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From the Choirgirl Hotel

4.5 out of 5 stars 417 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From The Choir Girl Hotel is Tori Amos' brilliant fourth Atlantic solo album. Amos is poised to expand upon her ever growing audience. Tracks such as the hypnotically pop-tastic first single, Spark , as well as inventive, joyously indescribable songs like Raspberry Swirl or Liquid Diamonds, display a new rhythmic complexity and all-around musical expansiveness. Certified at 1 million units by the RIAA. (2/01)

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For Tori Amos, sex can be a weapon, a spiritual offering, or an act of protest. It's certainly been the singer-pianist's big subject since her 1989 debut Little Earthquakes. But while her earliest compositions tried to punch every emotional hot button at once and came off sounding turgid and overblown, her new album packs a greater punch by toning down mock-symphonic excess in favor of stark, haunting tracks that contain veiled mysteries. Love cuts both ways on Choirgirl. Songs such as "She's Your Cocaine" and "Cruel" view relationships as vicious power plays, while the protagonists in "Playboy Mommy" and "Northern Lad" desperately seek salvation via emotional connection. Hypnotic, affecting, and frequently gorgeous, From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos's most accomplished album to date. --Marc Weingarten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: May 5, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0000062S6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,242 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael B. Collins on June 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Have you ever wondered what the "fuss" about Tori Amos was? Have you perhaps heard one of her more successful singles in recent years (say, A Sorta Fairytale or Sleeps With Butterflies) and perhaps, blasphemy of blasphemies, thought she was a bit lightweight, a bit trite, a bit, dare we say it, uninteresting?

Well, if you did think those things, you would be wrong, and From the Choirgirl Hotel is the album to prove that to you. Choirgirl is a lot of things, but lightweight is not one of those. It is a dark, dense, intense, harrowing, experimental and adventerous trip, where your guide is 1/2 Sylvia Plath and 1/2 Chopin, with dashes of Massive Attack and Jimmi-Hendrix-if-he-had-taken-up-piano (for flavour).

I am an unabashed Tori Amos fan. I will admit that I'm biased in her favour. I would rate all of her 8 major studio albums from "good" to "amazing," having come to her music as a hard-core piano student during the mid-90's, when songs like "Blood Roses" and "Father Lucifer" seemed more like Bach and Debussy than like anything else on the airwaves at the time.

But why chose this album, then, as it marks the now 8-year trend of Tori moving away from the baroque, challenging, symphonic compositions that characterized her first three albums? Choirgirl was the start of her break for the mainstream, a move that culminated in 2005's disappointing MOR-mush of "The Beekeeper." It seems rather odd that I would venerate it above all others.

I do so because, while 'Choirgirl' is one of Tori's most accessible albums (especially for fans of dark alternative rock), it also shows her at the top of her game as a songwriter and instrumentalist.
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Format: Audio CD
I finally took the plunge and bought this disc. I had been discouraged from buying it by many other Ears with Feet, thus the reason why it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon. But when I finally bought and listened to it...my GOD. I have never heard anything as innovative and filled with so much emotion. It starts out with an amazing rock influenced song about the miscarriage she suffered called "Spark". "Cruel" is a brutally honest, dark song about the power-play in relationships, and Tori tries to describe and understand her own malicious behavior. Some of my favorites being "Black-Dove" and "She's Your Cocaine" as well as the haunting tune of "iiee" and "Liquid Diamonds" My favorite song of the entire album would have to be "Playboy Mommy," a song Tori wrote for her dead daughter who she miscarried. I listen to this song every chance I get, for the simple reason that this right here, is raw emotion. The entire piece is without a doubt heart-breaking. It reminds of the suddenness of life and the mourning of life unlived. The pure and unadulterated love on this track is enough to leave you in tears for hours ('In my platforms I hit the floor, I fell face down, it didn't help my brain at all, then the baby came before I found the magic how to keep her happy, I never was the fantasy, of what you wan...wanted me to be, don't judge me so harsh, little girl......I'll say it loud here by your grave, those angels can't ever take my place').
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Format: Audio CD
"From the Choirgirl Hotel" barely edges out "Little Earthquakes" as my favorite Tori Amos album. Whether it's the snowy softness of "Black Dove" , the unique, pensive sounds of "Spark" and "Iiieee", the flowing melodies of "Jackie's Strength", or the lambent sensuality of "Cruel", all the songs make this album stand out.

Tori's songs are all thought-provoking and beautiful as always, but here she expands her reach a little. "Raspberry Swirl" is a departure from her distinctive soft piano sound, but still displays the unique brand of thoughtfulness and sheer strangeness that drew me to her music in the first place.
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Format: Audio CD
Simply stated, this album is sublime.
Perhaps I am biased. This album served as my introduction to Tori, and I had no expectations when I listened. But as a newcomer, 'Choirgirl' simply blew me away, and now -- almost two years and several Tori CDs later -- it doesn't wear old. Only 'Little Earthquakes' has lived up to it in terms of favorites.
Placed in context of Tori's career, this album focuses on the piano with a band as an accompaniment, along with some electronic flourishes (though as a reviewer stated before, it's certainly not techno). This approach is used on most of the songs. However, traces of old school Tori still remain on songs like 'Jackie's Strength' (a ballad right along the lines of 'Winter' or 'Pretty Good Year') and 'Northern Lad.' This mixing of the old with the new is quite successful: it keeps the successful formulas of the past with enough innovation to make things interesting.
Oh, don't get me wrong, the flaws are there. The sounds at the beginning of the otherwise beautiful 'Playboy Mommy' make me wince, as do a few of the flourishes on 'Hotel.' And Tori's certainly an acquired taste. Even though her lyrics are far more accessible than those on 'Boys for Pele', bizzare metaphors prevail as always. However, for those who are willing to dig a little deeper will find she has great insights to share, and that her music overall is beautifully crafted.
A lot of people tend to group this album with 'Strange Little Girls' and 'To Venus and Back' as Tori's triumvirate of badness, and to be honest, I can't fathom why. The main accusation is that Tori did not seem as dedicated to this album, but I find that the intensity and audacity she displayed in her earlier work is here in spades -- such as in the desperate 'Spark' and the wild 'Raspberry Swirl.' This is, in my opinion, Tori at her most crazed and glorious, and I'm sure this will remain one of my favorite albums in years to come.
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