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Tori Amos - From The Choirgirl Hotel (1998)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Soot and Stars, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    The first Tori Amos c.d. I ever heard as well as owned was Boys For Pele. At that time of my life I was getting braver and diversifying my music taste. My parents would order me a crapload of music from BMG for Christmas and because of the amount I would make some random choices. I saw that this Tori Amos artist that I'd never even heard before had a good amount of material on there and I'd just got into my first legit female artist Fiona Apple so I was craving more of that artistry. The description as well as the cover of Boys For Pele

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    looked really interesting so I chanced it! After my Christmas bounty the Tori Amos c.d. was the last one I tried and my initial reaction was WTF?! For some reason I approached it again and little by little I dug it until it just clicked and I ended up really, really liking it!

    The thing with Tori is that if you aren't used to a certain intimacy in music then it's a process to finally get Tori. Once you are there though you end up loving every quirky aspect, breathy phrase, whisper, piano tinkle, carnal wail, throaty moan and graceful melody that comes from this Rock N' Roll Piano Goddess. That's what happened to me. After Tori got in my head I went and bought her whole catalog even including her EPs. In this collection, I heard a Tori that wasn't quite as bare and raw as Boys For Pele but as intimate and gorgeous as ever. I was hooked beyond comprehension.

    I've honestly just erased what I was going to say about each album ten times before giving up. I thought a synopsis of each albums style would make a good lead-in but a blurb doesn't do them justice in my eyes. Let's just say that after catching up on Tori's catalog I was shocked that my favorite Tori c.d. ever would be the first one that I would buy as a new release.

    Ironically, it would also be the one that nearly altered everything I had previously learned to love about Tori's music. Everything I read on Tori's official website told me that this was going to be a change. I thought to myself in a manner of how Tori would speak "Now Tori, we just became friends and now you want to change everything up on me. You know I love you but it's just too soon." Anyone who's heard Tori speak of her songs as real entities might be able to understand my humor there! :D Everyone else won't but it's o.k.! :lmao:

    So anyway, what changed so drastically? What happens when an artist built on intimacy feeds off a band for the first time? What happens when an artist who's fed off of her love for Rock N' Roll her whole career finally comes out and embraces it head on for the first time? What happens when that same artist also embraces beats and a techno vibe on the same project? What happens when the same artist also embraces some of the worst turmoil of her life during this period of her life?
     
  2. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    From The Choirgirl Hotel

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    is what happens!

    First of all I love that album cover. It introduces you right off to the strange place that Tori was in while making this album as well as the strange murky yet beautiful depths the listener will be carried to. This album is a journey. It will rock you, it will move your soul, then your body, then it will subdue you only to pick you up and move you again! It's rock, techno, jazz, pop and many other elements all rolled into one! During this period of Tori's life she had three miscarriages. These songs are Tori's replacement children. They are the souls she gave life to and nobody has ever embraced this belief like Tori.

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    It's no wonder that Tori maintains that connection to the listener under any setting. The places she goes with her music gives her a relationship that few artist have with their work. You almost believe her when she says each song has a spirit that comes to her and on no other album is she this spiritual. In the dark layers of the material on here Tori still presents a core of hope underneath it all. This to me is a masterpiece of an album and it's why to this day I'll buy anything that Tori even touches! :grinthumb
     
  3. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

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    Spark
    This opener as well as single is the highest charting single of her career. It's a very dark song about her miscarriage and touches on her anger at the world and even God at this time. This song starts as cold and lifeless as the depression the subject matter deals with but picks up in the second half with emotional defiance. A beautiful dark piece!

    Favorite Lyrics:
    If the Divine master plan is perfection
    Maybe next I'll give Judas a try
    Trusting my thoughts to the ice cream assassin


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/song/Spark/772898

    Cruel

    A subdued track with a great groove. I love the phrasing, diction and alliteration in this song. She takes a song that's not really being sung and makes it interesting with her delivery. That and the beat to this make a very simple song interesting. I love the part at 2:40 where is has a tribal like beat and her moaning. I used to think this was weak track but grew to love it.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    Even the rain bows down
    Let us pray as you cock-cock-cock your mane


    Even the rain is sharp
    Like today as you sh-sh-shock me sane


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20cruel

    Black-Dove (January)

    A great ballad that raises you out of the murky waters just long enough to catch your breath with it's soaring chorus. Tori is quoted the images as being nightmares so even she doesn't understand the meaning of it all but you can tell she feels the desperation behind finding the answers by her vocals alone.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    Black-dove... Black-dove...
    You don't need a space ship. They don't know you've already lived...
    On the other side of the galaxy.


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20black%20dove

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    Raspberry Swirl

    I love this song. This song picks me right up after the previous material and the techno beat makes my body shake with movement. Tori pushes out every breath with the same physicality that the song is created for. Tori vocally matches the urgency of the thumping beat in this song.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    (Not poetry in their own right but the delivery makes this a great chorus)

    Things are getting desperate
    When all the boys can't be men
    Everybody knows
    I'm her friend
    Everybody knows
    I'm her man


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20raspberry%20swirl

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    Jackies Strength

    Tori is definitely a feminist which causes some to feel threatened by her but it's this appreciation of all things feminine that adds a philosophy and depth to her music. She has a way of inhabiting iconic female archetypes and really bringing them to life. This song was Tori getting inside the spirit of Jackie Kennedy and it's the most gorgeous sounding song on the album.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    I got lost on my wedding day
    typical, the police came
    but virgins always get backstage
    no matter what they've got to say
    if you love enough you'll lie a lot
    guess they did in Camelot
    mama's waiting on my front lawn
    I pray I pray I pray
    for Jackie's Strength


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20jackie%27s%20strength
     
  4. snakes&ladders

    snakes&ladders Senior Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    I have always considered Tori as being a SUPER sexy singer and lass :):):)
     
  5. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    Iieee

    This song is very carnal, tribal like song that sounds like a natural catharsis of Tori's demons. The real catharsis of the song comes at 2:20 and it's an awesome moment. I love the start and stop groove of this song as well as the suite like strings!

    Favorite lyrics:
    We scream in cathedrals
    Why can't it be beautiful
    Why does there gotta be a sacrifice


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20iieee

    Liquid Diamonds

    This song is a slow trippy groove. I love it's jazzy style from the music down to Tori's scratchy almost mumbled vocals. I love how she stretches out the Liquid Diamonds chorus in that high pitched ghostly way.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    I guess I'm an underwater thing so I
    Guess I can't take it personally
    I guess I'm an underwater thing I'm
    Liquid running


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20liquid%20diamonds

    She's Your Cocaine
    This song picks you up from the last and brings more of an upswing. It moves you with more of a swaying rock rhythm than the beats that encompass most of the album. If I had to pick a weakest track it would be this one.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    I'm taking my easel
    and I'm writing good checks
    you sign Prince of Darkness
    try squire of dimness


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20she%27s%20your%20cocaine

    Northern Lad

    My favorite Tori track of all time. I can't relate to the lyrics obviously but I feel every part of this song. That's song magic right there. When she speaks through the verses she introspective, sad and venomous all in one. The chorus is haunting and otherworldly. It's epic. My senses seem to pick up every sight, sound, smell and touch of this world. The music wraps you up in it's world in a way a movie takes an hour and a half to do.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    He don't show much these days
    It's gets so ****ing cold
    I loved his secret places
    But I can't go anymore

    Girls you've got to know
    When it's time to turn the page
    When you're only wet
    Because of the rain


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20northern%20lad

    Hotel

    The most trance like techno song on here. It's also the dance song that envelops it's own world the most. Tori's vocals are so ghostly on here she sounds like a banshee as she wails "Give me more" especially at 2:40. Chilling!

    Favorite Lyrics:
    (not a lyrically masterful song but the way these are sung gives them life)
    You were wild
    Where are you now
    You were wild
    Where are you now
    Give me more
    give me more
    Give me more


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20hotel

    Playboy Mommy

    Lyrically the best song and most personal. The most obvious link to her miscarriage. Tori writes about her feelings of guilt and responsibility for what happened. A very jazzy song but even with that bouncy groove going it's a heartbreaking song to here. Great songwriting!

    Favorite lyrics:
    (The Whole Song)

    In my platforms
    I hit the floor
    Fell face down
    Didn't help my brain out
    Then the baby came
    Before I found
    The magic how
    To keep her happy
    I never was the fantasy
    Of what you want
    Wanted me to be
    Don't judge me so harsh little girl
    So
    You got a playboy mommy
    But when you tell em my name
    And you want to cross that
    Bridge all on your own
    Little girl they'll do you no harm
    Cause they know
    Your playboy mommy
    But when you tell em my name
    From here to Birminghman I got a few friends
    I never was there
    Was there when it counts
    I get my way
    You're so like me
    You seemed ashamed
    Ashamed that I was
    A good friend of American soldiers
    I'll say it loud here by your grave
    Those angels can't
    Ever take my place
    Somewhere where the orchids grow
    I can't find those church bells
    That played when you died
    Played Gloria
    Talkin bout
    Hosanah
    Don't judge me so harsh little girl
    You got a playboy mommy
    Come home
    But when you tell them soldiers my name
    And cross that bridge all on your own
    Little girl they'll do you no home
    Cause they know your playboy mommy
    I'll be home
    I'll be home
    To take you in my arms


    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20playboy%20mommy

    Pandora's Aquarium

    Tori ends this album with it's strangest most exotic song yet. At the same time it's got an accessible groove that complements the oddity of it's structure. The ending vocal note from 4:15 to 4:30 is an epic way to end this masterpiece of a c.d.

    Favorite Lyrics:
    Grievances Stare but I can taste you're still alive below the waste ripples come and
    Ripples go
    And ripple back to me Pandora

    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/search/?query=tori%20amos%20pandora%27s%20aquarium
     
  6. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    So in closing, I know that while Tori's fan base is avid and loyal there is another spectrum of the audience that keeps a distance from her because of the eccentricities of Tori herself. Tori is an odd customer but she's an AMAZING artist and this album is in my top five albums of all time hands down. I highly recommend a listen even if you feel you know what kind of artist Tori is. I'll end this with a b-side that came out around the same times as these sessions that I herald as my second favorite Tori song.

    Cooling

     
  7. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    Tori just oozes sex in her music. She definitely understands the sex in sex, drugs and Rock N' Roll! :grinthumb
     
  8. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    I see you've been in touch with your "Muse" again Bry...:heheh:

    Very nicely done as usual, OB tried to get me into Tori, but for whatever reason after a few songs that was it for me. Perhaps I will get her best album and listen to it a couple of times, I am never one to judge anything after just one session, unless it absolute rubbish of course.;)
     
  9. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT! Staff Member

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    I think if any this would be a good one for you LG. It's produced better and is richer musically than any of the ones prior. I'm not sure how you are with female singer songwriters in general but the full band sound should make this one more accessible for you. :grinthumb
     
  10. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Tori Amos-From The Choirgirl Hotel (My Roadmap to a Modern Day Classic)

    Have you ever heard of Annie Haslam?

    She was the lead singer for the best line-up of Renaissance, a prog/rock band from the early 70's. I like female vocalists a lot Bry, in fact it is a shame there are not more of them in rock music in general, they seem to usually end up in the Pop arena, which is too bad.
     

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