Top critical review
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.