The music of Tori Amos has always been innovative, provocative and unusual, to say the least. From the raw emotion and stripped down production of her early albums to the epic scope and grand, operatic sound of her latest works, her music continues to be challenging; dealing with themes such as female subjugation, rape, prostitution and emotional abuse, the glorious noise may have changed but the lady herself is not to be subdued.
Amos’ move away from ‘girl-at-a-piano’ towards a more ‘produced’ sound in the early 2000s proved to be unpopular with some fans, who resented the feeling that she was veering towards a more standard, sanitized pop sound. But the focus on production combined with Amos’ pet themes seems to have found a balance if her latest works are anything to go by. Last year’s Night Of Hunters, commissioned by classical label Deutsche Grammophon, featured re-workings of classical pieces into a modern setting to form a ‘song cycle’ that told the story of a break-up. The lush orchestration served the original music and the modern interpretations to great effect, and Amos has chosen to stick with this sound for her latest work, ‘Gold Dust’.
‘Gold Dust’ will feature thirteen songs from Amos’ back catalogue, re-imagined by Amos and long-time collaborator John Philip Shenale, and recorded with backing from the Metropole Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley.
Amos says “My relationship with all of these songs has changed over the years and they have changed my life. So it wasn’t just about capturing the past, it was about realizing that the songs had a new narrative now – 10 or 20 years later than they did when I originally recorded them.”
The first taste of the new album is the release of the video for ‘Flavor’, which originally appeared on 2009’s Abnormally Attracted To Sin. Asking ‘What does it look like? This orbitall ball, from the fringes of the milky way’, Amos seems to be looking for the answer in many corners of New York City – and the answer seems to be that there is no single way to interpret the world around you. The characters she comes across are a mix of gender, age, sexuality, race and class. Casting herself as a kind of spirit-guide, with the ability to weave in and out of the lives of various human beings, Amos gets to sport a charming array of costumes (come on guys, we are also a fashion magazine after all); a stunning black leather trench and patterned tights combo; a glitzy blazer of deep red; a high-necked, floor length nude coloured gown with matching cape; an Abigails-party meets Helen of Troy red and black maxi-dress; and Amos’ take on biker chick chic with a sequin black jacket and leather leggings.
It’s quite a journey, musically and visually.
Check out the video for ‘Flavor’ below and see for yourself. ‘Gold Dust‘ is released worldwide in October.
Thomas Dearnley-Davison is Spindle’s Canadian Correspondent. You can follow his insane trans-Atlantic ramblings on Twitter @such_doubts
Image by toricollectibles.blogspot.com