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From the Choirgirl Hotel

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From the Choirgirl Hotel + Boys for Pele
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0000062S6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,182 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Spark
2. Cruel
3. Black-Dove (January)
4. Raspberry Swirl
5. Jackie's Strength
6. i i e e e
7. Liquid Diamonds
8. She's Your Cocaine
9. Northern Lad
10. Hotel
11. Playboy Mommy
12. Pandora's Aquarium

Product Description


Some talking points for parents of teenage Amos fans: ... note Amos's accomplished musicianship, her years of classical training, her soaring soprano, the complex structure of her songs. No need to mention that you find her music repetitive, boring and in dire need of a backbeat.... The more you pretend to like this album, the less your kids will want to listen to it. -- People


For Tori Amos, sex can be a weapon, a spiritual offering, or an act of protest. It's certainly been the singer/pianist's big subject since her 1989 debut Little Earthquakes. But while her earliest compositions tried to punch every emotional hot button at once and came off sounding turgid and overblown, her new album packs a greater punch by toning down mock-symphonic excess in favour of stark, haunting tracks that contain veiled mysteries. Love cuts both ways on Choirgirl. Songs such as "She's Your Cocaine" and "Cruel" view relationships as vicious power plays, while the protagonists in "Playboy Mommy" and "Northern Lad" desperately seek salvation via emotional connection. Hypnotic, affecting, and frequently gorgeous, From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos's most accomplished album to date. --Marc Weingarten

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
On this album are four masterpieces, six really quite good songs, and two exercises in shrieking drudgery.
The opening track "Spark" is, quite simply, an accomplishment of epic proportion; and by the time it reaches its climax of thundering piano, its greatness and terrible beauty are staggering. The secret, mournful "Black Dove," with its opening, antique-phonograph instrumentals that sound like snow very quietly falling, seems to fluctuate between uneasy passion and passionate defiance. "Jackie's Strength" is a lovely, wistful evocation of lost childhood and adolescence, among many other things; and "Hotel"...with its theme of the surrealism of the passing of time, the sadness of the same, and the incredulity of survival... has some of the best lyrics Amos has ever penned; it finally collapses, in an exhausted throes, at its own feet, with the final lines: " You were wild...where are you now?...You were wild...King Solomon's Mines...Exit 75...I'm still alive...I'm still alive....I'm still alive."
By contrast, the way too obscure, frequently cacophonous and often annoyingly grating "iieee" and "Liquid Diamonds" are not worth the time it takes to sit through them. "She's Your Cocaine"...in some ways a companion piece to Boys For Pele's "Professional Widow"... is a witty, thoroughly enjoyable exercise in vengeance that flat out rocks ("is it true that devils end up like you? Something safe for the picture frame?" Amos sneers at one point.) "Northern Lad" is as exquisite as anything Amos has ever done, as is "Playboy Mommy," her heartbreaking eulogy to the daughter she miscarried. "Choirgirl" is definitely not Tori's best album, as far as overall ambience goes, but it certainly a very good one. However, that it is largely an experiment is obvious. In some ways Amos might be better off staying with the muses that seem to serve and mentor her, rather than courting discordant harpies from other realms.
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Format: Audio CD
It is difficult to say what album is the "best" that an artist has released. Taste is ultimately subjective, and what I may consider to be the "best" may end up on someone else's "worst" list. It is much easier to say that "From the Choirgirl Hotel" is my favorite among the albums that Tori Amos has released, and also that it is one of my favorite albums period. The question this raises is why do I like this album so much?
The sound. I've always loved the sound of Tori Amos, how she plays the piano and how she constructs her songs. The lyrics may not always be clear at first, but when you start to listen to what she is singing about, her phrases make more sense than if she would have stated the meaning clearly. One reason that I am such a big fan of this album is the song "Playboy Mommy". It is a song sung to the daughter which she miscarried (a theme that runs through the album), and it is so sad and bittersweet that it was hard for me to not resonate with it, even though I am a male. "Playboy Mommy" can speak to any loss, and it did for me. Other songs that have become favorites for me are "Liquid Diamonds" and "Raspberry Swirl". "Raspberry Swirl" could be a perfect dance song with its relentless, driving beat. It is not a song that one would typically think of with Tori, but it is one of her best. "Northern Lad" is another slower song, more piano based and it hints back at Tori's previous album ("Boys for Pele") with a line that feels like an admission of that albums imperfections "I guess you go too far when pianos try to be guitars". In the context of "Pele", the line makes sense, but it could also suggest that when you try to be something other than what you are, you are going too far and not being true to yourself.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is no exception in Tori Amos's stellar lineup of music from the whole of her career.
It is undoubtably one of the best of 1998, and, despite its being a response to the traumatic event of a miscarriage, it deals with sadness, loss, and grief in a very dreamy, whimsical, and ultimately strong-minded and forgiving way.
Songs like "Raspberry Swirl" and "She's Your Cocaine" add some amusement, and sly wit into the mix, with their stirring rhythms and outrageous lyrics.
Tempered with thoughful pieces such as "Jackie's Strength", "Black Dove", and the closer "Pandora's Aquarium", and stirring songs like "Cruel", "i i e e e", and "hotel", this album is a winning combination of exquisitely distilled emotions, with of course, soaring piano, intermingled with hypnotic electronica.
This Tori is yet another incarnation in Miss Amos's musical evolution; she has created a work that will enchant music-fans in boundless ages to come.
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Format: Audio CD
There are too little words to describe this album. It was my first experience with the works of Amos, and it is truly magical, from the haunting 'iiee' to the sexy 'Raspberry Swirl'.
What makes this album so amazing? The individuality. You may say it's just another rock/pop album, but you won't find another quite the same as 'Choirgirl'. Tori's range is amazing, she can sing the highest note with the greatest of ease and then just as easily sing a low note. Her sensuality throughout this record is so much more than any other pop artist. Amos doesn't shy away from controversial topics, whether it's lesbianism ('Raspberry Swirl') sexual domination ('She's Your Cocain') or her own miscarrage ('Playboy Mommy').
One might ask why I've only given 'Choirgirl' four stars. The reason is simple--Amos's breathy singing, shreiking, and moaning can be qite a turn off. There is no middle ground with Amos's music, you either love it completely or despise it. I myself know quite a few people on both sides.
However, there is no denying that this woman is talented. Thank you, Tori, for giving us all an album to cry to, to dance to, to love.
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