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Customer Review

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a winter treasure, 21 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Midwinter Graces (Audio CD)
Finally, Tori seems to be back to something like her old self after a pretty lacklustre seven years since the magnificent Scarlet's Walk. Her past three albums - The Beekeeper, American Doll Posse and the recent Abnormally Attracted To Sin - suffered from mediocre pop-rock arrangements trying too hard to sound like other artists, and far too many substandard songs crammed onto the disc.

This winter album sees a return to the classical side of Tori's musicianship, with largely orchestral arrangements throughout - only three of the twelve tracks here feature her band prominently, but sparingly. Elsewhere, gorgeous string arrangements, brass and harpsichord are the order of the day, and the result is heavenly for those of us who have longed to hear this side of Tori again. Songs are well-written, beautifully arranged and performed, and the sound is allowed to breathe for the first time in years.

She's done a remarkable job of re-interpreting several well-known carols, going back to the pagan roots of both words and music, and blending them seamlessly with her own additional lyrics on occasion. Don't expect straightforward renditions of such well-loved standards as We Three Kings, The Holly and The Ivy, Coventry Carol, Veni Veni Emanuel etc. Under Tori's scholarly and imaginative direction these old carols are reworked in a quite magical way; she manages to bring the pagan roots forth in a way that makes you hear these songs anew.

The album also contains several new Tori originals, among them 'Snow Angel', a song written for her daughter Natashya (who also sings briefly on the record - don't worry, it works!), the stunning 'Our New Year' and a thoroughly enjoyable big-band number called Pink and Glitter. The best new track though is 'Winter's Carol', which must be one of the best things she's ever done.

This is the loveliest, most affecting Tori Amos record in years. If you're a fan, you'll be delighted. If you're just looking for a winter album that isn't about Frosty the Snowman and Santa kissing mommy under the mistletoe, this might just be your thing.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Nov 2009, 16:10:09 GMT
I'm sorry, but how can you malign the beekeeper and praise the awful Scarletts Walk?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2009, 18:28:34 GMT
N. Bolton says:
I too thought thought the Beekeeper was poor (not a single decent track) and Scarlett's walk was (mostly) great. Just a matter of taste I suppose.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2009, 07:48:00 GMT
eve winter says:
Because I love Scarlet's Walk and find The Beekeeper dull and mediocre? It's personal opinion mate, not an insult aimed at your taste! :D

If you love The Beekeeper that's great. Many Tori fans have been very disappointed with her last 3 albums, and the point of my comments was to reassure those fans that this album was a wonderful step-up and worth buying.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2009, 12:56:56 GMT
G. Donaldson says:
Indeed, I much prefer Scarlett's Walk to The Beekeeper and think I'm right in saying this is also the general consensus amongst Tori fans.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2009, 07:30:33 GMT
eve winter says:
Yes, I'd second that - the last three albums all have their fans, but I'd say the general consensus is that Scarlet's Walk was her last really great album.

Midwinter Graces is absolutely beautiful, I love it more every day. Unfortunately the initial sales figures have been terrible, and I think this is a reflection of the fact that many hardcore fans have been permanently disillusioned by three below-par albums in a row, beginning with The Beekeeper. Such a shame, because Graces is up there with her best work and deserves so much better.

Posted on 15 Dec 2014, 13:03:48 GMT
JKR says:
Er, pagan roots? What are you talking about? Christmas Carols have no origin with pagan things at all. They cannot have as they are about the birth of Christ. The clue is in the title. ;-) I think you are confusing the origin of the Christmas celebration where the pagan Mid-Winter solstice feast was converted to a Christian Fe(a)stival.
Anyway, I do agree with you that this is a great album and about the orchestration.

Posted on 28 Aug 2016, 12:11:20 BST
Niall says:
I'd just like to say that I think The Beekeeper, American Doll Posse and Abnormally Attracted To Sin are amongst Tori's best albums in my humble opinion. So I'd be interested how this album stacks up against them. I love the title track of Scarlet's Walk but not sure about the rest of that album.
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