Comforting yet frustrating

Tori Amos: Scarlet’s Walk (Epic)

Brianna Riplinger

>Scarlet’s Walk is comfortingly and frustratingly Tori Amos. She is still effectively translating the swirling melodies in her head into songs that millions of her devoted fans worship and ascribe their own meanings to, like all great songs usually allow. However, more than any of her previous albums, this collection is a struggle to read lyrically. Extremely stream-of-consciousness, her theme is lost among the confusing words that she weaves together.

Scarlet’s Walk is supposed to be a “sonic novel,” based on the premise that all of the songs are inspired by Amos’ last North American tour. There is even a map in the liner notes, tracing her journey, and a key that links locations in states with song titles – Minnesota marks the trail for the lugubrious “Strange.”

What works, as always, is Amos’ glorious vocals. They stretch and twist homely words such as “girl” and “learn” to sound as though she has an accent all her own. More than a mere a collection of theatrical affectation, Amos’s performance here is genuinely in her own lilting, ethereal and wonderfully sensual world. Hopefully, she’s capable of taking reign of her words to create a more coherent world on her next work.