Tori Amos Delivers Best Album Since 2002



Having been a long time Tori Amos devotee who followed her around the country on multiple tours, the past ten years have been a frustrating experience. From 1992-2002, there wasn’t a Tori Amos album that wasn’t strikingly brilliant; however, that all changed with the release of The Beekeeper in 2005. While there were some good songs on it, a lot of the material was lackluster and it seemed Amos was trying too hard to conceptualize something that, for once, didn’t even make sense to her. Then came 2007’s “America Doll Posse.” While the tour that went with the record was daring, the record itself was uneven, resulting in some great moments and others that were pale in comparison to her earlier catalogue. After that came 2009’s “Abnormally Attracted To Sin,” which, again, was mixed. This was followed by a Christmas album, a classical album (the rather boring “Night Of Hunters”) and a greatest hits classical re-working. Needless to say, nothing has been solid since 2002’s “Scarlets Walk,” a brilliant concept album. This has all changed with the upcoming release of Amos’s new work, “Unrepentant Geraldines,” which comes out next Tuesday, 5/13. 

The album is a return to form for Amos, as it’s more pop focused than anything she has done since 2009. Gone are the boring orchestrations, now replaced with interesting beats and- for the first time in a long time- introspective, deep lyrics. 

“Trouble’s Lament” is the first single from the album and has a Nancy Sinatra-esque twang to it. The song follows Amos exploring the idea that trouble needs somewhere to nest, and questions “will you give it one?”  While I wasn’t the biggest fan of it at first, I have grown to truly like it, and find myself getting chills when Amos sings “what will be will be, baby.” I haven’t had chills from Amos like that in a LONG time. 

“16 Shades of Blue” is another highlight for me. The song has an interesting drum beat that sounds like nothing else Amos has done. In addition, the song has brilliant lyrics that find Amos exploring the idea of being rejected, regardless of age. 

“Wild Way” stands out as well. It could be solely that Amos begins the track with “I hate you, I hate you, I do” which immediately intrigued me to know what was going to happen in the rest of the song. The song finds Amos reminding a lover not to forget they “loved” her “wild way.” It’s a pretty song and it works well. 

“Wedding Day” finds Amos exploring territory I haven’t heard before. While i loathe saying it reminds me of Kate Bush, as Amos has faced that comparison her entire career, it kind of does. It has this lush, beautiful aura about it that you just have to hear to believe and it takes the listener on a sonic journey that is interesting. 

The other major highlight- though there are many- is “Oysters.” This is one of the best things Amos has EVER written, and that’s saying a lot as she is over 20 years into her career. This song reminds me of “Pandora’s Aquarium” and that’s truly a good thing. It’s a great way to close out the album. 

Other highlights include “Promise,” a duet with her daughter (who has a stunningly gorgeous voice), “Selike,” a beautiful piano ballad, and the title track, “Unrepentant Geraldines” which, at moments, reminds me of- wait for it- “Datura.”

While there are a few filler tracks including the meh “Maids of Elfen-mere” and the playful “Giant’s Rolling Pin,” this is the most solid record Amos has had since 2002. Her voice sounds gorgeous, her words are audible, and the music is back to being fascinating, with thought provoking lyrics. For the first time in years, Amos doesn’t sound like she’s trying too hard; rather, she’s doing what she does best- being honest.