The new Tori Amos album "Scarlet's Walk" is quite laid back, which is saying something for Ms Amos. In the past, her works have had a very frantic and edgy feel to them but "Scarlet's Walk" is a much more relaxed album. Last year's cover album "Strange Little Girls" gave some hints of what was to come, but the songs were covers, not original compositions from the piano bench of madame Sword and Stone herself.
The new songs are tales of redemption, tales of innocence lost and just about everything in between both points of existence. There are songs of wistful days gone by and of the darkness at the core of human existence. Tori has toned down the strident use of electronic sounds on this album somewhat; "Scarlet's Walk" bears very little resemblance to 1999's "To Venus and Back". There are no trip hop songs on this album and not a single breakbeat can be heard. In their place are some of the lushest string and piano arrangements I've heard in some time on a commercial record.
The journey which Tori embarks on with this album is one that I wish more female artists who bill themselves as "songwriters" would have the guts to try. There are some songs on this album which literally tore me apart by their fragile and tender nature.
Tori's voice sounds like that of a survivor, and she is on all counts. "I Can't See New York" is the one song I will mention as it is a juggernaut of introspection and alienation, to wit: "And you said and you did and you said you would find me even in death but I can't see New York as I'm circling down". I doubt you'll get a line like that on a Fiona Apple record. The "future pop" crowd also pales in comparison. Keep trying, boys, but you'll never get this good anyway.
All of the songs on this album deserve your unremitting attention. With any luck, this album will perhaps silence all those who dismiss Tori Amos as an artist merely playing the voyeurism card. Oh yes, the photos on the sleeve of the album most certainly are a treat. Good show, Tori.