Sound — 9
Tori Amos' fourth solo album, "From the choirgirl hotel", is probably her most intimate and emotional album to date. Ok, "Little earthquakes" was such a moving record, and "Boys for Pele" contained some gems too (Hey Jupiter, such a sublime song), but the really great ones are here, in this album. Tori had suffered a miscarriage and she was taking a long rest when she started writing the songs for the album. For the first time in her career, she openly embraced electronica and recorded some tracks playing with a live band. That's why the album sounds so powerful and inmediate. "Spark" and "Jackie's strenght" are faboulous classical ballads; you will probably be pleased of hearing Tori flirting with trip hop ("Cruel", "Hotel") and dance-rock ("Raspberry swirl"). But the best song in the album is "Black Dove/January", an epic ballad with rock guitars and dynamite choruses. She'll never compose such a greatness again.
Lyrics — 9
Ok, you can't always take Tori seriously. Specially talking about her lyrics. She has an astonishing ability to create fantastic lines; it's impossible to know what the hell is she talking about, but, whatever it is, sounds good. Just try with "Raspberry swirl" or "Black Dove" and you'll know what I mean. Anyway, there's a deep story behind some of her hieroglyhics: "Northern Lad" hides a frustrating love's-gone-tale (her best ever line: "Girls, you've got to know when it's time to turn the page, when you're only wet because of the rain"), and "Playboy Mommy" refers to her tragic miscarriage.
Overall Impression — 9
Some people felt disappointed when this album was launched because they were used to Tori's complicated piano playing, something of which "From The Choirgirl Hotel" lacks. But if you listen carefully, you'll discover that Tori sounds better in her new "electronica" dress. Tori was really daring using that kind of electro arrangements when electronica wasn't yet familiar to everybody. I think this is by far her best album.