9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
the sound of maturity,
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
If Under the Pink marked the end of the heroic phase of Tori Amos’s career and To Venus and Back marked the nadir of her experimentalist phase (which was perfected on Choirgirl) then Scarlett’s Walk is a welcome return to form. This is in many ways her most coherent and consistent, if not most satisfying, album to date. It is in many ways the sound of maturity, she is perhaps less winsome then before and her arrangements are her more orthodox and less distinctive then before but when she hits her stride it is in her own inimitable style.
The vocals are surprising low in the mix which although effective in many ways means that many of the songs sound more similar then perhaps they might. Likewise at eighteen tracks this album is too long and while there is nothing bad here a little cull might have allowed the better songs to shine that bit brighter.
The concept, a walk across a post 9/11 America, actually works surprisingly well perhaps because it is quite muted and never gets in the way of the music. There is a lot that is contemplative here but little of the angry rawness or just plain strangeness that characterised her earlier outings. But then she’s older now and seems basically happy and seems comfortable with that, which is all to the good.
And then there’s Gold Dust, which closes the album, about the birth of her daughter and proves that she can still do personal. This is quite simply beautiful and is the most classical she has ever gone. Sounds almost like Shostakovitch in places. The vocals do not simply mirror the melody but form an intricate part of the music in their own right, now prominent and dominant now subsumed by the piano and string arrangements that echo her earliest work. The song is utterly original and totally timeless. Like a lot of classical composition its appeal is not immediate, its not very hummable, but it has lasting beauty. Genius.