Having recently tried to read Tori Amos' self-indulgent 2005 book of thoughts and conversation Piece by Piece (is there no goddess or mythological figure she doesn't identify with?), it takes great effort to remain interested in her music, especially for this album where she revisits songs from her 20-year career with Holland's Metropole Orchestra. But, like Kate Bush, Amos did redefine the parameters of song and lyric writing, so ...
But, however much Amos gilds the liner notes by saying the circumstances brought new images to mind and the notion of "a Memory Box", this is undeniably little more than an extravagant vanity project from someone who has never undervalued her work or its importance to her audience. Many songs aren't substantially rethought (just over-augmented by strings) and Amos doesn't take the opportunity (as Joni Mitchell did with the similarly conceived Travelogue) to reinvent them in any meaningfully different way.
Amos' fan base, for whom she has been an important role model as much as a musician, may be happy with this, but with Suzanne Vega currently re-recording her songs and Jeff Lynne doing the same for his Electric Light Orchestra classics, you do wonder if "because I could" is such a good reason.
Verdict: Tori goes through her back pages, with strings
- TImeOut / elsewhere.co.nzBy Graham Reid Email Graham