Monday, September 15, 2014

Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)

Remembering Tori Amos best selling album again! 

While the multi-talented American singer, songwriter, pianist and composer Tori Amos’ 1996’s Boys for Pele, left most fans and critics scratching their heads, her stellar fourth studio album From the Choirgirl Hotel released in 1998 found her returning to the electronica infused baroque pop rock form that first made her originally famous. Tori crafted an inimitable style on the ground-breaking albums Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink, and From the Choirgirl Hotel has more in common with those discs than with Boys for Pele

Tori’s lyrics are still as complex and confusing as ever. On the radio hit "Jackie’s Strength," for example, Tori weaves an indecipherable web that involves her wedding, Camelot, black magic, anorexia, and mooning David Cassidy. I don’t claim to understand the song, and I wouldn't trust anyone who claims that they do. Even though the song’s lyrics are beyond comprehension, Amos gives them such a powerful delivery that it’s clear the song has some meaning (even if Tori is the only one who knows what it is). "Jackie’s Strength" highlights the core of Tori Amos’ appeal – she can sing just about any lyric and make her listeners feel that they can relate. She has such an emotional voice that she makes you feel the meanings more than you can comprehend them. 

From the Choirgirl Hotel features some of Amos’ most accessible songs since Little Earthquakes. The lush, atmospheric Top 40 hit "Spark" kicks off the album, and it contains a few fairly obvious references to Amos’ then miscarriage. It’s anything but your typical radio single, but then Amos is anything but your typical performer. This is the woman who had the nerve to cover Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the Stones’ "Angie" on the same single. 

Amos dabbles in numerous styles on From the Choirgirl Hotel, from the haunting sounds of "Black-Dove (January)" to the techno-influenced 2 Grammy nominated "Raspberry Swirl" to the rock-flavored "She’s Your Cocaine." But the album’s focus never strays far from its voice-and-piano center, giving all the songs on the album a sense of unity. From the Choirgirl Hotel is a complex and emotional album that gets better with repeated listenings. This is a great 90s alt rock album you don’t want to miss.


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