I am occasionally reminded more or less forcibly why I can never be a critic. I like things. I can be a fan, a gushy fan even. But I can’t quibble the way that seems to be the bread and butter of the critic. I can only enthuse.
And now I must enthuse a bit. I have long considered myself a fan of Tori Amos. I enjoy the passionate honesty of her songwriting, the nearly-fey abandon of her musicality, the unfettered drama of her voice. I confess my interest began to dwindle following her 2002 album Scarlet’s Walk. It is not a bad album, but even after five years’ of listening I have tremendous difficulty in distinguishing one song from another on the disc; they are simply all so similar, so homogenous. I have not picked up any of her subsequent releases, though I continue to enjoy the earlier albums in my collection.
This week I checked out From The Choirgirl Hotel (1998) from the public library. To borrow a phrase from one of my favourite bloggers, this album is rock-pants awesome. I have been spinning it non-stop for three days now, something I have not felt compelled to do with an album for a long time now. There is only one ‘hit’ — “Spark” — which opens the album with the unforgettable line “She’s addicted to nicotine patches.” But the thing just keeps exploding from there. By the time we get to tracks like “She’s Your Cocaine” and “Northern Lad” I am exhausted by the visceral musical energy, the production value, the sheer wonder of it all. I can’t believe I don’t own this album! I would write more, but I just have to keep listening to this disc…
I woke up this morning with that song caught in my head. I’m a little freaked out right now. Clearly Tori Amos is trying to send me some hidden message. In the meantime, I’ll make a copy of that CD for you if you wish. Then I’ll slap you for not already owning it.
Yeah, I deserve slapping; I am such a completist that I own all five Stone Temple Pilots albums, so you would think I would have filled out the Tori shelf before now. I just had no idea what I was missing.
And that would be lovely of you. Thanks!