Firstly, I wouldn't call this album a 'return to form' simply because her first five albums still remain to be her best 5, while 'Strange Little Girls', 'Scarlet's Walk', and 'The Beekeeper' have a couple of good tracks, but I really can't appreciate them as albums per se. This album, however, is better than her three last albums, and while it is consistant, has no classics like Precious Things, Winter, Little Earthquakes, Yes Anastasia, Horses and you know the rest.
Now, to stop comparing the album to her earlier work and write an actual review.
Big Wheel is one of the best songs from the CD, and is a song not to be taken too seriously, but it is Tori's funnest song. Period. Tracks 3-5 follow, but the album really hits a peak with the tongue-in-cheek You Can Bring Your Dog, which just oozes sex appeal. Track 8, Girl Disappearing, is another highlight, and I was glad to see a return to strings, as Yes, Anastasia is possibly her best song, compositionally at least. Soon after, there is Secret Spell, which should have been the lead single in my opinion, or at least should be the follow-up. Body And Soul follows and is the best song so-far, with a mixture of rock and electronic. The following songs follow with nothing too mentionable, but the albums best song for me is Dark Side Of The Sun which is such an epic anti-war track.
The last two songs, Smokey Joe and Dragon are further highlights.
Overall, this album lacks the emotion (which Tori does best) and passion that were so elaborate in her 1990's albums, but nevertheless, I would recommend it if you liked some of her previous album. If you haven't heard any Tori Amos yet, Little Earthquakes is by far the best place to start, and is very much her definitive album.
8 / 10