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Pretty good but has it's problems!
on 2 August 2009
Tori Amos has been a force in the music industry now for over 17 years, and on her tenth studio album "Abnormally Attracted to Sin" offers a mix of tracks which can be inconsistent in quality at the best of times.
Amos' trademark piano sound, as has been the case mostly since the outstanding "From The Choirgirl Hotel", is largely pushed into the background, taking centre-stage on just a few tracks (such as "Ophelia" and "Maybe California"); however, Amos has incorporated a variety of styles in "Abnormally..." that make this album far more interesting than her previous two efforts.
In terms of tracks, there are some clear stand-outs - "Give" opens the album perhaps perfectly, oozing appeal that makes the album feel "sinful". "Strong Black Vine" builds on Amos' work from the inconsistent "American Doll Posse", seemingly tackling religious intolerance head-on. "Maybe California" is a heart-wrenching ballad, surrounded by a lush string arrangement which conveys the true sorrow of the lyrics - and will probably sound even better at live shows as a solo piano performance. "Lady in Blue" sees Amos incorporate an almost jazz-like sound, while up-tempo songs like "Fire To Your Plain" and "That Guy" are particularly arresting.
However, as with most of Amos' releases of the 2000s (not including thr fantastic "Scarlet's Walk"), there are several songs which could have been omitted. "Police Me" is perhaps the worst song Amos has ever released, while "Not Dying Today" and "Fast Horse" just don't seem necessary. While not bad, "Mary Jane" just doesn't do anything for me, at all.
The core problem is that Amos is either too generous or self-indulgent in her creation; "Abnormally..." runs for 76 minutes, however with some rather honest editing control, Tori could've had a minor classic here with 13 tracks. While that is a shame, is cannot be doubted that Tori has produced another mainly good listen.