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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 3rd, 2014

Tori Amos: Unrepentant Geraldines

tori aTori Amos
Unrepentant Geraldines
(Mercury Classics)

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Tori Amos has long been praised as one of the most influential modern alternative artists. With Unrepentant Geraldines, she deftly combines personal songs with tracks inspired by visual art. The result is a captivating, enigmatic record that should serve up something for everyone.

The heart of the album is Amos’ brilliant voice and piano combination. The more subdued songs are filled with emotion and resonance, such as “Wild Way,” which captures the resentment of being so easily manipulated by a lover. “Weatherman” delves into storytelling and enigma, describing a widower whose wife’s beauty is revived in nature. “Promise” is a tender moment of mother/daughter bonding, complete with vocal duties from her talented teenage daughter Natashya.

It’s a testament to Amos’ writing power that the songs she wrote about art still feel personal. Album opener “America” describes marginalized people (represented by the “Other America” figure) such as those who appeared in Diana Arbus’ photography. “16 Shades of Blue” mentions Paul Cézanne’s painting, The Black Marble Clock, which serves as a metaphor for Amos’ fear of aging. “Maids of Elfen-Mere” brings a dramatic, chamber pop narration to Dante Rossetti’s illustration of the same name.

The more experimental, artistic songs on Unrepentant Geraldines may not please every fan, but for me, the compositions are beautiful enough that I can enjoy them without having to Google each work of art. This album feels like it pleases Amos first, and that is really the best accomplishment of any art.

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Tori Amos: Unrepentant Geraldines