Unrepentant Geraldines from Tori Amos is Her Best in Years…
A common ‘claim to fame’ I have is being a huge fan of musician/artist, Tori Amos. It’s quite true! I’ve written about her a few times & I couldn’t be more thrilled to be seeing her two times this Summer in support of her newest release, Unrepentant Geraldines, which was just released & I am loving it. Her best material in years, I admit.
Her previous work, especially 2011’s Night of Hunters, found her creating a song cycle under Deutsche Grammophon, the oldest (founded in 1898…yes, 1898!) & most respected classical label in the world. A dazzling masterpiece filled with strings & a somewhat new-style of lyrical story telling for Tori, it was a perfect fit for her yet Geraldines finds Tori returning to her confessional bent & vulnerability that I simply live for from her.
Saying the songs on the new release were somewhat ‘secret songs’, as she was writing away while she co-created The Light Princess, her West End musical that premiered last year to rave reviews (& fingers crossed it’s really coming to the USA, I am dying to see it), Geraldines is said to be inspired by Tori’s love for visual art. This is always very present with her work, especially on albums like Under the Pink & her 2005 song, Parasol, which Tori has been using as her opening song for the tour.
The album begins with the lush America, inspired by American photographer, Diane Arbus. As she sings, “Once upon a time you had faith/You would not be swayed/By fools untouched by clairvoyance/And you swore that we’d be brave/Well not today/No not today” I felt moments in this song of her 2002 piece, Scarlet’s Walk, a concept project that chronicled Native American history & Tori’s thoughts on the country post September 11th.
The first single, Trouble’s Lament, is the perfect mix of a Tori-story as she sings about a woman named Trouble down on her luck, having broken up with Satan & being on the outs with her friend, Despair & a new gypsy-vibe of musical flare enriches the track. As soon as I heard its premiere, I knew we were in for a good record.
Weatherman, The Maids of Elfin-Mere & Selkie are others I find myself connecting to; Tori has always been dubbed names in the press like, “Tinkerbell on acid”, “The faery singing about rape & religion”, you get the idea. She definitely has an ethereal, fair maiden vibe to her yet I have not always necessarily thought her aura is represented so strongly in her material as some believe. Some of my favorites from her, Precious Things, Doughnut Song, Cruel & Suede are simply works of art with her intense lyrics & killer piano solos….faeries & dragons do not come to mind, at all. With these new songs, I am actually immediately thinking of myth creatures & kick ass faeries.
Selkie is one of the many piano-based songs on the record, telling the story of a swan maiden-like sea creature, Selkie is a gorgeous folklore about women who live in the sea as seals yet shed their skin to become human on land. Already being very into mythology & folk stories, this is one of the reasons I will always love Tori’s music.
Weatherman combines a similar vibe with the artistic background, as she sings, “One more look from her eyes/One more look/Can you paint her back to life?”
16 Shades of Blue is one of her most personal, direct songs ever, in my opinion. With previous compositions like Curtain Call, Tori has been very open about her struggles growing up as a woman in music, & she lets out all her thoughts & frustrations on this track. “There are those who say/I am now too old to play”, “You say that 50 is the new black/Hurray/This could be your lucky day” & “At only 15/I said 15!/They say her future is bleak/She should have started this at 3” are some awesome examples of 16 Shades. Whats so ironic is, those who have told her this obviously do not understand how much she means to her fans like myself. And, she continually shows those powers that be; Unrepentant Geraldines debuted in USA’s Billboard at number 7! 😉
Shes also not afraid to have her work be a family affair; her husband, Mark, is her sound engineer & her daughter, Natashya, continues to sing on songs with her. Promise is a beautiful duet with the girls & Tash’s voice is developing into a groovy, raspy R’nB sound as she asks her Mom to promise not to judge who she loves & to always be there for her…and, in a very Mom/Daughter line, Tori must promise to not take away her phone.
Then…there is Oysters. Ask any Tori fan, & I think they might just say this is her best piece in years. Said to be about the past still haunting you yet wanting to move on, Oysters is another piano solo song with her singing, chronicling her ‘stalking memories’ (something I can so relate to, perfectly said, T) & that she’s “Found a little patch of heaven now/So then I’m gonna turn oysters in the sand/’Cause I’m working my way back/I’m working my way back to me again”. I also love her use of the term, ‘ruby slippers’ on Oysters, as she has always been one to reference Judy Garland & that appears to be a very clear homage to Judy.
Despite whatever Tori may go through, or think of herself, I hope she knows what an inspiration she has been to myself & many countless others. Since 2009, this is a woman who has been touring, recorded a winter solstice album followed by a classical album, co-wrote a musical, had it premiere, made a classical record of past material, done more shows, made Geraldines & is now touring the rest of 2014! She must never sleep, but looks flawless.
Get info on her tour from my previous post, & let me know if you have listened to Geraldines! 🙂 xo