15 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Longtime, hardcore Tori Amos fans are grandly rewarded with Tori’s 14th studio album, 2014’s Unrepentant Geraldines. Where the past three Amos albums were ventures into seasonal music (Midwinter Graces, classically-influenced performances Night of Hunters and orchestrated re-interpretations (Gold Dust), Unrepentant Geraldines is a return to the sound and approach— piano-based chamber pop—that first excited listeners on albums such as Little Earthquakes, From the Choirgirl Hotel and Scarlet’s Walk. Whether it’s the classic Amos sound of “America” and “Weatherman” or Amos on the upbeat with “Wedding Day” or with slight electronic touches on the hypnotic “16 Shades of Blue,” the album offers a return of sorts while never feeling like an attempt at recreating the past. She brings her teenage daughter Natasha to the vocal mic for “Promise,” a song that faces the truth about aging. She discusses NSA surveillance on the deceptively-light sounding “Giant’s Rolling Pin.” Unrepentant Geraldines is a major addition to Amos’ intimidating catalog. 

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Longtime, hardcore Tori Amos fans are grandly rewarded with Tori’s 14th studio album, 2014’s Unrepentant Geraldines. Where the past three Amos albums were ventures into seasonal music (Midwinter Graces, classically-influenced performances Night of Hunters and orchestrated re-interpretations (Gold Dust), Unrepentant Geraldines is a return to the sound and approach— piano-based chamber pop—that first excited listeners on albums such as Little Earthquakes, From the Choirgirl Hotel and Scarlet’s Walk. Whether it’s the classic Amos sound of “America” and “Weatherman” or Amos on the upbeat with “Wedding Day” or with slight electronic touches on the hypnotic “16 Shades of Blue,” the album offers a return of sorts while never feeling like an attempt at recreating the past. She brings her teenage daughter Natasha to the vocal mic for “Promise,” a song that faces the truth about aging. She discusses NSA surveillance on the deceptively-light sounding “Giant’s Rolling Pin.” Unrepentant Geraldines is a major addition to Amos’ intimidating catalog. 

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
371 Ratings
371 Ratings
Osiris0175 ,

Long time fan disappointed again

I totally have enjoyed Tori's musical journey experimenting with new sounds and new ideas over the years. However, it's been quite some time since I've heard a song like "Cooling" or "Sorta Fairytale" with it's Tori backed creativty melded with an unexpected pop hook blended with something fantanstically contradictory in sound. This record is more of her recent boredom for me. I don't feel that any of these songs take me to a new place or hear a thought expressed in a way that the genius Tori once was could deliver.

E.P. Clark ,

Complex, Yet Coherent Fairy-Tale of an Album

As I continue my rediscovery of Tori Amos, I find that there's so much here in her newer work to love! It may not be as immediately accessible as her albums from the 90s (although those albums were not exactly super-accessible, either), but if anything her work has gotten even more complex, thought-provoking, and multi-faceted yet coherent over the past couple of decades.

On my first listen through "Unrepentant Geraldines," I was like, "Eh. What is this?" It was sort of like the Tori Amos I knew, and sort of a mess, or so I thought. But on repeated listens I keep finding themes and threads that pull the album together.

Weddings and marriage come up repeatedly, both literally, as in "Wedding Day," and figuratively or implicitly, as in "Weatherman" (the highlight of the album for me) and "Selkie." The lyrical "I's" longing for, fear of, and frustration with, union with another is accompanied with a longing for truth and concern with deception, as she seeks assurances of the other's presence and truthfulness, even as she goes in search of the ultimate talisman of truth in "The Giant's Rolling Pin," whose quirky sound hides a serious concern. At the same time, time and the inevitability of aging figure again and again, whether somberly, as in "Promise," politically, as in "16 Shades of Blue," or with self-mocking amusement, as in "White Telephone to God." All of this is woven together with fairy-tale references in songs such as "Weatherman," "The Maids of Elven-Mere," and "Selkie." The final impression is of a lyrical voice that is both aware of its rootedness in its own body, and yet connected to the physical and spiritual worlds outside it through religion, mythology, and love.

Tallera257 ,

Not a favorite :(

I'm a long-time fan of Tori. In my opinion, her best albums have been "Scarlet's Walk" and "American Doll Posse." I even found a lot to like in "Night of Hunters," even though it was a huge departure from her usual style. This album, unfortunately, is probably my least favorite of any she's ever released. It's a shame, because I look forward to EVERY new Tori album with such excitement, but this one is just....bland. :(

Most of the tracks have a very similar sound, to the point that it's hard to tell where one song ends and the next begins (and not in a good way). There are a couple of auditory standouts, such as "Giant's Rolling Pin," but even that track suffers the album's other major flaw: the melodies often feel very randomly constructed, as if someone threw darts at a poster of a piano keyboard, and then wrote down whatever notes they hit. There's no sense of melodic progression or emotion conveyed through the melodies themselves, just notes with words tacked on. All in all, if this album didn't have her name and face on it, I would NEVER have guessed it was one of Tori's. She usually has a fantastic sense of how to convey mood and emotion, while also keeping most of her songs very "singable," but none of that is evident here.

The only two tracks I do feel like adding to my regular playlist are "Promise" and "Wild Way." "Promise" again showcases the lovely voice of Tori's daughter, Natashya, and it's by far the best song on the album. It's a lovely character piece, essentially a dialogue between a teenager and a parent, both of whom seem to be yearning for communication and closeness with each other, but struggling to figure out how to make it work. Well composed, well performed, and just a joy to listen to. "Wild Way," while it suffers a bit from the random-composition issue of this album, still has a catchy hook in the melody and lyrics of the chorus, which redeem the song somewhat in my eyes. It seems to be about a relationship where one person is in the settling-down phase of their life, while the other is clinging to a more active, fun-loving lifestyle, and the struggle to reconcile those two different sets of values. While not quite as emotionally resonant (for me) as "Promise," it nonetheless does a good job of conveying the connection between the pair, while also showing the disconnect. Nicely done.

If you're a huge fan of Tori, you'll probably want to listen to this album at least once to judge it for yourself (obviously others have liked it a great deal, based on all the 5-star reviews). If you're new to Tori, however, PLEASE start with a different album (preferably one from the early-to-mid-2000's) to see what she can be like when she's at her best!!!

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