I had a long break from Tori Amos; from her music. I just couldn’t care about it. It seems Tori Amos fans really care about her music. And they really feel it man! I couldn’t. I didn’t. I loved those first three records – I enjoyed bits and pieces across the next couple of records after that but then I just let them speed on by. And as some Tori Amos fans turned to Fiona Apple or Amanda Fuckwit Palmer (or whatever she calls herself) and stuck with Tori too I stayed with Kate Bush. You know the Kate Bush that Tori Amos had – apparently – never heard. Well she still sounds a lot like her on the best bits of this latest album; even managing to sound a bit like the Kate Bush of Aerial, Director’s Cut and 50 Words For Snow; not that she’s ever heard her though.
Tori Amos did the re-record/orchestra makeover album to revisit the hits and that was good; good enough. It was the start of wining me back around but Unrepentant Geraldines shows she’s still got it, as singer, as songwriter – and though you feel she’ll only win back former fans rather than make any new ones (as such) she’ll also still please the faithful. What seems most important on this album is that it’s a consistent-sounding/seeming Tori. She’s still tackling big subjects, creating her own mythology, probably taking herself and her craft a bit too seriously but the results are strong this time. It’s hard to argue with the sound and songs of Unrepentant Geraldines.
That said, as always, the album is too long – she’s always over-egged the omelette, making either too much of a mediocre thing or too much of an annoying thing. So this time it’s too much of a good thing, which, although better, means the album starts to dip toward the end. But for that middle-point, the emotional centre, songs like 16 Shades of Blue (almost career-best), Maids of Elfen-mere, Promise and Giant’s Rolling Pin (okay, so that one’s a wee bit naff/playful) she hints at mid-70s Joni Mitchell peak; more importantly she is back at Tori Amos peak form. This album is welcome in my collection. That’s not something I’ve said about an Amos album for over a decade.