wears the trousers magazine

tori amos: abnormally attracted to sin (2009)
April 20, 2009, 9:10 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , , ,


Tori Amos
Abnormally Attracted To Sin •••

With her tenth studio album Abnormally Attracted To Sin becoming her fourth in a row to clock in at over 75 minutes, it’s time to face facts: Tori Amos is, in the most literal sense, generous to a fault. What’s more, it’s a fault that gets more and more frustrating with each overstuffed biannual offering. Equally cursed and blessed with a gift that keeps on giving, Amos could justifiably lay claim to the title of the hardest working person in the industry, and there is much to be admired in her tenacity and acumen. But where is the line between the desire to provide and a staggering lack of editorial control? Somewhere, Amos has crossed it.

In keeping with the spiritual idea of ‘the gift’, Amos has always been convincing in her belief that core parts of her songs are gathered subconsciously out of the ether, and Abnormally Attracted To Sin continues that thread. When the songs first flooded in, she had no plans to make an album. How could she? She was already promoting a book (the impressionistic visual feast of Comic Book Tattoo), prepping a live DVD, and writing a stage musical based on a Victorian fairytale. But Amos hasn’t made it to ten albums by staring gift horses down the gullet and she dutifully tuned in.

It would be somewhat churlish to say that the signal got scrambled but Abnormally Attracted To Sin draws on several disparate elements – many of them familiar Tori-tropes – and consequently suffers from a see-what-sticks approach. As a result, we encounter some extreme shifts from the sublime to the ridiculous, while the sequencing all but decimates the dynamic segues and transitions between songs that are so characteristic of her earlier work. Anyone desperately hoping for a return to something even distantly approaching cohesion should probably switch off after the first four songs.

It all starts out so perfectly, you see. As album openers go, you couldn’t do much better than ‘Give’. An intense hit of sophisticated electronica, it’s like biting into a slab of Moroccan dark chocolate after the enjoyable yet ultimately shallow confections of American Doll Posse. A portentous drumbeat stalks through the heart of the song as Amos delivers perhaps her finest vocal performance in a decade, simmering with a potent rage in the verses and arcing high into her upper register on the chorus. Both piano and electric guitar are used sparingly, while a disorienting wash of synths buzzes across the speakers almost constantly.

Aside from the startlingly theatrical performance, part of the beauty of ‘Give’ lies in how open the lyrics are to interpretation. One take that sort of fits in with the album’s general theme – for once we’re not calling this a concept album – of re-evaluating the notions of “sin”, social acceptability and power is that Amos could be singing from the perspective of a prostitute; equally, there is something distinctly vampyric about its references to sunrise and bloodletting. You could even say it’s simply Amos defending her right to make overlong albums, but that’s just not as exciting.

From this deeply cool beginning, first single ‘Welcome To England’ seems almost Tori-by-numbers on the first few listens but the finer details of the production soon emerge. It’s nice to hear the piano competing with the layered synths and guitars and Amos sounds at ease. If it proves anything, it’s that she can still make catchy singles without resorting to butterflies or attention-grabbing acronyms. Post-immigration ambivalence is much more engaging, and the idea of “daily hell” being transcended through creative imagination is something we can all believe in.

The dense, soulful rock of ‘Strong Black Vine’ arrives loudly on a dramatic bed of drums and strings, with some welcome Hammond organ later mixed in with the synths and electric guitar. Lyrically it seems to be a convoluted stab at drawing together the heavy themes of war, religion and America’s insatiable desire for oil; but this is no ‘Dark Side Of The Sun’. Amos muddies her imagery to her advantage, seemingly urging her subject to expand their mind, perhaps by using some of her old friend ayahuasca (a hallucinogenic vine that grows in South America). By whatever means, the oppressor must be made to submit.

The much gentler ‘Flavor’ seems to find Amos meditating on the power of the media, though not in an obvious way. The flavo(u)r in question is either fear or love and how we are being influenced to think more with kneejerk reactions than considered compassion, especially with regard to misunderstood belief systems. Or at least that’s one take. Musically it has a contemplative, spacey feel and would have fit right in on To Venus & Back. Beaming back to Earth, however, Amos was deflected off course and ended up somehow on a bus with a gambler, a cleaner and a puppeteer. Yeah, don’t ask. Without putting too fine a point on it, ‘Not Dying Today’ is pretty much heinous on every level, and from then on the album becomes an assault course of awkwardly juxtaposed moments.

Predictably, some of the songs have a made-for-Broadway feel and Amos walks a fine line with these. ‘Maybe California’ may not seem like an obvious stage production at first, but when the brushed drums sweep in and the chorus starts to swirl it’s hard not to picture it as one of those pivotal, pre-intermission ballads. Embellished with beautiful strings, it has some genuinely touching moments but lyrically is perhaps too direct. By way of contrast ‘Abnormally Attracted To Sin’ defies any expectations imposed by lifting its title from ‘Guys & Dolls’ dialogue, taking the reference and spinning something totally fresh and unexpected out of it as a thick miasma of synths and Hammond takes us right to the threshold of the church Amos warns us not to enter if saddled with the titular affliction.

The tragedy of Abnormally Attracted To Sin as a whole is that there are really two distinct bodies of work here, and they just don’t belong on the same disc. One is consistently inventive, riveting and (most importantly) believable; the other is a campy romp of character studies that, while typically big-hearted, could have used some fine-tuning. ‘500 Miles’ is prime skipping material, while the initially quite promising ‘Police Me’ is destroyed by some horrendous lyrics, sadly a defining feature of the album’s weaker tracks. The brilliant nuances, quirks, allusions and wit we have come to expect from Amos are occasionally lacking. Instead we get clumsy references to “slutty goths” and sat-navs. We’d rather have an ear full of cider. In comparison, ‘That Guy’ and ‘Mary Jane’ are at the thick end of the theatrical wedge and find Amos in a wily, kittenish mood that will probably translate better live.

Of the songs belonging to that other, killer album, ‘Starling’ and ‘Ophelia’ are solid, if a little familiar, while the charming Southern twists and odd pronunciations of ‘Fast Horse’ stack up surprisingly well. ‘Curtain Call’ is Amos at her mysterious best with a good use of tension in the music. The lyrics are intelligent and full of interesting sex and drugs metaphors that feel autobiographical but also expansive in that you can project your own experiences into them. ‘Lady In Blue’ is a wonderfully hypnotic epic that builds deliciously slowly into a lengthy and superb instrumental climax. After ‘Give’ it’s easily the album’s most surprising inclusion, full of smouldering passion and curlicues of smoky, spellbinding intrigue, and easily matches the best of her incredible career. The gorgeously autumnal and uncluttered bonus track ‘Oscar’s Theme’ harks right back to her solo piano days, and as the background hiss fades away you’re left with palate cleansed but wanting more of this Tori, rock’s peerless pianist who can get beneath your skin in just one breath. That is her gift.

We’ll probably never know why Amos has grown to insist upon her recent work trying to be everything to everyone, but Abnormally Attracted To Sin is easily her most uneven listening experience. That’s a crying disservice to the fantastic album contained within its sprawl and it would be a genuine pity for people to hear the likes of ‘500 Miles’ and write it off. Amos’s idea of reclaiming the concept of sin from the church doesn’t really provide a coherent thread so it will be interesting to see what the bonus DVD of accompanying “visualettes” contributes, if anything.

It has been six years since she last put out an album that felt like a carefully constructed and concise artistic statement. And as long as Tori Amos remains abnormally afraid of censoring herself, it seems the whole will continue to betray the sum of its parts.

Alan Pedder and Alex Ramon
UK release date: 18/05/09; www.myspace.com/toriamos


97 Comments so far
Leave a comment

3 stars, huh. It sounds like I’ll largely get what I’m expecting from this album – highlights in the form of individual songs somewhere in the sprawl of songs that could’ve been b-sides.

Still look forward to hearing it though, especially the production style/instrumentation.

Comment by Richaod

amazing! according to her own twitter comment, dor dotson is leaving london tonight, returning in 9 days to see the rescheduled tori concert on may 11th!

imagine blowing thousands just to see one concert!

but remember, i’m the crazed stalker, lol, damn you idjits GOTTA grow a brain sooner or later

Comment by magicmonkey

I couldn’t agree any less. I enjoy songs like ‘Sleeps with Butterflies’ and ‘500 Miles’ as well as dark songs like ‘Give’ and Strong ‘Black Vine.’

Yes it does seem like there are two different albums here but I don’t have a problem with that. We don’t live in an album world anymore, the concept of the album as a whole is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

People put music on their mp3 players and computers now and the parts as a whole are meaningless; it’s all about how each song can stand on its own.

Tori may have failed at a coherent album but she’s succeeded in having a vast variety of sounds that suit different people.

It’s okay to have a cute and simple song like ‘500 miles’ with dark and imaginative ‘Give’ because they’re just going into someone’s iTunes and the song’s people aren’t into won’t be listened too.

I felt as though The Beekeeper was two distinct albums as well, both sound great by themselves. The beauty of it is that I can do that via a playlist on iTunes; there’s no need to make two discs are have tons of hard-to-get B-sides on singles (another dead concept) because the Editing power is now within the grasp of the listener and they most definitely have the final say. I think it’s definitely forward thinking, as an artist, to provide all of your creative output and let the customers cut together the final work.

Comment by Sage

Well, the second commenter is clearly a maniac. The album is not just dead, but DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, (woah, some strong emotions there)? Beg to differ. Plus, with the internet, Ms Amos could easily release a strong, cohesive 12 tracker and then throw the rest on her website as bonuses for the die-hards. This is the woman who kept ‘Upside Down’ and ‘Purple People’ off their respective albums in order to maintain their structural cohesion. It still matters.

And there’s a difference between light-down-well (let’s say, A Sorta Fairytale) and frankly embarrassing offerings like 500 Miles, which are beneath her and will end up harming her reputation as a musician and songwriter in the long run.

Comment by Michael

Agree with Michael, Tori offerings such as 500 miles are embarassing and crap (my words)On first hearing I couldn’t believe that Tori wrote such inane garbage. I bought American Doll Posse and listened to a few times, and found it extremely disappointing. This iss a person who listened to From the Choirgirl Hotel about 1000 times. Sadly she has lost her musical gift and should take a long break from song writing. He persona is increasingly becoming very egotistical, thinks she’s an intellect and rants on about a lot of garbage. Her album slicks are full of egotistical airbrushed pics. Feel sad that she’s lost her mojo, but with extraordinary talent like hers, it was bound to happen. Just wish she;d realise it herself. Still going to the Australian concert though, ah how sad… Maybe she’ll play some of her old stuff????? Pray

Comment by karen

Great review–though I’ll withhold judgment until I hear the album in its entirety several times through.

Based on “American Doll Posse,” which received generally strong reviews, I am not surprised by your analysis of this album, because it feels all too familiar. Where the meandering “Scarlet’s Walk” was justifiably long, becoming more complex and intricate with each song and every listen, subsequent albums have all felt less focused. I love Tori trifles like “Toodles Mr. Jim” and “Frog on My Toe,” but there is a reason these songs were issued as B-sides, and were not included as album tracks. “Posse Bonus” is a cute song–but “American Doll Posse” could have (and should have) been more than cute. In fact, it was, largely, and if the precious tracks had been culled, then the album could have been a sparse masterpiece with more attention to such great songs as “Code Red” and the shamefully downplayed “bonus tracks” of “Smokey Joe” and “Dragon,” which are both big, ballsy Amos masterpieces.

But since Tori’s sales go to devoted fans who will buy all her work and are hardly, if at all, dependent on typical popular sales, then she is free to create and craft as she pleases. It’s an unsatisfactory conclusion, but perhaps this is what Amos’s creative mind and talents need in order to keep creating masterpieces–even if those are songs and not full albums.

Comment by DMC

I agree with Sage. I have definitely found some songs to be skip-worthy on recent Tori albums. But then I speak to other fans and they think some of the songs I cherish are ones that should have been left off. And with b-sides not really existing anymore, I’d rather get those gems with the album and decide if I like them (since I usually liked them or not. Everyone has their own personal sonic preferences and we all connect to lyrics differently. A song that doesn’t speak to me at all could really touch someone else and vice versa. I say record them all and let the fans sort them out.

Comment by ClearlyDemented

I think the reviewer/s is wholly incapable of setting aside his/her own personal opinions on Tori’s past music and provide US w/ a balanced and unbiased opinion of this NEW work.
The constant comparison of past/present is unnerving, to say the least…
so many of the GREAT 20th/21st century musicians have to deal w/ past/present comparisons from so-called journalists that it muddles the musical waters to the point of discouragement.
From what I have heard thus far, I am enjoying this new album and look foward to purchasing and listening to it in full; and as with most things I will of course have favorites of the bunch but does that imply that the rest is sh*t!?!?!?

Comment by gio

ClearlyDemented here has a valuable point.
It all depends on one’s personal opinion of Tori’s music. No review is ever unbiased; no reviewer could achieve impartiality. Oh, as far as it stands with me, I’m not too sure yet if I’ll ever come to agree with the review authors’ opinion.
I was browsing through other reviews on the site, and I chanced to find that of American Doll Posse, written also by Ramon. It was more highly rated than Abnormally Attracted To Sin. Hm, interesting. Well, well, well, forgive me if what I say is blasphemy, but from what I’ve already heard of AATS, in my opinion it’s bound to be much better than ADP.

Comment by Lucy

I completely DIS-agree with Sage. Music moves in cycles, like everything else. The album will come back, when people get sick of the digitalised, sound-bite addicted world we now find ourselves in. In fact for some people the album never left. Its all about the current fad.

Comment by Anthony

hey, remember when tori was great? now her ego is so huge, she cant allow a producer, or anyone else involved in her ‘projects’. she needs some directing. now, of course, she cant hire anybody new to replace matty on tour, could be like 2005, very boring. oh yeah. her songs are not autobiographical, and she has said that many times. for the record, she was never raped.

Comment by magicmonkey

Someone should abduct her daughter, imo.

Comment by Dom Passantino

touché Dom, haha. I think our argument was slightly more considerate.

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

I’m very sorry that the lunatic fringe showed up to vociferously defend an album they haven’t heard yet. I think this review was fair and balanced. I agree that a bit of cohesion from Ms. Amos would be really nice. The best albums coming out are cohesive works rather than extended playlists, and just because iPods exist does not mean that musicians should not view an album as a portfolio of sorts. An artist would not paint a series of landscapes and then throw abstract portraiture in there.

I have been a fan a long time, and unfortunately, saying anything remotely negative about Ms. Amos makes you Public Enemy #1 to the dumber and crazier portion of her fanbase. Because she has dumbed her music down for them, so goes the base. I’m very glad that there are fans out there still willing to hold her up to the same standards they would use to judge other musicians.

Comment by icicleicicle

How can you laugh at, about, with, that statement?

*loses respect instantly for these two Wears The Trousers magazine reviewers and the Dom Passantino dude*

Comment by Layla

Layla, you misunderstand. I was laughing at the context of the quote, which has four years’ history behind it. Dom and I had a little disagreement about his infamous Beekeeper review.

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

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Great to see this generating so much comment already. (With a couple of exceptions, obviously… ) Just wanted to address a few points:

We tried to be firm-but-fair on the album and create a review that reflected both of our points of view on it, which inevitably differ somewhat.

In response to Gio, I think it’s perfectly valid and fair to assess any new album in the context of an artist’s body of work, especially when that body of work is as vast and interesting and diverse as Tori’s. I don’t think it would be either worthwhile or possible to talk about this album without reference to her past music, and the way AATS relates to it. The new developments in production and sound are exciting and we certainly aren’t suggesting that she only revert to her earlier way of going about things. One of the greatest things about her work is the sheer variety of styles she can draw on and subvert. It’s just that some of those styles feel a bit strained and awkward here, not fully achieved.

In terms of our/your comments about the length of the album, and its stylistic diversity, I guess these kinds of debates have been going on since the release of The White Album. But one of the things that I admire about Tori’s work is its insistence that the album-as-art-form isn’t dead and her commitment to producing records that offer a real, weighty experience for the listener. This is what her best albums provide: they’re antidotes to iTunes culture. But, with AATS, the amount of songs begins to feel like a minus rather than a plus, working against the overall meaning of the album rather than in its favour. For once, I think less really would be more here, resulting in a tighter, more focused record.

As for ADP, it is, in my view, a stronger work than AATS overall. Unlike a lot of fans, I loved the persona concept and found it to be a really fascinating and inspiring exploration of what you can do with your identity, brilliantly elaborated by the blogs and the live shows. The segues and transitions between songs strike me as dynamic, challenging and meaningful on that album; and sequencing has always been one of Tori’s great skills. Conceptually, lyrically and musically it holds up for me. AATS is the first album of hers that I’ve found to be somewhat awkward and clumsy in its transitions, unevenly paced and structured.

But, as we hoped to emphasise, there is incredible, vital work here, and songs like “Give”, “Welcome To England”, “Curtain Call”, “Abnormally Attracted To Sin”, and “Lady In Blue” are as compelling and relevant and exciting as anything she’s every done. Good luck to those who enjoy the likes of “Not Dying Today” and “500 Miles” as well; we happen to think that the album would have been stronger without them. Of course it’s inevitable and healthy that people don’t agree on what the “best” songs are; this surely goes without saying. An Amos album is always an experience, and I’m especially curious to see what the “visualettes” do for the songs, not to mention where she takes the record live.

Comment by AlexR

f*ck me…
both are ridiculous!
wakes in a good mood the next time, please.

Comment by Victor

Oh bloody hell it’s just Tori Amos, anyone would think this that you bitches are discussing an artist that actually matters like Coldplay or Amy Winehouse. At least from the show tuney style it demonstrates she would make a good fag-hag which is of course all that really matters, I mean look at what it’s done for Courtney Love, FAR more useful as a gay-glove-puppet, ‘Hi Tori….this is Rufus here… wanna go out?’YESIDOTHANKYOU!

Comment by mavis grey

I’ve been a massive Tori fan from the beginning and am quite protective over her :) However, this is a fair and well written review… you can’t please everybody! Well done guys x

Comment by Mich

couldnt agree more with mavis grey above. tori’s all political agenda now. anti-straight male, pro-gay( scum like perez hilton introduced tori at sxsw!?, only because he’s gayer than michael jackson. artists that matter: pj harvey, bjork, the yeay yeah yeahs. tori is soooo done you can put the fork in. and rainn and soar? they should NOT be allowed to set up their booths at tori shows. 1 in 3 raped?? yea friggin wrong.now tori preaches to 16 year old girls in interviews, lol. tori, they arent listening.

Comment by magicmonkey

Magicmonkey…you’re obsessed with Tori and all of your negativity truly reflects upon yourself. Find a new hobby and get some professional help.

I can’t wait to hear AATS and see Tori on tour. She is such a great artist and I love the fact that she keeps producing relevant art/music.

Comment by Me

Dude, YOU’RE the joke! EVERYONE knows what a fuck-tard you are. Get a life and stop bothering all of us with your pathetic comments. NO ONE CARES and NO ONE is listening…except you. Buzz off and die, please.

Comment by Adam

oh yea, almost forgot, i got ‘banned’ from atforumz.com for criticizing tori, BUT 90 percent on there are doing the same thing, lol.

Comment by magicmonkey

I’ll bet your mother is doing the same thing. Fag!

Comment by Adam

Artists that matter being Coldplay and Amy Winehouse??


I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!

Tori is as relevant today as she ever was. The only ‘issue’ being her perspective on how construct a body of work has got a little tangled up. But I agree completely with this review in that the last few Tori albums have all had some great material on them, that have just got a bit watered down due to be stuffed next to so much that ends up sounding like ‘filler’ in comparason.

People have totally missed the point of this very fair review. He’s praised what rightfully (and for the majority of the album) deserves to be praised. But highlighted it’s obvious flaws, and issues that even the most rabid of Toriphiles can plainly see… if they just lowered their rose-tinted glasses for one minute.

She’s prone to mistakes like all artists. Big deal. But a 3 star Tori Amos album is still in a league above pretty much most other contemporay female artists albums, or most other ‘pop’ albums for that matter.

Comment by TheSpaceman

yea, amy winehouse, the heroin crack drunk. dont be a fan of her guys, she’ll probably be dead soon. tori? old hat,get the new pj.

Comment by magicmonkey

Wow…MagicMonkey (sounds very mature). You say you don’t like Tori anymore but I see your comments concerning Tori all over the internet. Just look above and you’ve commented more than once (about I don’t know what?). I believe you’re obsessed with Tori and you need to seek professional help. Please! If you don’t like Tori, then stop seeking her out. You sound crazed and convinced that she’s all of these bad things to you, yet you don’t even know her personally. As if you know her ego, her personal experiences, why she makes decisions, etc.

Maybe you need a hug and told that everything is going to be ok? It could be possible that you don’t have a job or friends…and loads of free time…but please stop obsessing over Tori. Obsess over PJ Harvey, Bjork, or the YYYs.

Thank you.

Comment by Me

uh actuakky, the peple that are obseesed over tori are her stalkers, dor, maria, john, matt, etc who are RIGHT now in london to see tori, and who went to sxsw, for,,,, can ya guess? tori. im afraid its these folks who lie and CLAIM to have jobs, yet travel 8-10 months out of the year, mostly to see tori natch. you can follow THEM on twitter all year if you so desire to get into the heads of professional stalkers, with no lives. or jobs. as far as tori’s ego is concerned, its HUGE thats why she does m&g’s. ego strokes.

Comment by magicmonkey

i just wanted to make a shout out to old mikewhy! still infantilized, hanging out at disneyland! hey, i understand, better to ride coasters than go see tori anymore. but, still, very childish and pathetic for old man in his forties.

Comment by magicmonkey

leave mikewhy alone! he rocks…

Comment by Mich

Actually, flatulent monkey, aren’t you in your forties…or fifties, even?! I think pathetic is trolling around websites and posting really stupid, immature comments over and over and OVER AND OVER again!! THAT sounds pathetic for an old man, OLD MAN! Get a life. It’s about time.

Comment by Adam

@ Wears the Trousers reviewer
Oh, I see… thanks for clearing that up! :-)

Comment by Layla

The new single is so entirely bland and transparent as to leave nothing to look for and find in it and nothing to hope for the album. I don’t think Tori’s inspired lately, but that she’s so used to feeling inspired that she doesn’t recognize it when she’s really not. It’s time to start holding back when the results are less than interesting. Great review. It’s what I suspected from the snippets I’ve heard, and it’s great to know that even some folk who understand Amos pretty thoroughly can also see when she’s faltering. I’m not hallucinating after all.

Comment by Coke

Thanks for the honest review.

I cannot wait to hear the entire album. I am happy that Tori is still creating new art/music.

Comment by Me

Very bad journalism!!!!! Riddled with prejudice and bias. Just describe the f***ing album. Since when do we need to read the reviewers INTERPRETATIONS of an artist like Tori’s songs? I’ll make up my own f***ing mind about what the songs are about thanks.

But I’ll bet the reviewers will follow her around on tour this year, doing the Ugly Cry on the intro to SATY at every show. LOL!!!!!

Comment by eye

um, tori is not an artiste’. she’s a simple musician. she plays piano well, but anyone could, if started at age 2.

ever since some media hack back in the 60’s called any twit who could strum a guitar an artiste’. haha

Comment by magicmonkey

You’re correct that a person who can play an instrument well is a musician. But a person who can reach people through their music is an artist. This is what makes Tori amazing.

I don’t think just anyone could play the piano like that, even if they started at 2. It is somthing that comes from inside the person, you know, like talent.

Comment by Bre

oh yeah, for the record, dor dotson, maria carullo( lousypictures, on twitter) are not only totally, completely obsessed with tori, they also get for some reason, beats hell outta me, free front row tix from smitty AND they will be AT ALL OF TORI’S SHOWS THIS ENTIRE TOUR. me? ill do, maybe 2, now who is the obsessed salker again??

Comment by magicmonkey

Sounds like you’re a little jealous, old man.

Comment by Adam

and once again, since its TORI HERSELF who SEEMINGLY, if you are one of the morons who trust in testimimonials from crazy ladies) made her life public. so its fair game. sorry. start thinking , poster ‘me’ ( real mature)

Comment by magicmonkey

Hi Magicmonkey…

Fair game…come on what are you the Co$? Just stop and re-read your posts and you’ll see what I am talking about.

Keep proving me right, everyone can see through your nonsense. You don’t know Tori personally so therefore your opinions don’t matter. You’re attacking her and attacking other people with your baseless, negative and horrible English. Are you truly mad at Tori or are you mad at the fact that you can’t travel the globe to see her and attend her shows in the front row? Who cares if people have the means to do this?

You’re going to 2 shows, really? Please stop, calm down and own that you’re not making any sense. Everything is going to be ok. I want to give you a hug so badly!

Also, I don’t believe that Tori having meet and greets equates to Tori having an inflated ego. In ’96, I met Tori (after a two hour concert) outside of the Alte Oper and she made a point to stop and speak with each and everyone one of us that had waited for her. She was probably tired and was ready to go…but she still took the time to meet with us. I think that speaks volumes of her character.

So anyway magicmonkey, seek help, I hope you find another outlet for your angry negative energy.

Comment by Me

well, i could be choking the ‘life’ out of you! you don’t know me dummy. and once again, i don’t see why the real stalkers, dor, maria, aren’t the ones called out for what they are, obsessed stalking fools. since, once again, they have attended 1000’s of tori shows and m&g’s. having said that, the good news is they are DESPISED in the tori community. can …you…understand..the hypocrisy there?

and yea, i might be going to 2 shows. thats all i went to in 2007. you are a moron, and you are pals with the regs. you have a poor choice in friends. i hope this post is clear enough for you to get. idjit that goes to 400shows= stalker in need of professional help. dude that goes to 2 shows= doesnt need help. capiche??? need more clarity, let me know, good friend of dor and maria

Comment by magicmonkey

i dont need your gay hug. and own up to the fact, you cant understand these very easy to undestand points. however, ive dumbed them down real well for you, read on, enjoy.

Comment by magicmonkey

and it’s recap time again. lesse, you say ‘i’m ‘obsessed’ with pj. hmmm well, ive only seen her once, and the yyy’s ? never seen em. i will say this though, p j is still relevant, tori is old and boring.

Comment by magicmonkey


You’re funny. I don’t know who Dor and Maria are…should I? Dude that constantly writes about Dor and Maria = jealous crazy magicmonkey. Capiche? What I do know is that you don’t make any sense…you talk all this Tori trash yet you go see in her concert. That is all kinds of crazy.

I think you truly love Tori. Magicmonkey loves Tori!

Comment by Me

This was such a bombastic throw down of $5 words, I couldn’t even finish this. This is an album review, not Masters thesis!

Comment by Amber

in closing, i hope you and your buds get a life, get help. get a job. get whatever. going to 1000’s of tori shows ===== nuts====. and tell dor and them they can stop lying about ‘working’ all the time. they are trust fund fatties. dor, who claims to be a vegan, weighs 300 pounds, thats noooooo vegan. once again, i hope these posts are easy for you to comprehend. i dumbed them wayyyyyyy down, and repeated my point ad nauseam. did…it…..work…?

Comment by magicmonkey

Again proving my point that you’re all kinds of crazy.

Comment by Me

tori’s new album sux = me insane! i get it now!

Comment by magicmonkey

anywho, back to the album review. it is spot on. like adp. it has a few decent tunes on it.

tori has to tour, she cannot give her cd’s away.

AND she’s got a good scam this time around, it’s called ”buy my album twice”, and i’m going to call her out on that as well.( no one else will)

last time it was the b.s ‘vip’ scam.

with, the regs, naturally sitting in much better seats they got for free, then the ‘vip’ seats peeps paid hundreds for, lol

Comment by magicmonkey

oh yes, since some of you don’t understand what i’m referring to( i kinda find that hard to believe, but..) i’m talking about dor dotson, and maria carullo. if you dont know them , once again, hard to believe, you will, because, they will be at EVERY north american, and european show! yea, i know it’s stunning, but unfortunately, true. for pics, go to: dor dotson on twitter. and for maria, ( lousy pictures, also, on twitter. also, myspace.com/ourhands for maria’s entire stalk blog schedule.

does everyone comprende’?? i hope so, if you cannot comprehend what i’m typing, you are fucking autistic with a dose of adhd thrown in.

Comment by magicmonkey


Comment by Me

nuts! new tori sux! one has to be crazy to think thusly!

Comment by magicmonkey

No. Just ignorant and insecure.

Comment by Bre

Why does campiness preclude “deep”? This seems to be a rather shallow point of criticism.

Songs don’t have to “go together” in order to make a comprehensive whole. Sometimes a contrast or clash is the whole point.

Police me has very relevant lyrics. Absurd? Yes, but that’s the point.

To me as a Wiccan, there is a clear concept that weaves through the album, making disparate songs resonate strongly, and making “Not dying today” sound logical as a follow-up to “Flavor”.

OK, 500 miles isn’t her best….but it’s just one song.

Comment by jabba

wiccan? craaazzy! no such thing as witches, lol. typical tori fan though. lost without meds.

Comment by magicmonkey

This magic monky asshole is a damn nut case. Can’t someone ban his IP address from posting or something?

Comment by Sage

haha! nope they cant, get fucked, lol

Comment by magicmonkey

[…] the album dead? I was reading a review of Tori Amos new album and the reviewer was none too happy about the songs on the album not having one cohesive sound, […]

Pingback by Is the album dead? « news, commentary and culture

i would have to say yes it is. as i previously mentioned in this thread, she can’t give away her cd’s anymore, thus the massive touring to keep her in the luxurious lifestyle she is accustomed to. she’ll NEVER bring in an outsider, say, a producer.

as mentioned before this thread got hijacked, i also do not like her attempt to sell her album twice. apparently, no one else seems to mind that.

will their be another ‘vip’ scam like in 2007? yes, probably.

but i won’t be party to that scam either.

good to see that matt will be touring with her though. don’t need to see another 2005 beekeeper solo tour.

Comment by magicmonkey

[…] mag in question was Wears The Trousers, and bizarrely enough is still going. Check out their recent Tori Amos review here. I was particularly enamoured of this comment one guy left… Someone should abduct her […]

Pingback by Glory days, in the wink of an abducted girl’s eye.. « Ich Lüge Bullets

ha, i love it! and great to see someone besides myself actually having the nerve to say and understanding that tori was never raped.

one big urban myth/lie.

kinda like ‘wmd’s’ in iraq, and jesus christ as a ‘god’.

good stuff, i left a comment’

Comment by magicmonkey

Thank you for writing such a great review! I have listened to Tori Amos for years and was beginning to feel embarrassed about it. I haven’t listened to an album since Strange Little Girls and not felt that it was overproduced and under-edited. The best thing that could happen to Tori Amos is for her studio to go broke, and for her to be recorded by Steve Albini. Piano, mic, and maybe some drums.

The argument excusing the meandering releases seems weak to me: being able to edit yourself is an integral part of being an artist, and songs like “Goodbye Pisces,” “Martha’s Foolish Ginger,” “Secret Spell” (“I wrote it on the treadmill”), and that weird “Posse” song on ADP FREAKED ME OUT and sometimes continue to haunt me by running through my head when I’m falling asleep.

I understand why her ego has gotten so big, but whenever I go back to Little Earthquakes, Boys for Pele, and From the Choirgirl Hotel I get kind of angry at the trip-hop New Age bullshit indulgences that have watered down the power of her music for the past decade. I think that the gimmicky feel of the 20 track “concept records” is the result of a confluence of factors: too much money, and a musician’s phobia of repeating herself. Anyone who has made a lot of money has earned for herself a lot of security; why would she risk that? I’ve noticed that a lot of famous artists, and women in particular, suffer from the latter (see PJ Harvey’s later records), and it usually gets blamed on the fact that they’ve had a baby–obviously untrue in Tori Amos’ case, considering SLG and Scarlet’s Walk were both much better than the albums that followed–or that “they’re too happy.”

The one point I disagree with in this review is that “Welcome To England” is a good song. The first time I heard it, I wanted to like it, and then I realized–if I heard this on the radio without knowing who wrote it, I would probably be laughing at it. But then, I thought the only song with any real feeling, that was more than a parody of Tori Amos, on ADP was “Code Red” (and maybe the two bonus tracks)–interestingly enough, the lyrics included “do this last one and I’ll grow me some wine.” I couldn’t help but think of that as the lady under the wig screaming, please let me retire to Napa!

After playing through the 30 second clips, I agree with the reviewers that “Give,” “Curtain Call”, “Abnormally Attracted To Sin”, and “Lady In Blue” sound the most promising, while “Not Dying Today” and “500 Miles” sound as if I will probably be skipping them altogether to avoid another “Goodbye Pisces.”

Comment by emme

awesome! i wonder, hmmm, if the posters on here who attacked me for mentioning tori’s humongous ego will attack you for doing the same? methinks,,, not.




Comment by magicmonkey

Congrats on the exclusive Alan!

As for the review, I respect your word. You are, as you put it, an Amosian Scholar. As for me, I am a little excited about what I have heard. I suppose I will wait and see.

Just wanted to write congratulations!


Comment by Aaron

hey Aaron! Long time no hear from. Not sure I would ever describe myself as an Amosian scholar but thanks for the props. I hope you’ll like AATS, it really does have some excellent songs. Write me when you’ve heard it; interested to hear your thoughts. A.

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

I think anyone who gets their name on Undented.com could use the title Amosian Scholar.

I will let you know indeed!

Comment by Aaron


Comment by magicmonkey

Eh, I don’t find this review unfair or biased in any way. I’m a long-time Tori fan (you know the type; gets all the albums, downloads the web exclusives, hunts down obscure b-sides) but this review reflects what I’ve thought about her for the past three albums or so. She needs an editor, her albums would be much stronger if she cut out the chaff. Less is sometimes more.

Come on people, you can like and support an artist without thinking they’re perfect and can do no wrong and you don’t need to attack someone for expressing an opinion contrary to your own. Tori’s a big girl now, I’m sure she can take it.

Comment by Laura

Thanks. I completely agree with your comment and the above comments that support this very insightful opinion.

Comment by Bre

omg. i dont believe this. dor dotson, supertrustfunder and tori stalker exraordinaire recent tweet says: leaving london tonight, BACK IN 9 DAYS! no no way. and peeps call me crazy?! lol

2 TRIPS TO LONDON FROM N.Y TO SEE ONE CONCERT!? i would freak out with joy if THAT one got canceled too! lol, damn, how much of daddy’s loot does this nutter have?

don’t forget, i’m the crazy one, too funny

Comment by magicmonkey

magic m. I have a question for you. I promise not to judge you
and come back here and leave a snarky comment.
Do you feel sports fans who buy season tickets, go to all the games, and
hang out in the VIP lounges with the players are stalkers? Or are they
rich people enjoying thier wealth? These folks also travel to play-off games,
and expensive championship games too. BTW I have never seen Tori in concert, I
just became a fan last year after I got Comic Book Tattoo. Just curious about your thoughts on this.

Comment by NewFan

hi there! to answer your question, no no i don’t. what i have an issue with is that I’VE been labeled ‘stalker’ not just of tori, but of strangers ive either never met, or met once! so, hey i can blast back, why not? esp at real stalkers. flying to london twice just to see a tori concert?? really?

Comment by magicmonkey

Hey thanks for answering. I’m clear now on your posts & where you are coming from. :)

Comment by NewFan

[…] Auch wenn Tori Amos hier ihre bereits mehrfach abgeschrittenen Pfade erneut durchläuft, manche Dinge gehören einfach auf A-Rotation. Ob das auch für ihre Musik gilt? Kritik zur Platte gibt es hier. […]

Pingback by Sünde sei mit uns « Maedchenmannschaft

How do two people write one review? One review with one consistent opinion? That seems dishonest to me… I had high hopes for this Tori album –which keep falling with each new review I read.

Comment by boo

There’s nothing dishonest about it. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

I did not like this album much. Individual songs were OK. I dont like it enough to spring the cash for it. A

Comment by ghg

[…] elegant Savoy Theatre to promote her new album Abnormally Attracted To Sin (out on Monday [review]), she wasn’t talking about the flawless version of ‘Crucify’ she’d just […]

Pingback by tori amos: live at the savoy theatre 11/05/09 « wears the trousers magazine

Tori’s moment is over. She hasn’t put out a good album in ages, and she’s become a joke. Where she was once quirky and vulnerable and beautiful, she’s arrogant and vain. Obviously, artists are going to grow and experiment, but Tori is a once-talented woman who squandered everything to become what the New York Times calls “a drag queen version of herself.” She has nothing to say. She’s got money coming out of her ears, and sycophantic fans who worship her and turn a blind eye to her hubris and mediocrity. She used to be wonderful. She isn’t anymore. The plastic surgery isn’t helping either. She’s self-indulgent, hypocritical, and her views on life are laughable. This album sounds ridiculous, and the “visualettes” (*barf*) are really just vanity productions–Tori standing around like a space elf looking at some far-off horizon. She’s got nothing left to say, but she loves herself too much to stop talking.

Comment by Wayne

awesome! i couldnt agree more! right now, im posting as rip_tori on toriamos.com. go there, hit forums, then go to tori discussion. haha, you will love it

Comment by magicmonkey

She’s a composer. That’s what she does for a living. So she still makes music because people still want to buy it. She’s in the industry, so she produces material like the visualettes to give to her fans something to look at, the same as all the other artists do in fashion and music magazines and on T.V. This doesn’t make her vain. This makes her a part of the market.

I admit, as a Tori consumer, I enjoy watching her walk around in foreign lands in really elaborate dresses with close-up shots of her shoes. I think it’s amusing that she’s showing us different sides of herself as if she has split into like eight other personalities. I’m also mature enough to understand a performance when I see one, and it’s just as exciting because everything in art helps to show us who we are.

As for her views on life, they’re simplistic because that’s what the world needs. A simpler way to understand that we all have been hypocritical, self-indulgent, and jaded by the world. That it would be better to let go of fear and choose love.
Perhaps it’s too simple for people to understand.

I agree that her last five albums are very different than what we were used to, and sometimes disappointing based on my expectations. But I’ve discovered some great things from each of them, and it lets me know a little bit about where she is in life. People go through phases, changes, in order to find themselves. But at least they’re doing it, and they’re not afraid to show it.

Comment by Bre

I do think you’re joke about Tori looking like a space elf with far-away eyes is pretty funny, ’cause it’s pretty true!

Comment by Bre

oops–“your” joke, I mean.

Comment by Bre

Wayne May’s comment very accurate, sad to say. I still like her but Oh God, he’s right!

Comment by karen

Ok Alan.

So far, I am up to ‘Flavor’, as I have a hard time getting past tracks that I like. But my initial reaction is that it is a return to form. I am really enjoying this record; it reminds me of listening to her in my undergraduate years, which involved a lot of LSD and significant moments. I even liked “Not Dying Today” right off the bat; a sonically strange bird in the Tori universe.

I will write more later when I get to the rest.

P.S. The guy who wrote above me is a complete tool. Devil! Why would I say that? I don’t know him. But I bet I am right.

Comment by Aaron

It’s nice to actually see someone giving constructive criticism. We don’t have to defend the album with such ferocity – if it were really that great, there would be no need. I do like some of the songs, but I have to admit, part of the marketing stance of this album was that people are falling on hard times, both financially and spiritually. With the iTunes/Ticketmaster ticket pre-sale scam going on in both the US and the UK, we need to ask ourselves if something got lost in the translation between Tori and her production crew. I won’t even call it selling out — but I will say that when you put such a project in the hands of so many who are so obviously uninterested in the well-being of the so-called “general public”, then it’s really not her work anymore. It’s pretty tragic. Anyway, thanks for being honest and writing a decent argument

Comment by Jo

Wasn’t overly wrapped in this album…the sound is kinda synthesised and kinda confused as to whether it wanted to be classical or dance style…enjoyed opthelia and some of the more classical style songs on the album..but im a fan of tori’s old style of classical piano…tori is an amazing person regardless.

Comment by Emma

Magic Monkey, I’m just curious. How do you know Tori was never raped?

Comment by Bre

[…] the last 3 months. Catch up on any you missed. It’s too hot to work anyway. 01 Tori Amos – Abnormally Attracted To Sin [Alan Pedder/Alex Ramon, posted on 20/4] 02 Cheyenne Mize & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy […]

Pingback by Q2: 50 most read reviews « wears the trousers magazine

[…] set was the live debut of ‘Ophelia’ from her recent album Abnormally Attracted To Sin [review]. Leaving drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Jon Evans on the tour bus, Tori turned in an […]

Pingback by free music friday: tori amos « wears the trousers magazine

I agree with the statement that she hasn’t put out a cohesive album in a while. When she releases an album I have mixed feelings because I know it’s never going to be a Boys For Pele. I think she needs to move on from talking about the church. 17 years later we don’t give a shit because you keep sayin’ the same damn thing! When I first heard her music I thought she would be an artist that would continue to evolve her sound and lyrics, but I think she has kinda flatlined :/

Comment by werd999

I have always felt that Tori’s talent is as a live performer, and that her studio recordings do not do her justice. I just saw her in concert last night, Aug 17th, for the 3rd time. She continues to astound, amaze and blow away most other performers out there. As one of her more mature fans (I am two years older than Tori, who is 47), I have always honored her inborn musical talent apart from the CDs and pop-hoopla. A musician who is pushin’ 50 & has her own recording studio on her property can do anything she wants, and doesn’t have to answer to an “editor” or a producer if she doesn’t want to. Give us a break. If you had YOUR own studio, and boatloads of talent, you’d do the same thing. I agree, the vignettes that came with “Abnormally…” are amateurish and poor-quality. But other than that, I think Tori is still one of the most talented musicians we have in our generation and we should be proud that she can actually play an instrument and write melodies and lyrics. Bon Jovi has a song called “Last Man Standing”. Tori is in that same category — she writes and performs her own, very good, music. Get over yourselves! Listen to “Abnormally…” again. It grows on ya. I didn’t like ADP either, at first, but it grew on me. The live versions of the songs are miles above the studio versions anyway, and that’s what counts — her concert performances are second to none.

Comment by k2

Not sure how you got the impression we are not strong advocates for Tori as one of the most important musicians of our generation. She undoubtedly is, and she never fails to deliver on stage. Perhaps you should look around the site and see how many times we have praised her to the skies.

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

It took two people to write this nonsense?

Comment by Robert Schrader

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