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Old 05-21-2009, 12:26 PM   #121
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Good, I have hope then. I'm shameful to admit I did not purchase Beekeeper because I just couldn't get into Posse. I like Scarlet's Walk but if this new album is reminiscent of Choirgirl as a prev. poster surmised, I will be in Tori heaven again
I think it's a little bit of Choirgirl, To Venus & Back, and Scarlet's Walk all rolled into one, but maybe not as strong as any of those? I'm not sure yet.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:32 PM   #122
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edit* I realize Beekeeper was before Posse but I was in a different music place when it came out and didn't try to catch up until she did Posse. So you guys aren't scratching your heads at me


That's ok. In the 80's, my Dad bought Boy when it came out and he (and I) loved it, but he didn't get October until after War was released and he realized they weren't just "good", they were "great".



I don't know. I'm still skeptical. 'Welcome To England' and another new song I heard just sounded so completely mediocre and boring. And I'm not really a fan of Scarlet's Walk or The Beekeeper. This may be a Tori album I skip.

I soooooooooo miss 90's Tori.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:37 PM   #123
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Fitz, did you listen to Flavor in that Popmatters link above? One of the best Tori songs in a very long time, imo.

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Old 05-21-2009, 12:49 PM   #124
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And the Chorgirl-ish Give (not a real video, which is a relief, lol).

YouTube - Tori Amos, Give, Abnormally Attracted to Sin 2009
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:53 PM   #125
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Hmmm, 'Flavor' was pretty good. MUCH better than 'Welcome To England'. But this 'Give' is pretty damn

It's on MySpace in its entirety, so I'll listen for a bit until I have to leave.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:57 PM   #126
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Give opens the record and segues right into Welcome to England almost as though they're one song, and it really works. I didn't like Welcome to England at all when I first heard it but I like it a lot as part of this record and the way those first 4 songs slide right into each other. The spell is broken, however, on the 5th song which is so far the song I like least and should have been cut, imo.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:28 PM   #127
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I've got the CD sitting right here in front of me. Time to give it a go?
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:45 PM   #128
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I'm dying to hear what you think.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:08 AM   #129
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Okay. Gave it two listens tonight and feel much better about it now than I did after watching all those videos.

The first four songs go very well together. Welcome to England sounds great when you don't have to watch the video to go with it. Give and Flavor are indeed excellent! Not Dying Today, however, comes in and ruins the vibe with the kind of nonsense that gets Tori labeled as adult contemporary. The next three songs kind of save it, though. Around Police Me, I start to lose interest and the songs begin to run together. Starling? Fast Horse? I like one or both of these quite a bit and probably just need some more time with the end of the album.

My early favorite is Curtain Call. I'm also having trouble overlooking the lack of editing yet again. Why? Why must every Tori album use every available second of the CD format? If she had ditched a few of these songs, this album would be tighter. At least she has moved away from the random short "song," a la Fat Slut and Programmable Soda. Reminds me of a rap album with pointless skits in between the real music.

This is definitely better than Posse and Beekeeper, at least at first glance. Tori's voice sounds great, and I'm looking forward to hearing the lyrics more. I'm not saying I hate any of the songs on here, but there are some blatant favorites and not favorites.

Those are my early impressions. Anyone thinking of not buying this because of all the shitty videos, please reconsider. This album is solid, and when it's just you and the music, there are many treasures to be found, especially the more you listen.
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:54 AM   #130
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Okay, you've all convinced me to go and buy the album after all
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:36 AM   #131
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Okay. Gave it two listens tonight and feel much better about it now than I did after watching all those videos.

The first four songs go very well together. Welcome to England sounds great when you don't have to watch the video to go with it. Give and Flavor are indeed excellent! Not Dying Today, however, comes in and ruins the vibe with the kind of nonsense that gets Tori labeled as adult contemporary. The next three songs kind of save it, though. Around Police Me, I start to lose interest and the songs begin to run together. Starling? Fast Horse? I like one or both of these quite a bit and probably just need some more time with the end of the album.

My early favorite is Curtain Call. I'm also having trouble overlooking the lack of editing yet again. Why? Why must every Tori album use every available second of the CD format? If she had ditched a few of these songs, this album would be tighter. At least she has moved away from the random short "song," a la Fat Slut and Programmable Soda. Reminds me of a rap album with pointless skits in between the real music.

This is definitely better than Posse and Beekeeper, at least at first glance. Tori's voice sounds great, and I'm looking forward to hearing the lyrics more. I'm not saying I hate any of the songs on here, but there are some blatant favorites and not favorites.

Those are my early impressions. Anyone thinking of not buying this because of all the shitty videos, please reconsider. This album is solid, and when it's just you and the music, there are many treasures to be found, especially the more you listen.
I agree with all of this! I didn't really connect with Curtain Call until last night.

Fire to Your Plain, Police Me, Mary Jane, Not Dying Today, 500 Miles and That Guy should have all been left on the editing floor. That Guy sounds completely out of place.

Lady in Blue is too long and I just don't care about it yet.

The rest, however, is very solid. It should have been 11 or 12 songs instead of 17.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:44 PM   #132
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I'm glad to see that Give is so liked. It's the best song on the album in my opinion with the title track a close second.

Does anyone else think Smokey Joe would have been perfect on this album?
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:31 PM   #133
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I'm glad to see that Give is so liked. It's the best song on the album in my opinion with the title track a close second.

Does anyone else think Smokey Joe would have been perfect on this album?
Unfortunately the wonderful title song is trapped in the weakest stretch on the record, and sandwiched specifically between two of the worst songs.

I think Give, Flavor and the title song are my favorites. And I actually LOVE them.

I would take Smokey Joe over any of the songs I mentioned that should have been dropped (although after listening to Fire in the Plain again this morning maybe it's not so bad).
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:39 PM   #134
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I think Fire To Your Plain is the best song on the record. Such a chill vibe.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:06 PM   #135
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Fire to Your Plain is ok - kind of forgettable - but we'll see if it grows on me.

Here's a fan review that made me die laughing a few times. I swear I could have written it except that I have never been as angry or frustrated as this person with any disappointments I've had with Tori. Still, s/he hit on literally every single issue I have had with her recent work, except that I loved Scarlet's Walk, and I think I like the new one better than s/he does and I definitely think Welcome to England is getting a bad rap (I like it in the context of the record), but I agree with every single other criticism.

CD Review: Tori Amos, “Abnormally Attracted to Sin” | Popdose
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I have been a Tori Amos for more than half of my life. I was 14 when I first saw the videos for “Silent All These Years” and “Crucify” from her 1992 debut album, Little Earthquakes, on MTV and I was intrigued. I kind of forgot about her until I came across her sophomore album, Under the Pink, at a mall record store in 1994. I bought it at the urging of a friend and the moment I heard the first note of that album’s first track, I officially became a fan.

Tori’s music came into my life at the perfect time — I was an angst-ridden 16-year-old with a bent for creative writing and a desire to find an outlet for my raging teenage emotions. Tori’s raw, confessional, lyrics struck a chord with me and I loved that her instrument of choice was the piano. I listened to Under the Pink over and over again for weeks and when I finally got around to purchasing Little Earthquakes, I did the same thing with it. I just couldn’t get enough.

After buying her third album, 1996’s Boys for Pele, and after seeing my first Tori concert that summer, I became a little obsessed — okay, a lot obsessed — with her and her music. A benign obsession, mind you; I’m no stalker. I started collecting any Tori-related items I could find, including singles, bootlegs, books, magazine articles; you name it, I had it or was trying to find it. I watched as many of her television appearances as I could and, because I had regular Internet access at the computer lab at my university, I slowly started becoming a part of the Tori Amos online community.

With every subsequent album release, my love of Tori’s music grew stronger. And with each tour she embarked upon, I saw more shows and attended as many pre-show “meet and greets,” a Tori tour tradition, as I was able. I first met her in 1998 and my 20-year-old self was over the moon. I constantly took flak from my friends and family about my Tori fandom, and my father was less than pleased with how much money I spent on buying her music and going to shows, but I didn’t care. In retrospect, I was a little ridiculous and it was pretty irresponsible to spend more money than I made on a musician. But I was young and when else can you do stupid things than when you’re young?

As I’ve grown older and my life has changed, so has my relationship with Tori’s music. I started to lose interest with the release of her 2005 album The Beekeeper. It was the first time I had been really disappointed by her. This album was not made by the Tori Amos whose music I had felt such a connection to since my teenage years. It was over-produced, had some really atrocious lyrics and overall just reeked of adult contemporary. There was an inkling of this on her previous effort, 2002’s Scarlet’s Walk, but it was in full-force on The Beekeeper. Plus, she insisted on this nonsensical bullshit about gardens and “sinsuality” and I just couldn’t deal. I did see four shows on that tour, but it was the last time I would go out of my way to see her play. She was starting to piss me off.

American Doll Posse, her 2007 release, was also a disappointment. Another concept album (the woman has insisted upon releasing concept albums since 2001’s Strange Little Girls, much to my chagrin), but this time the concept seemed to involve multiple personalities. Each track on the album was performed by a different “doll” that was supposed to represent a different part of her personality and different mythological figures, each with their own wigs and costumes. And one of those dolls was “Tori.” The general consensus amongst many of my friends who are also big fans was “what the fuck?”

After she finished her 2007 tour in support of American Doll Posse, she started working on her first musical, Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of George MacDonald’s story, The Light Princess, for London’s Royal National Theatre. She had hinted during shows at the end of the tour that she wouldn’t be around for awhile, but Tori fans have learned that she’s pretty much full of shit when she says things like this. And that brings us to now and the release of her latest album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin.

As with every album since Scarlet’s Walk, this is a really long album. It has 17 songs (18 if you count the iTunes-only bonus track, “Oscar’s Theme”) and clocks in at over 72 minutes. Now, I didn’t have a problem with Boys for Pele and Scarlet’s Walk being so long because I love almost every song on both of those albums. But it is entirely unnecessary to keep making these epically long records in which half of the songs are b-side worthy at best. She really needs someone to help her edit herself and realize that there are other ways to get songs out into the world than putting them ALL on one record. If this album — and the two before it, for that matter — had been trimmed down to 11 or 12 of the strongest tracks, I would probably be writing an entirely different review right now.

Most of the gripes I have about Abnormally Attracted to Sin are gripes that I also had about The Beekeeper and American Doll Posse. First, let’s talk about lyrics. One of the things about Tori’s music that I used to really connect with was her lyrics. She used to be challenging, writing these almost indecipherable, but meaningful, phrases that I would spend hours trying to figure out. That opaqueness I once loved is now gone, replaced with a bland transparency that frustrates the hell out me. The only thing challenging to me about most of the lyrics on this album is not throwing something against the wall every time I hear her sing something like “Dyin’ Fryin’, rather have a lie-in,” “she said, ‘Get in and set the SAT-NAV to hell’” or “You got you a Fast horse darlin’ but all you do is complain it ain’t a Maserati.” And don’t even get me started on her oh-so-subtle ode to pot, “Mary Jane.”

And then there’s her enunciation. I know that she’s always been fairly precious in how she pronounces words when she’s singing, but lately it’s been more like she chews them like a wad of bubble gum. One of the first things I thought of when I heard the first single, “ [Click to listen] Welcome to England,” was that I couldn’t understand a damn word she was singing for most of the first verse or two because she sounds like she’s chewing her face. And listen to the chorus of the title track and tell me it doesn’t sound like she’s singing “I’m marmalade attracted to sin.” I laughed when I first read reviews from my friends in which they said they thought this was what she was singing, but then I heard the song myself. This woman could be the poster child for misheard lyrics because she mangles words to the point of sounding like she’s creating her own language. It’s not cute; it’s obnoxious and makes a perfectly good song, well, gross.

Another thing that I think is problematic is the fact that she hasn’t worked with an outside producer in fifteen years. And she’s been working with the same musicians, for the most part, for the past 11 years. She needs to change it up, get some fresh ears and a new perspective in the studio with her. I was telling a friend of mine the other day when she asked me what I thought of this album that in the early-to- mid-1990s, three of the powerhouse female singers in the modern rock world were Tori, Björk and PJ Harvey. Of the three, Tori is the only one who doesn’t work with an outside producer anymore. And of the three, Tori is the only one whose output, I think, suffers for it. I can understand the desire to have control over what you create, but I think that you also have to be open to the creative input of others. I’m not saying that she isn’t, but I do think she’s too unwilling to loosen her creative grip and it’s not helping matters.

As disappointed as I am in this album, I don’t dislike it entirely. There are some really strong tracks that hark back to Tori of old (well, at least To Venus and Back Tori). The Portishead-esque “ [Click to listen] Give” is a strong opener, with a trip-hop sound that she had started experimenting with in the late ’90s but pretty much abandoned after Strange Little Girls. It’s one of the best songs on the album and I can definitely see it being the standard show-starter on her upcoming “Sinful Attraction” tour. I’m also fond of “ [Click to listen] Strong Black Vine,” which has a string arrangement that sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,” despite the marmalade thing, and “Starling.”

Other tracks I don’t mind include “Flavor,” which is reminiscent of the To Venus and Back track, “Lust,” and “Curtain Call,” the opening piano intro of which reminds me of “Siren,” a song she did for the soundtrack to the 1997 film adaptation of Great Expectations. I hated “Fire to Your Plain” at first, but its growing on me, even though I think she really misuses the synths. “Lady in Blue” is too long and has not-so-great lyrics, but I like its jazzy feel. None of these cover new ground for her, but they’re tolerable.

The rest of the songs on the album are pretty forgettable, and some are pretty regrettable. On the forgettable side, we have “Welcome to England,” one of those adult-contemporary sounding songs that does nothing for me. It’s not quite as bad a choice of lead single as “Sleeps with Butterflies” or “Big Wheel” were from the last two albums, but not far behind. “Maybe California” and “Ophelia” are standard Tori ballads. Musically, they’re pretty, but the lyrics make them snoozers for me. Other forgettable tracks include “500 Miles,” which is not a cover of the Proclaimers’ song, “That Guy,” which sounds like it might have been a reject from the musical she was working on and “Fast Horse.”

Then there are the regrettable tracks, the ones I would be pretty happy if they didn’t exist at all. “Not Dying Today,” “Mary Jane,” and “Police Me” all tie for the “worst song of the album” prize. None of them are musically interesting, though “Police Me” has the potential to be, and the lyrics are horrible. These songs are embarrassing and I can’t believe someone didn’t tell her so.

If you purchase the deluxe edition of Abnormally Attracted to Sin, you also get the pleasure of owning the “visualettes” that go with each song. For those of you who don’t speak Tori, that means “videos.” They were mostly filmed during and right after the American Doll Posse tour by Christian Lamb, who also filmed Madonna’s last tour. I’ve seen them all and, for the most part, they consist of Tori, or Tori dressed as one of the “dolls,” walking around some city or field or something in haute couture. They’re okay, I guess, but I’ll probably never watch any of them again.

Okay, so I know this review has been long as hell, but so is the album! Also, I’ve had a lot of pent-up frustration about Tori and her music for the past few years and I really wanted to just get it all out. As negative as much of this review might seem, and as disconnected as I’ve felt from her music since after Scarlet’s Walk, I do still have hope. I love her live shows and will continue to see at least one per tour. I know she’s capable of releasing another amazing, consistent, beautiful record and I am rooting for her to do so. This just isn’t that record.
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