Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amos' sonic road trip - an intricate, towering achievement, 11 April 2007
By 
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
Tori Amos' Sony/Epic debut, Scarlet's Walk, was released in 2002 to mostly positive reaction from critics but muted response from many fans. Where were the semi-gothic piano epics? Where were the impassioned vocals? Where was the sonic diversity? But, as with the best albums, it has matured like a fine wine and is held in high regard today by the Amos fan community that has recognised its subtle, intricate delights.

Motherhood has calmed Amos here (daughter Tash born in 2000) and given her a new perspective. Where previous albums tended to look inward for inspiration, Amos now becomes more of an observational songwriter and the impact of 9/11 caused her to think about America and its history. Tapping into her own Native American roots, Amos sculpted a towering masterpiece of poetic imagery and songcraft, drawing on the wells of American history and politics. Scarlet's Walk is like a travelogue, and loosely follows the protagonist, Scarlet, across the United States on a road trip.

Musically and lyrically, Amos attempts to evoke the place Scarlet is supposed to be in - the desert setting of "Don't Make Me Come to Vegas" features a slow, sensual rhythm and Mexican-style percussion; the Floridian summerscape of "Another Girl's Paradise" is sensual and summery, with images of groves and oranges; "Virginia" references the state with its folk-style dobro and twisting piano melody. But even if the listener doesn't follow Scarlet's journey (and the lyrics don't make reference to any particular character or any particular event - i.e. the story of Native American plight in "Scarlet's Walk" is evoked rather than stated, and the 9/11 catastrophe in the intense epic "I Can't See New York" is not clearly mentioned), the album is an intricately-woven gem.

The hallmark is soft, subtle, '70s-style arrangements akin to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, with meticulously-crafted melodies that come off as effortless; vocally, Amos sings in a natural range, lending the material an earthy tone, and a hallmark is to finish each song on a lingering a cappella note. What was once mistaken for blandness or repetitiveness is actually narrative continuity. But that doesn't mean each song is the same - far from it.

The ballads here are alternately heart-wrenchingly sad ("Strange"), plaintive (the simple "Your Cloud"), majestic ("Scarlet's Walk"), or opulent and grand ("Gold Dust"), and the harder-edged material is among Amos' best, with subtly fiery tunes like "Sweet Sangria" and "Pancake" ensuring that this album retains a musical diversity. There are also some superb new experiments, like the country shuffle of "Wednesday," the Mexican rhythms in "Vegas," and the chamberlain flute in "Mrs. Jesus." There's also more of a melodic, hook-laden pop sound on show, especially on such superb examples of songcraft as "Amber Waves," "A Sorta Fairytale," and "Taxi Ride." Vocally, she's in fine form, especially on the likes of "I Can't See New York" and the orgasmic coda to "Virginia."

One of the most significant artistic contributions of her career, Scarlet's Walk is Tori Amos' ultimate conceptual realisation. She has been more sonically and musically adventurous, but musical diversity and experimentation was not in service to these songs, which have a classic, nostalgic '70s feel in their arrangements and superbly executed chord progressions. It's a majestic work, and one of Amos' best. Here, she proves that you don't need to wail your way through a song or sing provocative lyrics to have a deep, resonant impact.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.4 out of 5 stars (53 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 30,952