Sound — 8
Tori Amos' American Doll Posse picks up where her previous album, The Beekeeper, left off; with a largely poppy sound but with bags of quality and musical integrity. The album contains a broad mix of musical styles, from the country/rock and '80s pop of Big Wheel and Bouncing off Clouds to the string quartet and atmospheric soundscape of Programmable Soda and Smokey Joe. Tori Amos has always been a versatile artist and her albums never have that sameness that a lot of albums suffer from. And with 23 tracks, there's probably something for everyone. On the downside, Tori fans unfortunately won't find a China, Winter, a Jackie's Strength or a Hey Jupiter anywhere on this album. I guess Tori just doesn't feel like that these days.
Lyrics — 8
I always have trouble with lyrics. I don't really pay much attention to them. I think the days when lyrics told a story are pretty much over. I tend to focus more on the rhythm and melody produced by the vocals, and Tori is always very inventive in this department. That said, the lyrics of the opening track, Yo George, did make my heart sink. I thought, oh no not one of those albums where the rhythm and melody of the songs suffer because the singer is having to force awkward political statements into a limited space, see Roger Waters' Amused To Death or Tom Waits' Road To Peace.
Overall Impression — 8
After a short period of initial disappointment, this album really started to grow on me. There are some really great songs here and Smokey Joe is particularly wonderful. At 43, Tori Amos is clearly still enjoying making music and is still writing great songs. In these days when a lot of baands have trouble producing more than a couple of decent albums, Tori Amos is continuing to prove that she's the real deal; a genuine artist and not just a celebrity.