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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

on 13 November 2002
This is perhaps the best album by Tori Amos, there's something oddly beautiful about every song on it. Haunting lyrics and gorgeous melodies as always, but there are darker tracks which make the whole thing complete. There are not many songs more beautiful than 'Northern Lad' and 'Jackie's Strength', even the experimental 'Raspberry Swirl' doesn't let the album down. Altogether this makes for a masterpiece....I'm not sure Tori has topped it even yet. If you only buy one Tori Amos album, this must be it.
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on 6 December 2006
Tori Amos is one my favourite singers of all time her thought provoking messages with beautiful lyrics and a sense of comfort she brings to her music which is what fans globally have fallen in love with over the years. ""From The Choirgirl Hotel" is her fourth album and her most beloved among fans, a very dark, painful album in which during the recording process Amos suffered several miscarriage 'Choirgirl' being the end result.

1.Spark - One of her best songs shes ever written, this one definately touches on the subject of her miscarriage and feeling really angry with herself and god, the beat is heavily driven by an electic guitar and fits the song perfectly theres also a line "6:58 are you sure where my spark its" the meaning of this is that this is the moment she knew she wasnt carrying life anymore and the 'spark' was gone if you really think about it this a truly painful song for Tori to sing this is probably why she doesn't play it live much anymore 10/10

2.Cruel - This song has a really sexy beat with it's harsh guitar loop and pounding drums and it's echo-like vocals this song she sings about people who are feeling sad and you got other people basically saying 'get over it' and if they've never experience they don't how you feel that's why you retaliate back in a 'cruel' manner i think this song is for anyone who has felt that people didn't really understand them they way they waned to be understood.This is a very understated song from Tori and definately a favourite of mine without question. 10/10

3.Black-Dove (January) - I never really understood this song it's a very dark song for Tori very much acoustically driven with a great bassline.From what i can gather this could be about a woman or girl not telling anyone she was pregnant and going off to have the baby on her early in this case going to Texas in a wooded area lol, thats what i came to term with anyway i like the mysterious feel it brings 9/10

4.Raspberry Swirl - This is when the animal instincts of Tori's music comes out this club-driven beat is fantastically upbeat.This song is about just being a woman loving yourself as a woman being feminine and not letting men dominate your life, a somewhat sexual song the 'raspberry swirl' playing the role of the womans femininity and basically saying only a woman knows how to please a woman, not in a sexual way but it all ways and from what i can gather Tori feels men need to learn this lol cool song 10/10

5.Jackie's Strength - One of her most beloved songs the song was written in homage to the former first lady Jackie Onassis a song that signifies the true strength a woman has the lyrics are some of the most clever,strong and beautiful lyrics Tori has ever written i love this song i love the line "i got lost on my wedding day" which for me says that even with all the power you still get scared and afraid and it's alright to be weak sometimes its human nature. 10/10

6.Iieee - When i first heard this song a few years ago i thought it was so strange and instantly brushed it aside, but just recently i've seen the true beauty of this song, as Tori has Cherokee blood i feel this is a way of getting in touch with that i song feels very tribal, apparently according to Tori herself the song came to her in a dream by a little boy singing "Iieee, Iieee" in her ear, i find this song very sorrow-filled and Tori's vocals are top notch. 10/10

7.Liquid Diamonds - Another of Tori's most loved songs and my favourite song on the album, clocking in at a hefty 6 minutes this song could be 16 minutes and still not enough and when i saw her live she made this song truly come alive.From the impression i get from the this song is that you should try and make yourself happy before you even think about other peoples feelings, you have to that enternal need to be fulfilled by someone else and fulfill yourself the best line in this song is " A lilac mess in your prom dress" classic Tori! 10/10

8.She's Your Cocaine - This is Tori at her most bitchy it's a fanstically rock song, a revenge for Tori about a woman who can't be the woman she is but the guy can't get enough of her like an addiction, I haven't quite figured out if the girl singing is really annoyed that she isn't special to him anymore it's such a transformation from her usually stuff 9/10

9.Northern Lad - Another sad song for Tori this time she is pining over a love she used to have and still misses terribly and now she bitter that her live is unrequited, it's not as complex as her songs usually are but it's very pleasent to listen to theres a line which she says "I guess you go too far/when pianos try to be guitars" probably saying that she isn't ready or even willing to change who she is and if he doesn't like it thats his loss 10/10

10.Hotel - An electronic song that really gives the album that experimental,dark,sad even to the point of crazy, Tori really lets rip with the creativity with this on singing in higher ranges that she usually does which was a good addition to the song it shows her versitility, the song is about being with someone and while your with them everywhere you go your seeing your ex loves and its either temptation or angry is the main theme of the song its frantic and i love this song its great 10/10

11.Playboy Mommy - Another much loved song of hers, The song is about the lengths someone will go to keep theyre children protected in this case the woman is either a prostitute or an adult movie star and many consider this seedy work but the song is about not to judge the person shes just trying to look after her child.It's a sweet song in a way and a very good one that Tori plays live 10/10

12.Pandora's Aquarium - The closer is a sad song i enjoyed it alot its a song for you if you've cried and cried and you can't do it anymore and your introvertive and subdued,it's a whole new journey, but you've got to metaphorically leave this little dock and come with me to find out what's really in this ocean of feelings.That was a bit deep for me actually hehe but the song has a very aquatic theme anyway great closer

Top 5

1.Liquid Diamonds

2.Jackie's Strength




This is one of the best albums ever made and Tori fans really connect with songs from this song fans have felt her pain personally with each record but this was Tori's pinnacle career moment and a true highlight in musical history
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on 7 July 2007
Most of Tori's hardcore fans will agree this album represents her best work. How anyone could not enjoy this startling piece of music is beyond me.

Written during a dark time in her life, after her miscarriage, a lot of the lyrics touch on it, in particular the two songs "Spark" and "Playboy Mommy" explicitly referencing it (Tori has stated many a time it is a song about her miscarriage) with such heartbreaking lyrics as 'She's convinced she could hold back a glacier, but she couldn't keep baby alive', and 'Don't judge me so harsh little girl, so you got a playboy mommy' (the 'playboy' does NOT allude to prostitution or anything like that, it is simply a metaphor for feeling inadequate, and not good enough, because she was unable to give birth to her child.)
It's a dark, dark album. "Black Dove (January)" and "Liquid Diamonds" are two pieces of genius which take a while to get into but once you're into them, you are completely stunned by the brilliant lyrics and overlapping, complex melodies.
"Northern Lad" is probably my favourite on the album, yearning for a long-lost love, it's Tori's tale of heartbreak and she does it stunningly. "Jackie's Strength" is a beautiful song, also.
The album has it's lighter moments, too. "Raspberry Swirl" is fun and dancy. "Cruel" is one of the standout tracks on the album also, very catchy. "She's Your Cocaine" is also pretty wonderful.
The theme of water runs throughout the album, and somehow the melodies and the way the piano and her vocals flow seem to capture this. The artwork also matches the feel of the album.

I could go on for hours about how wonderful this album is. All I will say to finish is that if you are a fan of music, I do not understand how you could not enjoy this.
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on 13 February 2010
I don't want to exaggerate but this album is a miracle of balance and bravery: Tori revolutioned her own style without betraying herself; she became a rock goddess without abandoning the piano and her songs are as true, beautiful, dark and painful as ever. Songs like Hotel and IIEEE are unmatched. But the greatness of this album lies in the fact that each song has its own life and none of them feels like a useless filling. Even in a dance song like Raspberry Swirl, Tori conveys magnificient energy and in a difficult song such as Pandora's Acquarium she pushes her boundaries towards unexplored sounds. The opening of the album (Spark) is high but what follows does not disappoint, it just gets better, different and the listener is wrapped by a series of different atmospheres and just wants more.
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on 6 July 2004
From Spark to Pandora's Aquarium this album is full of sparkling originality and communication. I strongly recommend it - sit down with the sleeve in hand and an open mind, and listen to it from start to finish. The range in style here is amazing - where some artists would have stuck strictly to one style Tori seems to meander in and out of a variety, making this an emotional and musical rollercoater of an album. From her piano ballads, like Northern Lad & Jackie's Strength, to the more hypnotic experimental pieces like i i e e e, Hotel and Cruel, Tori remains in her element throughout them all, and holds it together beautifully. Every listen to this reveals something new - a real grower. The most outstanding tracks here are, in my opinion, Spark, Playboy Mommy, Cruel and i i e e e. Pandora's Aquarium is a slightly dissappointing concluding track - although the vocal acrobatics are quite incredible.
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on 2 February 2002
Tori Amos is surely one of the best artists to come out of the last decade and this album proves it. From blazing moments such as She's Your Cocaine to sadder, more thoughtful moments like Northern Lad, Playboy Mommy and Jackie's Strength (three of her best songs), it is carrying on from Boys For Pele as being experimental. Hotel and Raspberry Swirl (two Tori dance tracks) are certainly justifying my point! The standouts for me are Spark, Cruel, Jackie's Strength, Hotel and Liquid Diamonds. The low points (of which there are very very few) come in the form of Pandora's Aquarium, one of Tori's less accessible tunes. But the rest of the album you will love! It's also a good one to start with but this sound isn't necessarily what Tori's other albums display. For the moment just let From The Choirgirl Hotel blow you away!
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on 31 May 2017
What do I look for in a Tori Amos album? Basically I am looking for songs as good as ‘Crucify’, ‘Silent all these years’ and ‘Winter’. I am NOT looking for ‘Me and a gun’, ‘Professional Widow’ (remix) or cover versions.

The closest the ‘Choirgirl Hotel’ (1998) comes to the above favourites is the single ‘Spark’ and ‘Jackie’s strength’. The CD single of ‘Spark’ featured the B sides ‘Purple people’, ‘Batchelorette’ and a cover of ‘Have yourself a merry little christmas’. In ‘Jackie’s strength’ Tori sings that she once ‘mooned’ the 70s teen idol David Cassidy! Both ‘Spark’ and ‘Jackie’s strength’ were compiled on the CD ‘Tales of a Librarian’ in 2003, along with ‘Playboy Mommy’. The track ‘Cruel’ was released as a single in the USA, but this dark soundscape with a heavy drumbeat seems like an unlikely choice for a single release.

I must admit I find most of the songs here quite baffling, and sometimes boring; I cannot define each title as ‘the blues’ or ‘rock & roll’ or a ‘waltz’ for instance, because there are few reference points applicable, other than ‘Kate Bush’s more unhinged younger sister’. Most songs lack melody, some are too long, and the album itself is too long (54:12). The vocal performances are eccentric, rambling, and ‘kooky’. A track such as ‘Raspberry swirl’ is incomprehensible, and so are several others.

Some reviewers have stated that this is the ‘greatest album ever made’. Will they still feel that way when they are older? I have lived for over 5 decades, and I can safely say IT IS NOT.
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While BOYS FOR PELE is a strange, difficult album to get into, FROM THE CHOIRGIRL HOTEL is perhaps one of her saddest releases. As fans will know, Tori had suffered miscarriages before the release of this album, and this sadness is something that she certainly faces through her music. But, although the songs may be sad, they remain to be beautiful.

"Spark" is probably the best known single from this album. I bought it when it originally came out, even though I didn't buy anything else by Tori afterwards.
"Cruel" is perhaps my favourite track. Tori's voice is amazing and the music is brilliant. Strange and yet compelling, there is a real dark essence to this track. And her line, "I can be cruel, I don't know why" is just fantastic - when you put it with the music, it turns into something that you won't easily forget.
"Black Dove (January)" is a great track. Another great example of her ability to throw out some amazing ballads.
"Northern Lad" almost takes us back to her debut, LITTLE EARTHQUAKES. The song sounds more stripped down than the others, not so dark as some others here.

In my opinion, this album shows that Tori is a great singer / songwriter. She has heaps of originality, not afraid to experiment and explore deep, difficult personal issues. Any lover of true music should enjoy this.
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on 31 January 2013
I first discovered Tori Amos after 'Professional Widow' was released. I quickly amassed her back catalogue and this was the first release after. During the time, Tori was in a dark place after dealing with a miscarriage. What she delivered with this album was a haunting, melodical album with poignant lyrics. All the songs, with one exception are incredibly strong, with an almost Jazz edge to them. 'Spark','Cruel', 'Jackie's Strength' and 'Raspberry Swirl' were all singles and are strong, very different sounding pieces. The remainder of the songs simply have such a wonderful depth to them (something which has been sadly missing from later albums). Really, a lot of the songs stand out on this album, making it a fan favourite, but noteable songs include 'Playboy Mommy', 'Black Dove' and 'She's Your Cocaine'. The exception on this album and by far the weakest song is 'Pandora's Aquarium' - a Song which could quite easily have been left of this album.
If you are a first time Tori listener, I would recommend 'Little Earthquakes' first to break you in, but then to quickly add this amazing album to your list. It comes from a darker place, but is a must-have purchase for any music collection.
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on 6 March 2000
After Little Earthquakes, this is Tori's most 'accesible' album, but that doesn't detract from how special it is. It's one of those albums that is deep, but the way in which it's sung leads you to the meaning. The lyrics are often complex, but not so obscure that you get lost in them. Outstanding tracks are "Spark", "Raspberry Swirl", "Jackie's Strength" and the very original "She's Your Cocaine". "Northern Lad" is a beautiful song. Tori doesn't disappoint.
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