During tours, we do our best to cover setlists in real-time on Twitter. If you want to tweet a show in, just DM or @ us on the day and tell us to watch your stream that night.
Tori is not presently on tour.
Additionaly, Armen points us towards metacritic.com which compiles ratings from several critics into one composite score for the album and also allows The Average Josephine to post their own opinion about the record.
By Christopher John Treacy
Monday, April 30, 2007 – Updated: 05:25 PM EST
American Doll Posse
Sony | Grade: A-
Amos can’t stop devising fresh ways of articulating her rage at patriarchal religious and political power structures. Her “Doll Posse” consists of five female characters (including herself) that comprise the psyche of an American woman. Musically, the CD isn’t as ambitious as its concept, but Amos does return to the darker, guitar-sharpened edges of “Boys For Pele” and “From the Choirgirl Hotel,” giving her new material a theatrical glam-rock feel. The vocal hooks and piano melodies are more elusive than usual, but there’s plenty of ear candy buried for the finding. Download: “Secret Spell.”
“American Doll Posse” (Epic)
THE singular mind of Tori Amos actually consists of many parts. On her ninth studio album, the singer-songwriter gives voice (and name and affect) to some of them, aiming to inspire all women to reclaim their whole selves rather than be limited to the roles (wife, mother, sexpot, etc.) that patriarchy has imposed for, well, forever. On “American Doll Posse,” the eccentric pop artist embodies, complete with costumes, a band whose members — Isabel, Clyde, Pip, Santa and, duh, Tori — each represent aspects of the feminine as well as various Greek goddesses. It’s a radical and grandiose concept (perhaps explaining the epic 20 tracks on this 67-minute collection). It also recalls her 2001 covers album, “Strange Little Girls,” on which Amos manifested the female viewpoints she found in each selection with a dozen Cindy Sherman-esque photos in different guises.
A one-woman quintet: Does the idea sound kind of — crazy? “American Doll Posse” is by turns lush, raunchy, rollicking and absurd. Despite the personalities on parade, however, you can’t really tell the players without the program. Whether it’s Isabel’s protests (the Bush-berating piano anthem “Yo George”), Pip’s combative strutting (“Teenage Hustling”), Clyde’s vulnerability (“Girl Disappearing”) or Santa’s sauciness (“You Can Bring Your Dog”), it’s all Amos.
The songs reflect Amos’ own journey from angry preacher’s daughter to unabashed artist, building on previous accomplishments while following her mysterious muse. The short, seething “Fat Slut,” surprisingly raw in its loathing, harks back to her earliest, most enraged tunes, while “Body and Soul” rolls out an anti-religious juggernaut. “Father’s Son” is a deceptively floaty ballad with a tense undertow, but the propulsive, baroque “Bouncing Off Clouds” demands a soaring dance remix.
“ADP” is often fun but sometimes overwrought, and non-fans may find it too much. But, as always, Amos addresses heavy themes with a combination of sweeping mythology and sometimes savage humor. Maybe it takes seemingly crazy ideas to match the insanity of these times, when female “empowerment” (usually involving subduing men with your sexiness) only reinforces the restrictions imposed by government, law, society and the media. For all the layers of conceit here, her point is direct. And very well taken.
— Natalie Nichols
Listen Up: Tori Amos
“American Doll Posse” (Sony)
In “American Doll Posse,” Tori Amos charts an apocalyptic battle of the sexes in which men and women blame their loss of identity on each other. It takes place in an upside-down world ruled by a Mad King George, where men vanish into their machines (“Digital Ghost”) as women lose their girlhood (“Girl Disappearing”) in the hardening visage of feminism.
Amos’ music is so rich and dense that it is often impenetrable. Each song is packed with so many musical and lyrical ideas that it is difficult to keep up with the unfolding mosaic. Because of this, her work has been too often disregarded as erratic and obscure by those who simply don’t want to deal with it.
Her last three albums form a triptych of American history as seen through the visions of its ghosts. From the Native American journey of “Scarlet’s Walk” to the witch gardens of “The BeeKeeper,” she has wrenched a landscape in which Irish fairies consort with Cherokee medicine women on the cities of the plains.
With “American Doll Posse,” she devises five personalities for herself and takes on the modern world, from the revolt of nature against patriarchal religion (“Father’s Son”) to the amoral world of “Teenage Hustling” on which the blame falls on everybody and no one.
In addition to her core trio of Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Jon Evans (bass), the album features some glam guitar bursts from Mac Alladin, a brass arrangement on “Programmable Soda” and a lovely string quartet on “Girl Disappears.” DOWNLOAD: “Digital Ghost”
— Bill White
Tori Amos – American Doll Posse (Columbia)
UK release date: 30 April 2007
Fifteen years after her breakthrough album Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos could accurately be described as a veteran these days. Her complex and sometimes unsettling music means that she’s never really escaped the cult status bestowed upon her, yet she’s enough of a survivor to release her ninth studio album.
Amos’ career has never really taken the easy to follow route. Whether it breastfeeding a pig on the cover of Boys For Pele or recording an entire album of cover versions written by men but reinterpreted from a female point of view, she’s forever walked that tightrope between inspired lunacy and utter pretentiousness.
American Doll Posse is her most ambitious concept yet – songs sung by five female personas created by Amos who are meant to represent “the compartmentalised feminine which may have been repressed in each woman”. To take the concept to slightly ludicrous extremes, Amos has dressed up as each persona on the album artwork and has even written a series of blogs in each character.
Say what you like about the idea, but it’s certainly not something that you can ever imagine, say, Katie Melua creating. If the elaborate concept puts you off the album though, that would be a shame. For American Doll Posse is Amos’ most coherent work in years, and contains some of the best songs she’s ever written.
As ever with Amos, the lyrics here are feminist, political and complex. The most obvious statement is the opening Yo George, an attack on the US President. Bush may be an easy target, but it’s a mark of the changing attitudes in today’s America that Amos can sing “I have now an allergy to your policies it seems” and nobody bats an eyelid. Strange to think it would have earned The Dixie Chicks death threats not five years ago.
The remainder of the album is sung by the titular Posse: Isabel, Clyde, Santa, Pip and Tori. As befits the schizophrenic nature of the concept, musically it’s rather varied, bouncing from low key piano ballads to hip-shaking disco through to soft rock and orchestra accompanied laments. Devils And Gods starts off sounding like Joanna Newsom, before segueing into Body And Soul’s Tom Waits-like dirty blues groove.
The typical image of Amos as an intensely serious woman with a piano is also playfully destroyed here. There are huge bursts of rock guitar in Teenage Hustling while you can almost imagine her headbanging her way through You Can Bring Your Dog. As for jokes, the terrific Big Wheel features Amos telling us that “I am a MILF, don’t you forget” over an infectious groove.
There’s even a nod to the Balkans on Velvet Revolution, which is reminiscent of Beirut’s debut album from last year, although the more traditional Tori is in place in the standout Dark Side Of The Sun. The latter is probably the most explicit comment on the Iraq war, featuring a chorus of “how many young men have to lay down their life and their love of their woman for some sick promise of a haven” over a typically gorgeous melody.
The orchestral backing to Girl Disappearing is also mightily effective, although the sheer length of the album (23 tracks and 78 minutes) means that some tracks, especially during the album’s second half do tend to wash over the listener a bit. You get the impression that with a stronger editor, the album could have had its running time halved and become a much more effective record.
Yet if that had happened, it wouldn’t be the Tori Amos we know and love. She’s one of the most original and intriguing artists out there at the moment, and if American Doll Posse sees her remain an acquired taste, those who have already been converted are in for a treat.
- John Murphy
American Doll Posse
by Jonathan Keefe
Posted: April 29, 2007
3.5 stars out of 5
Tori Amos’s fourth consecutive album that’s threatened to be swallowed whole by its macro-level structure, American Doll Posse comes with so much prerequisite work that its most immediate effect will be to alienate however many casual fans she has remaining while reaffirming the devotion of her die-hard constituency. That its gimmick—the album is “written” and “performed” by five distinct personae, each of whom comes with her own classical goddess archetype as inspiration and each of whom has her own blog to make for a more fully-developed point-of-view—is so easy to dismiss as Amos’s already mile-wide self-indulgent streak multiplied by five is unfortunate, then, because American Doll Posse is, if not quite a full-on return to form, Amos’s richest album since 1998’s From The Choirgirl Hotel. Unlike its three predecessors (the unfocused post-feminist covers album Strange Little Girls, the monotonous Scarlet’s Walk, and the terribly-written, bloated The Beekeeper), this is an album that is at least intermittently enhanced by its concept.
Moreover, the best songs on American Doll Posse have strong enough lyrics and melodies to stand on their own, without getting into whether Amos is singing as Tori, Pip, Isabel, Clyde, or Santa (who, incidentally, looks a lot like Helen Mirren in awards-show glam). For those who choose to put the time into the album, there’s some fertile territory to be found, particularly in how the perspectives of the most fully-realized dolls (Isabel, with her informed, sharply observed political outrage; the frank, aggressive sexuality of Pip; and Clyde’s ironic interest in stripping away artifice) reconcile with Amos’s own aesthetic. But, with 23 songs to pore over, eventually the women start to repeat themselves to diminished returns (Isabel, it seems, is anti-war) and to become increasingly indistinct. Which may be part of the point, but it’s one that Amos could’ve made far more concisely. Interestingly enough, the songs that would make for the most obvious cuts—and, truly, Amos needs an internal editor almost as badly as Ryan Adams does—are the ones credited to “Tori.” The lone exception there is “Big Wheel,” Amos’s finest single in ages, which surprises for its country-inflected production and which showcases the extent to which she’s rediscovered her pulse and her sly sense of humor.
For too long now, Amos has been exploiting her fans’ willingness to attach profound meaning to even her most cloying wordplays—starting with the first line of To Venus And Back (“Father, I’ve killed my monkey/I let it out to taste the sweet of spring”) and descending from there. But on “Big Wheel,” when she chants, “I am a M.I.L.F./Don’t you forget,” she’s letting her audience back in on the joke, and that accessibility makes her occasional lapse into idiosyncratic syntax or abrasive vocal tics a whole lot less insufferable. Even more helpful in that regard, though, are the memorable melodic hooks on standout tracks like “Bouncing Off Clouds” and the gorgeous “Roosterspur Bridge,” and the forceful, distorted guitars on “Teenage Hustling” and “You Can Bring Your Dog,” which recall the roughest edges of songs like “God” and “She’s Your Cocaine.” There are missteps—“Programmable Soda” is one of her most awkward, forced metaphors, while “Code Red” collapses at the line “Victory is an elusive whore“—but the songs on American Doll Posse that really work are reminders of how gifted a songwriter Amos is.
If still too uneven and entirely too overstuffed to rank among her most essential albums, American Doll Posse is certainly Amos’s most ambitious record, both for the breadth of its sound and for the scope of its driving concept. While that concept is unwieldy and problematic (those blogs demonstrate that Amos’s prose is every bit as cryptic as her worst lyrics), what’s encouraging about American Doll Posse is that, for the first time this decade, it sounds like Amos was as inspired in creating the music for an album as she was in creating the story behind it. The album works about as well as pop music as it does as a concept piece, and in both cases in works pretty well. Whatever becomes of Clyde, Pip, Isabel, and Santa from this point, it’s just comforting to know that Tori Amos is still in there.
American Doll Posse (Epic/Sony BMG)
Emotive ivory tickler Tori Amos once again proves she’s the musical equivalent of your one friend who just says the same shit over and over whenever you have a conversation. That is to say, on her latest the angsty icon has all but phoned in an unbalanced, redundant and unnecessarily bloated 68-minute album. While she attempts to touch on, er, vibrantly original issues like evil American presidents, the massive bulk of Posse lacks structure and coherence, and except for songs like Bouncing Off Clouds and Velvet Revolution, her occasionally slinky or playful but mostly heavy-handed compositions like Fat Slut (which sounds like ridiculous self-parody) have been done to death. Ambitious, high-concept albums are one thing, but Posse’s just a boring mess.