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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and unique
This is Tori's eighth solo effort, and she has definately matured from Little Earthquakes. LE was a perfect album for adolescent angst. Under the Pink explored the complex and often sinister relationships formed between women. Boys for Pele was a dark wilderness of anger and pain. From the Choirgirl Hotels was a cityscape of dark, manic songs. To Venus and Back had...
Published on October 29, 2002 by Kieri

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but...
I rather bought this in good faith, having chanced upon it in some store, and also having never heard any of the songs. To borrow from Douglas Adams, I'm Almost But Not Completely Disappointed.
Well, it's very... nice. It also doesn't strike me as Tori Amos. Yes, it's her voice. Yes, it's her piano. Yes, the music is pretty. But with the exception of a few tracks, a...
Published on December 13, 2003 by ruggafluff


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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and unique, October 29, 2002
By 
This is Tori's eighth solo effort, and she has definately matured from Little Earthquakes. LE was a perfect album for adolescent angst. Under the Pink explored the complex and often sinister relationships formed between women. Boys for Pele was a dark wilderness of anger and pain. From the Choirgirl Hotels was a cityscape of dark, manic songs. To Venus and Back had heavy electronica, but maintained a sparse, desert-like sound. Strange Little Girls had Tori playing the role of thirteen women with tales to tell. Now, she's made the perfect drivng CD.
Every track here is individually stunning, but is best heard all together. Stylistically, this album is a cross between Pink and Choirgirl. Her lyrics here are not nearly as obscure as they were on Pele or Venus, but remain as poignant and Tori-like as the most discerning fan could wish for. Each track made me want to follow Scarlet' footsteps...
"Amber Waves" is one of my favorite tracks here. The chorus is enchanting, and the end of the song is sweet.
The album version of "A Sorta Fairytale" is a little shocking--the most controversial verse was taken out for radio play, and the song comes to a definate end, rather than trailing off.
"Wednesday" is a weird song. I don't really like it, but that's pending further listening.
"Strange" is the "Baker, Baker" of this album. Slow, mellow, and heartbreaking, but not the sort of thing I generally listen to.
"Carbon"--the track that I most wanted to hear--was phenomenal. The guitar melodies and drum loops cascade (punctuating names of famous ski trails).
For me, the song "Crazy" hit really close to home. It sounds a lot like "Strange." The chorus "let's just unzip your religion down" is one of the great Tori-isms of all time.
"Wampum Prayer" is the second a capella track that Tori's done, and it breaks your heart to hear her half-chant, half-sob the words.
"Don't Make Me Come To Vegas" isn't angry so much as weary and sarcastic. And the chorus "What will be will be over my dead body"...priceless.
"Sweet Sangria"...well, I don't think that there's one political leader on the planet who wouldn't benefit from hearing this song.
"Your Cloud" is, in my opinion, the sweetest song on the album...it's theme is about the same as U2's "One." It's about not pushing away a loved one, but recognizing the necessity or individuality in a relationship.
"Pancake" (takes place in Delaware) is another one that RELIGIOUS leaders need to hear. What is it about would-be Messiahs and martyrs?
"I Can't See New York" was, in it's way, creepier than "'97 Bonnie & Clyde. I heard it as a woman trapped on a hijacked plane, trying desperately to think of good things and not dwell on hr own death...and failng.
"Mrs. Jesus" is another song that really needs to be listened to a few times. At the moment, it gets on my nerves a little.
"Taxi Ride" is a GREAT road song...it's fun to sing along to, and it's so true...I've knon way too many people like this.
I was astounded at how much I liked "Another Girl's Paradise." The chorus and bridges make it one of the most fun songs to sing along with.
In "Scarlet's Walk" and "Virginia" I couldn't get Neil Gaiman's American Gods out of my head. "Out with the old and in with the new" is definately a big thing for we Americans.
I first heard "Gold Dust" on a promo sampler, and I wasn't impressed. Now...oh, boy. It's one of the most powerful tracks on the album.
So...I highly recommend the Limited Edition, for the wonderful DVD, the cute charm, THE REALLY NEAT STICKERS, and the handy poster/road map. The Polaroids are great; they feel like real photos. Remember...the audio disc itself unlocks bonus stuff on Tori's official website.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2002: the best comes to those who wait!, February 22, 2003
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This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
After over ten years of recording albums, Tori was finally able to match her the achievement of her musical debut, 'Little Earthquakes.' 'Scarlet's Walk' does just that: she's back, after a not-so-brilliant 'Strange Little Girls' made up of versions in 2001, with an album for posterity, what could be a considered an album for the road and one that you can't take out of the CD player once you pop it in. The first couple of songs ("Amber Waves" and "A Sorta Fairytale") set the stage for what's left down the road... "Carbon" and "Crazy" take things up a notch, making you beg for more. But the true best lies toward the end: in "I Can't See New York" she reminds of Kate Bush more often than not. The strength of her Bosendorfer is coupled with Matt Chamberlain's exquisite bass and an impeccable drums work to yield a song for the ages. The great music doesn't stop. It's all "downhill" in a spiral of amazing tracks back-to-back after #12, to top it all with the closing "Gold Dust," in my opinion, one of the best pieces of music and lyrics Tori has ever composed. Thanks for it all, Tori. You brought life back into the void that no one else has been able to fill!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album fans have been waiting for., November 1, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
For the original Tori Amos fans, those who have been around since "Little Earthquakes", there has been a certain sound that seemed lost on her most recent releases. While Choirgirl, Venus, and strange little girls all have there moments, fans have been longing for the quiet, peacefull and sometimes just bizarre Tori that won their hearts so many years ago. For those fans comes Scarlet's Walk. Tori latest release re-captures her old sound while not copying it. All the songs on the CD, while in her old style have a life and identity of their own. From the opening song, Amber Waves, to the well known,A sorta fairytale, Tori instantly grabs our attention with the personal and intimate lyrics that we we never seem to understand, yet always can relate to. We see many new sides to her aswell as getting back in touch with the Tori we already know. She takes risk with the old fashion sound of Wednesday, takes us to a special place in her heart with the different, yet beautiful sound of Your cloud, gives us a haunting and suprisingly non-cliche statement on the 9/11 attacks with I can't see New York, and takes us back to her old symphony days with Gold Dust. My only reservations about the album is that to of the strongest songs, Scarlets Walk and Wampum Prayer are so short that leave a lot to be desired. But maybe that's the way of this passionate and instantly addictive new release from of the most talented and intriguing artist of our time.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Much Relieved, November 17, 2002
By 
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
After being very disappointed with her monotonous covers album, 'Strange Little Girls', and only mildly taken with her last studio album, 'To Venus And Back', I was a little skeptic about buying 'Scarlet's Walk'. When I heard "A Sorta Fairytale" on the radio, however, it sort of reminded me of two of my favorite Tori Amos songs, "Cruel" and "God". So naturally (being the Tori fan that I am) I decided to give the album a go, but with very low expectations.
The first time I listened to 'Scarlet's Walk', I admit to being a little shattered with a not too good impression, but after giving it several run-throughs it began to grow on me, which made me feel very relieved. If I didn't like this album I was afraid that I would no longer be able to call myself a Tori Amos fan because of recent let-downs, but songs like the quirky "Wednesday" (which brings me back to her 'Boys For Pele' days), "Crazy", "Sweet Sangria", "Taxi Ride" and (my personal favorite) "Scarlet's Walk" make this all worth the purchase.
What makes this album even more interesting is the fact that Tori wrote this on a cross-country road trip, which she took shortly after the terrorist attacks. And while this album is nothing like my favorite Tori album, 'From The Choirgirl Hotel', at times it reminds me of 'Little Earthquakes' (my second favorite) but is best to be compared to 'Under The Pink'.
'Scarlet's Walk' is much lighter and not so dark in mood as previous albums, but is still guaranteed to please most fans of Tori's earlier works.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a return to form but something much, much better, October 29, 2002
By 
K. Anderson "Mathilde" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
You can hear the piano again! Thank you, Tori. This album is a return to the emotion and beauty (and instruments) of Tori's older music, but she isn't simply revisiting old subjects and melodies. There is nostalgia here, but never a sense of moving backwards - this is an album about travelling and maturing - precisely what Tori does musically and lyrically with these songs. It is clearly a theme album; the limited edition includes a map so that you can trace what songs came from which portions of her massive roadtrip across America. The songs are often earthy ("wampum prayer") and sometimes ethereal and soaring("I can't see New York") in sound, but the emotions are direct and accessible. "I can't see New York" is probably the most touching and genuine song that was inspired by 9/11. "Carbon" will leave you speechless and "gold dust" is at once dark, epic, and beautiful. The rhythm and melody in "Wednesday" lets us know that Tori hasn't forgotten her love of play, and "a sorta fairytale" is a perfect first single and more engaging every time you listen to it. Even the weaker songs don't feel like filler. For those who have become disillusioned with Tori Amos after her extreme departure from her early form ("Didn't she used to play piano?"), this album will draw you back in and make you fall in love again. Buy the limited edition - mine came with a tiny green rubber snake, tons of Polaroids, the map, a sheet of stickers, and a DVD that contains a gallery of Polaroids, videos for "a sorta fairytale" and "gold dust" and an optional audio commentary that gives some insight into the creation of the album (in typically odd tori-speak.) If you loved Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink and Boys For Pele, you will love this album.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarlet�s Walk� a conceptual journey across lives, the U.S., February 13, 2003
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
Tori Amos' newest effort "Scarlett's Walk" is an extremely rewarding conceptual journey in song across the United States, from a porn star in Las Vegas ("Amber Waves"), to finding love in unexpected places ("A Sorta Fairytale") to echoes of First Nations ("Wampum Prayer," "A Sorta Fairytale," "Virginia"). The sounds of the songs range from sultry jazz-inspired songs ("Carbon," with a gorgeous piano solo that feels right at home in a "Due South"esque score sort of way, or in Sarah McLachlan's "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," "Don't Make Me Come To Vegas," with its bongos and prowling bass piano, "Your Cloud," "Gold Dust"), to a ragtime-vaudeville sound reminiscent of the Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney duet "Say Say Say", moody ballads ("Strange," "Sweet Sangria," "Pancake"), laments ("Amber Waves," "I Can't See New York"), to haunting melodies ("Crazy," "Scarlet's Walk," "Gold Dust"). I must admit, this is my first Tori Amos album, and the vast majority of her lyrics have me baffled. I guess I'm just not a stream-of-consciousness beatnik poet at heart. Consider the following snippets:
"Carbon"
Carbon made, found her at the end of a chain,
"Time to race" she said, "race the downhill."
Behind crystaline irises loons can dive,
where the world bleeds white.
"Pancake"
Oh, Zion please remove your glove,
And dispel every trace of His spoken word,
That has lodged in my vortex.
One of the neatest features is the interactive "Scarlet's Walk" CD Rom, which features an interactive map showing three choices: Scarlet's Walk, Native America and Tori Amos' tour. With the "Scarlet's Walk" you can follow Scarlet song by song, collecting Polaroid snapshots and reading more about national parks, etc. You can put together a personalized journal of Scarlet's walk filled with Polaroids from various places she's visited, watch short music videos, read the lyrics, listen to a bonus song ("Tombigbee"), read Scarlet's journal entries/poetry and more. This is *the* best enhanced CD I've ever had the pleasure of exploring-far from mere screensavers or uninteresting videos, you are truly made part of Scarlet's journey across U.S. Combined with the powerful music (and occasionally cryptic lyrics), "Scarlet's Walk" is truly a journey that we all should make.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure genius to a guy who gets her....., May 25, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
I think I discovered Tori sometime in 1996 or '97, and quite accidently. I was at a buddy's house enjoying a few brews and his girlfriend put on Little Earthquakes, in the background. Can't quite remember which song it was from that record, although it may have been "Girl", but I was effectively drawn away from my Sam Addams, and naively asked if Kate Bush had a new release out(yeah..yeah, I know...shut up!). I really liked Kate back in the Eighties, but that's for another review on another day. Upon learning that this was Tori Amos, and as I kept being distracted by this mesmerizing music playing in the background, I had to ask if I might borrow said disc for a further, closer inspection.... and am I ever glad I did!

It's now eight or nine years, ten cds, three bootlegs, a dvd, and two concerts later, and I can officially name Tori as my favorite female artist, and certainly amongst my top three favorite performers of all time. She's really something special, and that rabid fan base of her's is for good damn reason. She's the absolute genuine performer - nothing faked - and that rare and elusive quality simply can't be taught or be "put on". Tori's a natural, and in my opinion, a genius.....

And what a body of work she's produced over the years! Beginning with her first real splash on the scene with Earthquakes, which rightly remains a fan favorite, to her equally well received sophomore effort "Under The Pink", in all it's majestic glory, to the eclectic, angry, and experimental "Boys From Pele", to Choirgirl Hotel(which was a personal favorite until Scarlet, but still ranks as a close second), and the contraversial Venus and "Strange Little Girls"(Venus rocks, but Girls is definately an acquired taste), to her most recent cerebral "Beekeeper", she has continually stretched her boundries, often garnering much critism as a result. To all those naysayers out there.... sorry, but the world doesn't need twenty variations in the style of "Under The Pink", good as that record may be. An artist needs to be able to explore new boundries as he or she sees fit, and to that end, I enthusiastically shout, "You go, Tori!".....

Scarlet's Walk is an exquisite record, start to finish. Upon first listen, it may seem somewhat monotempo and bass heavy to a fault, but keep listening. As with all great works of art, the true value doesn't always reveal itself immediately. There's real depth here, and I think it's evident that Tori put a lot of effort and care into this very big, eighteen song strong release.

Tori seems to be leaning more and more towards the ideals of the "concept album" these past few years, and I applaud her for that. She stands by the courage of her convictions, which is carried through into the music she creates, by virtue of her brilliant songwriting, musicianship, and vocal talents.

Conceptually, the record deals with America, in various settings and capacities. Tori mapped out a real life road trip for herself throughout The United States, looking for inspiration to compose by. She certainly found it.

The record begins with "Amber Waves", a sordid tale of a past her prime porno queen gone somewhat introspective in self professed guilt. Tori has a way of getting into people's heads and stating the truth in what she finds, and this song exempliflies that, quite uniquely. Next comes the big "hit" of the record, "A Sort Of Fairytale", which features the talents of her band really kicking things into a bass-heavy overdrive that's undeniably catchy and echoes back to Choirgirl and Venus somewhat. The quirky "Wednesday" follows, giving the mood of the record a needed lighthearted feel, with typically obscure Tori lyrics. And so it goes through the hypnotically moody "Crazy", and the touching Native American-esque chanted "Wampum Prayer", through the mambo-jazz catchiness of "Don't Make Me Come To Vegas" and "Sweet Sangria". All great stuff.

One of Tori's real strengths is her incredible vocal range, which she has ably displayed throughout the years in her recordings, and in concert. There are a ton of great examples here of her vocal abilities, but in my opinion, there's no equal to "Your Cloud", which qualifies as one of Tori's most beautiful songs ever. My god, this song's gorgeous! Tori uses vocal layering throughout the song's choruses which is stunning, and I wondered how in the hell she would reproduce this in concert without the aid of backup singers. I have her concert dvd, "Here In Sunny Florida", which features this song, and she actually managed to one up the studio version, much to my astonishment, by extending the song to allow for all the vocals to be sung in natural free form, to stunning effect. Caused a tear to form, let me tell you.

Next comes "Pancake" which is a funky rocker that always gets the toe tapping, and then we're faced with the emotional, scary, and powerful "I Can't See New York", obviously in response to the tragic September 11th events that changed our lives and opened our collective eyes. An intense song, both lyrically and instrumentally, which Tori sings from the perspective of being up there within the events as they transpired(from her mind's eye), and trying to make immediate sense in the personal loss of someone special. Or perhaps, herself. As heavy and empathetic a song as Tori has ever recorded.

The remainder of the album follows with equally poignant material. At eighteen songs long, this may sound like a listening exercise in exhaustion, and for some, it may well be.

Scarlet's Walk ranks among Tori's best works, but it's not easy listening by any stretch. It is, however, very rewarding to one who would put in the time to get to know this great record. There's nothing else like it out there, even within Tori Amos' music. She really shines here, and this is her masterpiece!

Enough said....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle insight for the post-9/11 soul, November 30, 2002
By 
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
The last few weeks as I have been driving around America I have been listening to this album and finding it pleasantly quirky - echos of Kate Bush in places ("I can't see New York" in particular). Much more enjoyable than the samples I have listened to before, I've not been a fan. Her diction is pretty curious though and I'd not been able to dig into the words very much, and her web site had few insights. As I've explored the lyrics, I have gradually realised there's more going on than meets the eye. The reviewer at Rolling Stone doesn't get it - clearly didn't have time to dig. He's missed the spiritual unity of the album, listening only to the melodies. But one of the comments to his review has caught the drift: "This CD contains the most intelligent, complicated, subtle, and artistic post-9/11 reflection on America that I have encountered."
Returning to the lyrics with that insight, suddenly the layers underneath the widely-reviewed obvious clicked into focus and it's all there - the confused ghostly voice in 'I can't see New York', lost friends and innocence in 'gold dust', and more. An interview on VH-1 (see my weblog for links to external sources) gave more pointers - even the porn star "Amber Waves" is a metaphor for the fallen grace of the nation. If all you hear is the single ("a sorta fairytale" - which has a firefly glimmer to it) you may think it's a loved-and-lost album like the other reviewers.
As I listen I am caught up more and more in the album - an exploration of the spirit of the nation of America, of the emotions and experiences following September 11, 2001. This is the first work to come out of that event that leaves me with insight into the people and the place rather than with a sense of a person scrabbling to build a response and coming up instead with misplaced patriotism or a warmongering rage. Listen carefully to "Scarlet's Walk" and in amongst the strangeness you may hear, as I have, the outline of a soul's response to 9/11.
(I recommend this, the regular edition, rather than the 'limited edition as the extras are low value and the box used is flimsy)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll Want To Follow Tori On Latest Album, December 25, 2002
By 
johnspearman (south carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
Look past the fancy packaging and super-hype concept and you have one fantastic voyage from Tori Amos. You've heard different things about this road trip album-yes, there are radio-friendly songs (a few more than usual)like the sweeping first single "A Sorta Fairytale" and its superb better half "Taxi Ride". However, if it all gets too friendly, check the peppy change of pace "Wednesday", the pissed off thump of "Don't Make Me Come To Vegas", the downright menacing "Pancake", and the breathtaking title track. In classic Tori fashion, she takes stabs at the usual suspects such as religion, homophobia, doomed relationships, and the perils post 9/11. While the terrorist attacks may have inspired some of Amos'sudden hunger for all things American, it doesn't at all come across as just another cliched tribute. Not only are we following Tori on the path to better understanding of our heritage, we're still getting a glimpse into the netherworld where her girls love, hate, and celebrate even their most unsettling qualities. If you've been a fan of Tori Amos since day one, it's a sure bet you'll like Scarlet's Walk. But if you're a curious cat, beware. Amos' prowl is a magnificent but tricky one.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Journey across a Nation and into its heart, October 29, 2002
This review is from: Scarlet's Walk (Audio CD)
Lets get one thing straight right off: Scarlet's Walk is a conceptual masterwork. Tori weaves a narrative across 18 songs that takes us through fifty states and a myriad of characters in an attempt to get at the heart of what really makes America what it is.
The album follows the character of Scarlet as she crisscrosses across the country in a journey that begins in LA and ends just east of DC. Each song represents a leg of that journey and reflects on Scarlet's thoughts and the people she encounters. Taken together, these experiences shape her perception of the land through topics like it's native people (Virginia, Wampum Prayer, et al), it's messiahs and religions (Pancake), frontiersmen and freedom fighters (Sweet Sangria), homosexuality (Taxi Ride), pornography (Amber Waves) and tradgedy (I Can't See New York). The story weaves itself together on multiple levels, both as a tale of one person's individual journey and as the testament of a nation.
Of course that's all well and good, but this is an album, not a novel, so the music has to stand up as well. This is not a record that's too likely to hook you on the first listen simply because of it's density. There's nothing as easily accesable as songs from '98s "From the Choirgirl Hotel" or '94s "Under the Pink." All the songs also have a very sleek and polished flow between them, unlike '96s schizophrenic "Boys For Pele."
Given enought time, however, the melodies begin to seep their way into your consciousness, and it's then that all their subtleties spring forward. There are lush, soft tracks, such as the beautiful 'Gold Dust' the positively haunting 'I Can't See New York' and the rainy day jazz of 'Your Cloud,' but there are also radio-friendly rock pop cuts, like the sublimely sardonic 'Pancake,' the steady plunge of 'Virginia' and the disillusioned first single 'A Sorta Fairytale.'
The piano is back in a big way, on this album, which contains more songs driven by Tori's main axe than either of her last two original albums (the previously mentioned "Choirgirl" and '99s "To Venus and Back"), but she brings along the band with her as well, and bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain accompany and compliment her. Strangely missing from the lineup is longtime guitarist Steve Caton, but newcomers Mark Aladdin and Robbie McIntosh do very well for themselves. Finally, as always, John Phillip Shendale's strings spice up a few of the albums tracks with a huge orchestra presence.
Tori's pal, author Neil Gaiman, said that Scarlet could be a person, the land itself or a trail of blood. No matter which level you choose to examine, "Scarlet's Walk" is definitely one worth following.
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Scarlet's Walk
Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos (Audio CD - 2002)
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