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on 1 June 2014
Tori's music is very special to a lot of people, and it's not an over-exaggeration to say that if you are a fan of Tori Amos each new album is greatly anticipated. One of the reasons for this is that she's one of those rare people who stores up experiences – be they personal, discovered through conversations with people, or experiences of literature and art – and is able to weave incredible songs out of them, each of which tells a story that perhaps has never been told in such a way before. Where some recording artists seem after a few albums to lose some of the inspiration that made them their names, Tori's own life experience continually gives her new inspiration. Each album is an album that her younger self may not have thought of creating.

Approaching 50 as she wrote this, she explains in the special edition DVD that a number of songs on this album are about the things you think about when you get older, and her relationship with her teenage daughter Tash has also influenced her writing as it's given her another perspective on youth and how society's expectations influence us at both these stages of our lives.

I won't go through the tracks in turn, as there'll already be reviews on here doing that and I want to focus on the special edition, but I do want to say that although there's none of the rawness of earlier albums, this, to me, feels like a classic Tori album in several meanings of that word. There are real echoes of Night of Hunters in the way the music almost sounds in parts like classical music, there are some very haunting moments across the album, and there are songs here that will, I think, win over the sub-set of Tori fans for whom nothing is ever going to be as good as the first two albums (particularly the single Trouble's Lament and piano-led songs Selkie, Oysters and Invisible Boy).

The special edition CD comes with a great extra track that is not available for download as of yet. Whilst I love the track Invisible Boy, Forest of Glass to my mind makes a much better final track. Whilst I also love the other two extra tracks only available on digital download, this track seems to me like an integral part of this album and I am very surprised it doesn't come with the standard version. If you're intending to get the standard CD then please stop and have a think about this first, or at least look out for when they hopefully make this track available for separate download, because once you hear it, you may also think this album missing a piece without it.

The accompanying DVD has the following features and run times:

Trailer 2:21
Interview 31:32
Studio Tour 5:35
Photo Shoot 3:44

The interview is one of the most illuminating Tori's ever recorded for an album. She explains the meaning of the album's title and gives an explanation of each of the songs in turn, giving a lot of insight into why the songs were written, her views on the America the world doesn't see, her relationship with her daughter and even her thoughts on the recent controversy about spying.
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on 15 May 2014
As a long time Tori fan I have been hoping for some time that she would hand in a more piano-centric album, a return to her girl-and-a-piano roots of old. And with Unrepentant Geraldines she has finally delivered this.

This is the first album (sans the classically-inspired Night Of Hunters) since the mid-90s not to feature long-time collaboraters Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Jon Evans (bass). So inevitably the album is less of a band affair, featuring no less than seven tracks with only Tori and her piano. The rest of the tracks have drums programmed by her husband, who also adds his usual guitar flourishes throughout.

One thing that struck me listening to this record is that her vocals sound more controlled and strong than her more recent albums, utilising her upper range to great effect, at times harking back to her vocal stylings on Little Earthquakes.

As for the songs, title track Unrepentant Geraldines is an utter masterpiece in my eyes. The main body of the song is largely experimental and unpredictable, shifting between contrasting sections with ease, a reggae tinged verse, leading into a punk-rock style bridge, then going into a piano-centred anthemic chorus. Just when you think you've wrapped your head around the song it ends abruptly and goes into a beautiful piano-centred outro section, which, on a first listen could very easily be mistaken for an entirely different song. It really has to be heard to be believed.

Other highlights include the haunting Weatherman and the gloriously quirky Beatles-esque Giants Rolling Pin.
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on 16 May 2014
I was surprised to see that somehow, without noticing, it had been 20 years since I first encountered Tori Amos through Under The Pink, and continued what is my most enduring affection for a single artist through eleven subsequent albums, not to mention box sets, rare B-sides, and numerous wonderful gigs. It's not been an easy journey, and the law of diminishing returns has meant that much of the last decade has been spent grumbling about the quantity over quality with regards to her material, trying to balance out those gems among the less deserving material that would have made a passable B-side but didn't deserve album placing.

Generally speaking, when a less-is-more approach has been taken, it's made for a very palatable album (witness both Midwinter Graces and Gold Dust, both of which pulled me back to eager fandom after a long slump), so it was with a sigh of relief when I saw that Unrepentant Geraldines contained a mere 14 tracks. Once I'd heard the marvelous Trouble's Lament, I felt even more reassured - this is Tori's strongest single for a long, long time, lighter and more playful in sound but also a new sonic palette. It's one of the album's highlights, but it has strong competition indeed. From the opening America, through to the last strains of Invisible Boy, the 14 tracks have an air of enthusiasm and playful gear-switching that's been absent in recent years; the multi-part title track is a true joy, once again taking the Tori Amos sound into new territories that echo The Police, of all things. Part of the lightness is the absence of Matt Chamberlain's monotonous drumming, or really any drums at all, which prevents too much weight to the songs - when there are drums, there's no direct credit, so I assume they are played or programmed by Mr Amos, or Mark Hawley/Mac Aladdin as he is credited. As a result, the sound is given more space, evidenced by the use of literal sound effects in 16 Shades Of Blue that might have been otherwise jarring, but here seem like a nice touch to an already-excellent song.

It's not all perfect; the trademark Tori Amos jauntiness found on Mr Zebra or Wednesday goes too far in the wrong direction on Giant's Rolling Pin, and the biggest howler is the use of her daughter Tash to sing alternating lines on the otherwise lovely Promise, ruining the song entirely. Similarly, I haven't quite settled into Selkie, which seems to be a favourite among everyone else. But for an album that's only been released in the last few days, it already feels simultaneously comfortingly familiar and a fresh new step.

Of the three bonus tracks, none of them are essential listening, but since only one of them actually costs money at time of writing (the iTunes exclusive White Telephone To God), it does no harm to round out the album with these curios. The deluxe CD Forest Of Glass is probably the best, reminiscent of the classic Garlands.

In objective terms, this would merit four stars from me - it's not all top-flight material, but it's not far off; however, the palpable sense of relief at the high quality after her last `proper' album (ie non-seasonal, non-classical album of new material, which was half a decade ago) was the weakest of her career, this gets five stars. I'll be very interested to see what comes next...
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on 29 June 2014
As usual, if she left a couple of the songs off, (mainly the cloying duet with Tash), this would have gotten a five star for the quality of the rest of the material.
I do, however, feel Tori isn't at her best lately. Compare this to earlier works ( Hotel, Venus, Pele) and it seems she is being far less brave and individualistic than is the norm for her.
I would love for her to make a really creepy electronica album, just something with the edginess she used to have.
But, this is still a good album and it's a Tori Amos album, and for that alone, it's worthy of the rating!
Everything she releases always has a stamp of quality unsurpassed by most.
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on 13 May 2014
Is this the best Tori Amos album? No.
However, is this still a fantastic album? Yes.
Everyone remembers the unconventional and, at times, groundbreaking debut "Little Earthquakes" and the 3 albums that immediately followed - "Under The Pink", "Boys for Pele" and "From The Choirgirl Hotel". Tori's output up to and including 2002's "Scarlet's Walk" was pretty flawless, however in recent years her albums have become overly long, bloated and full of filler. After a period of revisiting her childhood classical training and working on a musical with London's National Theatre, Tori has returned to making contemporary music. I'm trying to avoid the word "pop", because she's never made "pop" music. Whilst this isn't the greatest Tori album, it's most certainly worthy to bare her name, with songs like "Wild Way", "Invisible Boy" and "Selkie" echoing her earlier piano orientated work, and "16 Shades Of Blue" and "Rose Dover" containing elements reminscent of her electronic work on "From The Choirgirl Hotel" and "To Venus And Back".

Vocally, Tori sounds better than she has in at least 10 years and her piano playing is on point. Both lyrically and musically compelling and interesting, the album is exactly how you would expect Tori to sound at this stage in her career, ignoring her 2 most recent contemporary efforts "American Doll Posse" and "Abnormally Attracted To Sin", which now sound more like a desperate cry for help during a midlife crisis than compelling music.

"Giant's Rolling Pin" is a bit unnecessary and "Promise" (a duet with Tori's daughter), though a nice song, sounds out of place on the album. That still leaves 12 stellar tracks to enjoy. "Selkie" and "Weatherman" inparticular are 2 of the most beautiful songs she's ever written.

Check out the deluxe edition for the stunning bonus track "Forest of Glass", or Amazon MP3 for the exclusive track "Dixie", which is gorgeous (despite the opening line "grab your coat" sounding like she sings "crap your clothes").

All in all, a fantastic album with hints of the Tori of old, whilst sounding fresh, modern and relevant.
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After a series of musical sidesteps, Unrepentant Geraldines is Tori Amos' first album of original material since 2009's Abnormally Attracted to Sin. The first pleasing thing to note is that Unrepentant Geraldines clocks in at just under the hour - as one problem with her albums over the last decade or so was their duration. Generally they lasted between 75 and 80 minutes, meaning they ended up as something of an endurance test for the listener.

But whilst Unrepentant Geraldines could have done with losing a few tracks, it's still a more accessible album than some of her previous records and therefore could certainly hook some new listeners, although the majority of the sales will surely come from her faithful fanbase. "America" is a strong opener, it's a gentle, reflective song in which Tori sings of searching for the other America, which can be found on, "Sundays sitting by a stream/on her own/all alone". The stripped-back feel of this song is maintained on the majority of the album - allowing the tracks much needed space to breathe.

Other highlights included "Selkie", which is classic Amos - just vocals and piano - and is as heartbreakingly beautiful as anything she's ever written. The title track is another standout song, as though it sounds like two songs welded together it works very well, and despite being the longest track on the album (at just under seven minutes) it doesn't outstay its welcome. Another classic solo Tori performance on "Invisible Boy" brings the album to a very satisfying conclusion.

Although there are a few missteps along the way, such as "Giant's Rolling Pin" and "Promise", a somewhat schamltzy duet between Tori and her daughter, overall this is a strong collection of songs that should repay multiple listenings. A good return to form then, and whilst the new listener probably wouldn't be advised to start here, for any lapsed fans who enjoyed her 90's work, this is well worth checking out.
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on 24 September 2016
As I continue my rediscovery of Tori Amos, I find that there's so much here in her newer work to love! It may not be as immediately accessible as her albums from the 90s (although those albums were not exactly super-accessible, either), but if anything her work has gotten even more complex, thought-provoking, and multi-faceted yet coherent over the past couple of decades.

On my first listen through "Unrepentant Geraldines," I was like, "Eh. What is this?" It was sort of like the Tori Amos I knew, and sort of a mess, or so I thought. But on repeated listens I keep finding themes and threads that pull the album together.

Weddings and marriage come up repeatedly, both literally, as in "Wedding Day," and figuratively or implicitly, as in "Weatherman" (the highlight of the album for me) and "Selkie." The lyrical "I's" longing for, fear of, and frustration with, union with another is accompanied with a longing for truth and concern with deception, as she seeks assurances of the other's presence and truthfulness, even as she goes in search of the ultimate talisman of truth in "The Giant's Rolling Pin," whose quirky sound hides a serious concern. At the same time, time and the inevitability of aging figure again and again, whether somberly, as in "Promise," politically, as in "16 Shades of Blue," or with self-mocking amusement, as in "White Telephone to God." All of this is woven together with fairy-tale references in songs such as "Weatherman," "The Maids of Elven-Mere," and "Selkie." The final impression is of a lyrical voice that is both aware of its rootedness in its own body, and yet connected to the physical and spiritual worlds outside it through religion, mythology, and love.
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on 3 June 2015
This album has now become one of my favourites from the long line discography of Tori Amos. After a few years releasing the classical themed "Night of Hunters" and 20th Anniversary album of reworked hits "Gold Dust", Tori went back to the drawing board and decided her newest release would be a simple pop album with original songs and it was worth the wait!
What we have here is a record which deals with issues common today, fear of age, losing someone you love, political issues etc, alot of the other songs are told in the usual storytelling mode Tori is known for but it is all very personal, especially the duet with her daughter Tash on "Promise" and their relationship (that track is one my least favourites!)
But a year on after release, I still have days where I can listen all the way though easily like her earlier albums "Little Earthquakes" and "Scarlet's Walk", This is her best album in 10 years and I really hope the next one will be as good as this!
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on 12 May 2014
"Earthquakes" was shattering. "Pink" was magnificent. "Pele" was explosive. "Choirgirl" was mesmerising. "Venus" was stellar. "Scarlet" was stunning. There it is, arguably the absolute Tori top. At 50, and totally owning her own genre, for her new album Tori packs half a century of experiences into 59 minutes in her fiery piano confessional style, bearing them straight from the heart. Though not a drastic change from her familiar style, this time around she is much more welcoming than she has been in the infamous trilogy of "The beekeeper", "American doll posse" and "Abnormally attracted to sin" with which clouded fans/listeners (in fact, the undervalued "Beekeeper" was not bad at all, just a little too long). Those who are willing to approach "Unrepentant geraldines" (named after a 19th-century Irish painting) without fearing that it might be as frustratingly disappointing as the last 3 albums were, will be pleasantly surprised by its unforced nature and lack of pretense. Letting the songs come together on their own, on here Tori abandons the disastrous, inaccessible content of over-reaching concepts, complex writing, and lengthy duration of late, and steps forward with a lighter, yet mature, self-assured, yet heartwarming, often captivating record. The strongest moments happen to be the simplest ones, that alone says much about this new set. "Selkie" and the title track are examples of her unparalleled songwriting magnificence, while "Oysters" and closing track "Invisible boy" evoke simultaneously strength and vulnerability in the most heart-wrenching way. It has always been Tori's art that made her unique, but it is her heart that made her precious. "Geraldines" are rather glorious!
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on 6 June 2014
Despite the serious subject matter, Unrepentant Geraldines has a lightness--and even creative joy--that makes it a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Best release for years and welcome return to piano based ballads.
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