Resurrect Kate Bush in her prime days, add profound political lyrics and astounding piano skills and you get Tori Amos as she is today.
She shows her staying power as one of the surviving female singer-songwriters ? Shawn Colvin, anyone? ? hitting back with albums so potent they are hard to deny.
After she unleashed “Little Earthquakes,” which sounds extraordinary even 10 years later, her string of exemplary albums satisfied a certain niche that no one really filled. She is too alternative for alternative and too classy for pop, too much of a balladeer for rock and too wordplay-heavy and politically-fueled for adult contemporary.
So, in other words Tori Amos’ art is too unique to be categorized.
After releasing a covers LP last year, Amos embarked on an American tour right around the time the September 11 attacks happened, which allowed Amos to view America with different eyes.
“Scarlet’s Walk” is about America. The album sleeve shows a map of America tracing Amos’ tour schedule.
Here Amos expresses a number of emotions from sorrow in “Your Cloud” to anger in “Don’t Make Me Come To Vegas.” Amos also tackles a dying relationship with the lead single “A Sorta Fairytale.”
Amos is back to her heartrending melodies and incomprehensible, yet delightful lyrics with the a cappella interlude “Wampum Player” and “Mrs. Jesus.”
Amos marvels with the seven-minute-plus stunning “I Can’t See New York” and on “Pancake” our redhead explains ? “it seems in vogue / to be a closet misogynist homophobe” and Amos is not a trend-follower.
The most intriguing track on “Scarlet’s Walk” is “Taxi Ride,” which is dedicated to her friend, the late Kevyn Aucion, a gay make-up artist. The track goes: “Just another dead fag to you that’s all / just another light missing in a long taxi line.”
Following Scarlet through this trip is bittersweet.
“Crazy” is a roadtrippy ditty and “Carbon” is a tune with substance, much like all of Amos’ work.
The 18 tracks on the album make a full-length effort for all the Tori-hungry fans after “Strange Little Girls.” This is definitely a tamer album than “Boys From Pele” and simpler than “From The Choirgirl Hotel,” however, it still doesn’t cease to amaze.
With songs like “Sweet Sangria” and “Another Girl’s Paradise,” Amos appreciation is assured.