I've always loved Tori's style, which can be a bit quirky at times, brutally honest, mesmerizing, magical, surprising and definitely daring, all rolled into one. She is a self-proclaimed Feminist, and there is no doubt about it. She does not hide the fact that she is a proud advocate for women and female issues, however, she still reaches a large portion of the male audience(straight, for that matter). While her lyrics may be a bit controversial at times, she goes strictly to the point and provokes emotion no matter what it comes down to.
I was really disappointed with her last album of late 2007, "American Doll Posse", but the idea was very artistic, and it's too bad I missed my once-in-a-lifetime chance at seeing her Live back last year's tour. But I've seen the Youtube videos, and she did good.
Getting to my review of her latest; I love it. I have owned it for approximately two months already, and just like most of her albums, they take time to grow on you. For one, there are exactly seventeen tracks on the record. The album contains a great opener, entitled "Give". I'm not quite sure what it's truly about, yet, one lyric stands out, 'there are some, some who- give blood...but I-I give love...I give....soon before the sun, before the sun, begins to rise, I know that I must give, so that I can live'. The main thing that captures me, and sends the listener into a psychedelic trance is the industrial beat, encoded with an echoing of high vocals and background guitar(electric). It is amazing.
Second track, entitled, "Welcome to England"; well, I am guessing it's about a relationship with a man(it is possible she may be referring to her husband), who welcomes her to 'bring her own sun' into his world. Tori does live both in America, as well as England. Must be nice to live in two different places at the same time(well, not the same time, but having two different countries to travel and live in back and forth). This song is simple, with a lot of steady piano work, which is lovely, and the chorus is so catchy and upbeat. It's nice.
The third track is unusual; the title is "Strong Black Vine". It took quite some time to grow on me, due to the chaotic musical style, however, I like the lyrics, and the point is, to beware of "evil faith". A classic Tori song in which she creates a story full of chaos, and many, many chords, riffs, verses, and, uh-strange instruments. Not much else to say.
The next track is beautiful. A slower song called, "Flavor". Uplifting, and gives you a calming vibe, while sending you on a journey through the universal elements, which is pretty much what it's about it. A little appreciation, and a lot of classic piano riffs to enrapture the listener, once again pulling you into her world. A very pleasant listening experience.
This following track(five) is a bit different. She turns it up a high notch, with paying tribute to her friends, I'm guessing, and just living for the day. Entitled, "Not Dying Day". A bit of a fast rocker, still poppish, though, but mainly she's conveying, drop everything, have a good time, turn up the music, get with good friends, and 'drink the wine'. This song is just alright. It is slightly annoying but tolerable at the same time.
The sixth track, I'm not sure how I feel about it. "Maybe California", the title. It's one of those maternal instinctive songs. I don't get it all, but it's an emotional one. The instrumental portions are pretty toward the middle and the end, but I don't really care much for it, in general.
The next one, track seven, entitled, "Curtain Call", is a story, I believe about a dear friend(or acquaintance), probably someone real, in her past who destroyed a part if not all of their life by substance abuse. This is just my interpretation. She explains how she tries to help her friend, however the consequence of the individual's actions still bring her to ruin, as well as a ruined reputation, and a lost chance at success(probably, an actress in the entertainment world.) It's a deep song, and the music is captivating to the listener, after you give it a chance to grow on you.
I absolutely adore the eighth track, "Fire to Your Plain". An awesome song, in every way, shape, and form. Lyrics are cool, and the beat is great, and the message is straight to the point. She builds strength in the woman who is suffering in a bad relationship. Basically, Tori is validating the woman, and telling her she is smart in taking control over what is hers and what she deserves. The music is fun.
Next track, "Police Me"; a really fun song, once again, not quite sure what it's about, but empowerment is definitely conveyed, the musical compositon is brilliant, and the lyrics are daring and colourful, the tune is happy and it just works once again. Very original, in Tori music, and I love the guitar work included. Captivating.
Track ten, "That Guy", a very reminiscent vibe of the old vamp-style from the older generation. A great song, telling of a story between a woman(herself) and a missed man(I think a soldier). A powerful man, maybe-will he rescue her? Or return to the man he used to be? A love tarnished, and tempting-very tantalizing imagery, and a great catchy tune.
The next one, well, is the title track, "Abnormally Attracted to Sin". This one I'm not sure about. I don't care for the lyrics much, but it's got a point-Avoid temptation. It's an awesome song in the compositon; trippy, trancy, industrialized, and beautiful vocals on the chorus. Very poetically inclined. Still cannot figure it out though, but it doesn't matter. The music is playful, and like I said, very trance-like, so it pulls you in right away, and you kind of get lost within it.
"500 Miles"-one of those journey songs, with classic Tori piano and vocal talent, telling stories about what? I don't know, but it's nice. I actually heard this one playing on random radio. I concluded that it's a really good song after all; it just had to grow on me. It's a love song.
Here's one of her silly, quirky, and humorous songs, entitled "Mary Jane". It's a double meaning, but after all, it is in fact a joke-song written for a friend, and yes, it's all about Pot(marijuana). She plays the part of Mother Nature, and her "son" asks if he may 'explore the realms of the unknown with a "girl" named Mary Jane'...a bit stupid, but silly, and short.
Track fourteen, "Starling", is very cool, because of the music and vibe alone, and poetic feel. I cannot really say much more about it, except that it is enjoyable to listen to it.
The next one, "Fast Horse" is the best song on the album, in my own opinion. I adore this song to death. Best song she has written in years. She definitely redeems herself throughout this song alone, just to make up for that last disappointment of an album from last year. This song is definitive, and a bit reminiscent of her own Indian roots she explored during "Scarlet's Walk". I just love the song so much. Very appealing, and it should be a radio hit, or released as a single, at least.
"Ophelia"-this one is obviously a story of a tormented young woman, either fictional or non....not sure, but it's a feminist song, no doubt, but even though it starts out boring, it picks up, and creates a world to delve into, for the listener who is devoted to well, "journeying" the whole album. This song reminds me of her very early stuff, like from Boys For Pele, or Under the Pink, but so much better. Oh, just give it a chance, and you decide whether or not you like the development, musically.
Okay, the last song "Lady In Blue" is another vamp-style song, which is too long, in my own opinion. The music is pretty captivating, it draws you in right away, but the lyrics are a bit redundant after the initial introduction, still it's not that bad. Underneath the old-school style, is a rich beat, and industrialized instruments and strange moments to create the canvas for this story. What's it about? Just keep listening....
Overall, this album makes a 4 star out of 5 for myself, since Tori Amos finally made a decent comeback with this album. Some albums just haven't been fully On, but I have to say that I'm glad I bought this album, and I enjoy listening to it...Believe it or not, my husband is starting to really enjoy some songs as well, so I will definitely recommend this record to the discriminating listener, when it comes to good music.
It's worth it.