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Tori will be touring in 2014 to support the release of Unrepentant Geraldines. The European legs runs from May through June and the North American legs spans July and August. We do not know if additional dates elsewhere will be added.
November 9, 2009, 8:30 PM ET
By Christopher John Farley
Tomorrow is new music day, and two of the most intriguing releases are Tori Amos’s “Midwinter Graces” and Bon Jovi’s “The Circle.”
Amos’s last record was called “Abnormally Attracted to Sin.” Her new release is a seasonal album filled with holiday carols (or fragments of them, anyway). It’s like going from summer to winter without a stop at fall.
The singer-songwriter-pianist joins a host of high-profile musicians who have released holiday-themed albums recently, including Bob Dylan (”Christmas in the Heart”) and Sting (”If On A Winter’s Night…”). These albums, in part because of the strong personalities of the artists behind them, aren’t traditional Christmas albums. Sting’s CD is a “winter-themed” album, and focuses more on winter suffering than on holiday celebrations.
Dylan’s is a non-traditional Christmas album because, well, it’s Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album.
Amos puts her own spin on the season with “Midwinter Graces.” It’s a kind of mash-up album–Amos combines some traditional carols to create new songs (for example, “What Child is This” + “The First Noel” = “What Child, Nowell.”) She also alters the melodies and the lyrics to other familiar songs (such as “We Three Kings” in the song “Star of Wonder”) and offers up her own holiday originals, such as “Pink and Glitter” and “Our New Year.”
Amos is the daughter of a Methodist minister and grew up singing carols in her father’s church. Her music, on past albums, has explored issues of sexuality and spirituality. “Drive another nail in/ Just what God needs/One more victim,” go the lyrics to one of her earlier songs, “Crucify.” And on another previously released song she sings “God sometimes you just don’t come through/Do you need a woman to look after you.”
Her new holiday album might annoy some traditionalists, but the songs are performed with a sense of warmth and respect, even as the singer-songwriter freely adapts the material to her own musical sensibilities. This is Christmas without irony or a wink. On “Pink and Glitter,” she’s backed by a big band, giving the tune a retro feel; on other tracks she’s supported by a rock band and an orchestra, granting the arrangements some solidity and bite.
Also out tomorrow is “The Circle,” the new album from Bon Jovi (it can be purchased with a documentary about the band, “When We Were Beautiful”). The album delivers the New Jersey band’s typical brand of muscular, populist rock with hard-working songs like “Superman Tonight” and ”Bullet.” In case you have any doubts about the superstar rockers’ blue-collar street cred, there’s a song called “Work for the Working Man” with the refrain “Who’s going to work for the working man?”
Presumably, Bon Jovi will. Lighters up!
The music video for one of the tracks from the album, “We Weren’t Born to Follow,” features images of various leaders and global heroes, like the protester who stood in front of the line of tanks in China during the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, astronauts–and Lance Armstrong, that beloved global leader (and sometime cyclist) who likely just edged out Hideki Matsui to make Bon Jovi’s list.
Bon Jovi performed the song “We Weren’t Born to Follow” in Berlin as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.