Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Nov. 22, 2002
Tori AmosScarlet's Walk (Epic) Tori Amos has finally managed to synthesize her two musical personas: the quirky-pants, piano-bench humping cornflake girl singing about frogs on her toes named Jethro and the older, wiser, diva in training flirting with a more ethereal electronic sound, with a full band backing her up. (Let's not even mention the spectacularly disappointing Strange Little Girls, shall we?) Scarlet's Walk not only evinces Amos' musical maturation, it's also the singer's most ambitious lyrical work. Dubbed by its author a "sonic novel," Scarlet's Walk follows its title character as she embarks from the West Coast on a Kerouac-style road trip. Things get off to a melancholy start when Scarlet visits a washed-up porn star ("Amber Waves"), and from there, she moves down the California coast with a new lover ("a sorta fairytale"), both of them pretending to be something they're not. Scarlet continues east, albeit rather circuitously, with stops in the Badlands, Austin, New Orleans, and the Mexican border. All the while, Amos accentuates her chapters with gorgeous, yet fairly straightforward instrumentation, the piano mixed high enough to make it the centerpiece without compromising the rest of the band. All told, Amos has redeemed herself quite nicely after last year's disappointment, beautifully mapping a chaotic life, a journey with which nearly all of us can relate.