of death with buzzing noises that sound like a sinister infestation. The London Community Gospel Choir accompanies the artist on several tracks, heightening the sensual slink of Sweet the Sting and Hoochie Woman. Per tradition, Amos closes the proceedings with a poignant goodbye, the ballad Toast."
--, 2/05

2007: American Doll Posse

Tracklisting: 1. Yo George 2. Big Wheel 3. Bouncing Off Clouds 4. Teenage Hustling 5. Digital Ghost 6. You Can Bring Your Dog 7. Mr. Bad Man 8. Fat Slut 9. Girl Disappearing 10. Secret Spell 11. Devils and Gods 12. Body and Soul 13. Father's Son 14. Programmable Soda 15. Code Red 16. Roosterspur Bridge 17. Beauty of Speed 18. Almost Rosey 19. Velvet Revolution 20. Dark Side of the Sun 21. Posse Bonus 22. Smokey Joe 23. Dragon

"Emotive ivory tickler Tori Amos once again proves she's the musical equivalent of your one friend who just says the same shit over and over whenever you have a conversation. That is to say, on her latest the angsty icon has all but phoned in an unbalanced, redundant and unnecessarily bloated 68-minute album. While she attempts to touch on, er, vibrantly original issues like evil American presidents, the massive bulk of Posse lacks structure and coherence, and except for songs like Bouncing Off Clouds and Velvet Revolution, her occasionally slinky or playful but mostly heavy-handed compositions like Fat Slut (which sounds like ridiculous self-parody) have been done to death. Ambitious, high-concept albums are one thing, but Posse's just a boring mess."
-- Evan Davies, NOW Magazine, 5/07

Recommended Links:

Tori Amos: Official site
A Dent in the Tori Amos Universe
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Kate Bush | Sarah McLachlan | All About Eve | Delerium | Bjork | Suzanne Vega | Alanis Morrisette | The Dresden Dolls

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