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Serving as a preview for last night’s show at DAR Constitution Hall, this brief album review appeared in Friday’s edition of The Washington Post.
TORI AMOS “American Doll Posse” Epic
Friday, October 26, 2007; Page WE06
THERE’S NOTHING WRONG with Tori Amos ‘s latest CD, “American Doll Posse,” that a little editing wouldn’t fix. More than a little, perhaps, if you don’t share the singer-songwriter’s political views or her passion for overwrought productions, but no matter. You could delete a half-dozen tracks from the 23 on the CD and still have an album that ranks among Amos’s best.
Of course, then you wouldn’t have the sweeping conceptual work that Amos envisioned, a womanhood-embracing song cycle of sorts that involves five distinct personalities: Tori, Isabel, Pip, Santa and Clyde. All the guises and dolls produce mixed results, but you needn’t buy into the overarching conceit to appreciate the album’s diverse highlights: the roadhouse-like romp “Big Wheel,” the wonderfully atmospheric “Programmable Soda,” the soaring “Bouncing Off Clouds” and the darkly operatic “Teenage Hustling,” one of several cuts that put a refreshing emphasis on guitar textures. And don’t let the album’s opening antiwar rant, “Yo George,” fool you. Sure, the lyrics are a bit loopy (“I have an allergy to your policies”), but Amos subsequently addresses political and social issues far more effectively.
In the end you have to admire not just Amos’s craft but her audacity. After all, she’s still recording for a major label at a time when albums this ambitious and bold are scarcely in vogue.
— Mike Joyce
Appearing Friday at DAR Constitution Hall (202-397-7328, http://www.dar.org/conthall). Show starts at 8.