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Read on for reviews of American Doll Posse from The Telegraph (UK), Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Newark’s Star Ledger, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. The Los Angeles Times also turns its eye on the video of “Almost Rosey” from the bonus DVD which Amazon posted. Thanks to Lucy, leirali, Dainster and Dru!
American Doll Posse
In recent years, Tori Amos’s music has been marked by its steadily increasing sense of equilibrium. Now, though, there are signs that the unhinged demon of the piano stool is on the way back: this 20-track epic contains plenty of the slow, sad, stately ballads that have always been part of her repertoire, but also a whole bunch of big, bombastic rock-outs. She seems, too, to have discovered the joy of guitars: never before has her music been so dominated by power chords and licks and riffs, all performed to blockbusting beats that evoke the glory days of glam rock.
Of course, with Amos nothing is ever straightforward, which is why these songs are sung not by Amos as herself, but as five alter-egos, ranging from a George Bush-hating platinum-blonde photographer to a woman with red hair holding a chicken. As a concept, it doesn’t really add much to the enjoyment of the thing. But as an album, this is a refreshingly fierce, diverse, colourful and unstable experience. —David Cheal
The Daily Telegraph’s review:
AMERICAN DOLL POSSE
BY: KATHY MCCABE
Tori Amos doesn’t pull any punches with the opening track from her latest studio album. Yo George is about that man who runs the world at the moment, surely the most sung-about US president in history.
After that sombre lament, Amos offers the most accessible and infectious collection of pop songs of her career, using five distinct “personalities” to deliver her personal and political point of view. Bouncing Off Clouds sounds like a song Madonna should do if she ever wants to re-establish credibility – and it will make an awesome remix. Teenage Hustling is ferocious bar-blues rock, Digital Ghost is a piano ballad with guitar grunt and Almost Rosey is worthy of early Elton John.
There’s an overall glam-rock vibe about the 20-song collection, which suits Amos well.
The Star Ledger’s review, which appeared in the “Adobe” pull-out section on page 15.
Theatrical Piano Pop
“American Girl Posse”
With her concept album “American Girl Posse,” Tori Amos aims for nothing less than broadening what she sees as our culture’s division of womanhood into two limited roles: adolescent dirty girl and man-emulating robot. She sings as five female characters, each embodying a different aspect of what could be a whole woman.
Certainly, no one has ever accused Amos of being a shrinking violet. Luckily, she has also allied admirable “American Girl Posse” concept to her most entertaining set of tunes in years. “Bouncing Off Clouds,” in particular, is a wonderful song, with a soaring bridge (even if Amos should give Kate Bush a cut of the royalties, such is the perfect imitation of her melodic, rhythmic and lyrical imprint).
The buoyant “Big Wheel” is another highlight, a witty take on being able to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan — and still sizzle in the bedroom. “Teenage Hustling” has bite, too. But not everything on the 43-year-old’s ninth album wears well over the long haul. One may welcome Amos’ square-peg stance and sociopolitical philosophies — those of a feminist, liberal, spiritual but religiously skeptical minister’s daughter — and still tire of the rather generic production here, never mind the musical-theater mannerisms. But here’s to changing the world.
Download this: “Bouncing Off Clouds.”
American Doll Posse
Producer(s): Tori Amos
Tori Amos invested such effort in the visual and lyrical concepts of “American Doll Posse,” we wish we’d fallen for these ladies like we did for the titular character of Amos’ “Scarlet’s Walk” in 2002. The album’s hefty 23 songs tell the stories of five female archetypes, and it’s so ripe for feminist debate that Epic could market it to literary circles with dignity. Amos embodies each persona, shamelessly declaring herself a MILF (“Big Wheel”), a pubescent hussy (“Teenage Hustling”) or whatever mantle fits the situation. Despite it being more rock-oriented than 2005’s “The Beekeeper,” this album isn’t much of a sonic progression, and it takes a while for “Posse” to find its voice. But we bet a coffee klatch with these world-weary ladies would make “Desperate Housewives” look like little girls playing house. —Christa L. Titus
Performing Songwriter review of ADP
Over the course of nine studio albums, Tori Amos has maintained a haunting signature sound-a tumble of agitated piano play, riveting melodies and breathless vocals-while tossing in enough unexpected interludes to keep her listeners captivated. That holds true for this dazzling 20-song set, perhaps her most prodigious accomplishment yet. Much sounds familiar, from the thunderous assault of “Body and Soul,” “Code Red,” “Beauty of Speed” and “Teenage Hustling” to the mellow drift of “Digital Ghost,” the sultry lure of “You Can Bring Your Dog” and the precious feel of “Devil and Gods.” While the majority of the album seems sprightly in tone and tempo, Amos the artist/activist reveals herself in somber but stirring rebukes of the present administration, “Yo George” and “Dark Side of the Sun.” To her credit, Amos remains as uncompromising as ever. -LZ
The live solo piano version of “Almost Rosey” in this video is an entirely different approach than the rockified version on Amos’ new album, “American Doll Posse”; no pounding rhythm section, no slide guitar, just her voice and a piano. It works extraordinarily well in an artfully slapdash way, the camera slowly hovering around the piano. Vérité elements add to the live experience — the mike picks up her breathing and the piano is ever so slightly distorted. Amos’ camera muggings are irritating, but you can’t beat the song with its powerful refrain, “We both know they wouldn’t mind / If I just curled up and died / Oh, let’s not give that one a try.” Why add the band?