...She's still pushing her own boundaries.
Jerome Blakeney 2007-04-27
While the main controversy so far surrounding Ms Amos' 11th album is that its first attendant single, "Big Wheel" is getting nil airplay due to the use of the acronym 'MILF' in the chorus (don't ask); the hardest thing to grasp may be the underlying concept. But rest easy, it's a return to old form on many levels for the the red-headed quirkstress .
To deal with the problematic 'theme' first: Tori has adopted the personae of five female characters to speak at various points during the album. The 'Doll Posse', if you will. These are Isabel, Clyde, Pip, Santa and err...Tori. All based on Greek archetypes, they allow the album to move between genres and moods with a deftness that may have been lacking on previous work by Amos.
Top of the pack has to be the aforementioned "Big Wheel" which, with its country rock slide, is probably the raunchiest record she's made yet. Elsewhere the fare tends to vacillate between lighter pop-isms such as "Bouncing Off Clouds" or the more traditional piano and strings of "Girl Disappearing".
While the innovation of multiple voices is handy, it also leads to a litle too much filler in places, with some songs barely extending beyond sketches. However it's undeniable that American Doll Posse returns Amos to the forefront of a genre which, along with Kate Bush, she defined. We may have newer eccentrics these days such as Joanna Newsom, but Tori Amos was there first. And she's still pushing her own boundaries.