I first bought this album back when I was 13 when it was released in 1998, and here we are, twelve years later, I'm now 25 and I still think it holds up as her greatest album.
You have to be in a certain place to really connect with the songs on this album, it's certainly not easy listening. But if you're looking for something heartfelt and honest and you have the patience to get to know these songs, then you will be rewarded time and time again. This is one of those albums which transports you to whole other worlds. Songs like "Black Dove" or "iieee" are so hauntingly elegant and beautiful and conjure up such so much imagery to the listener.
When you know what she's singing about on a lot of these songs, it gives the listener a whole new appreciation for this album. Inspired by a personal tragedy in her own life (the loss of her baby), From The Choirgirl Hotel seems to deal with many of Tori's demons, with emotions that range from anger ("if the divine masters plan is perfection, maybe next I'll give Judas a try"), to dismay and ultimately grief (in the touching penultimate track "Playboy Mommy").
If you want to get into Tori, this album is her at the top of her game. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, beautiful and moving.