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Tori Amos - Under The Pink CD (album) cover

UNDER THE PINK

Tori Amos

 

Crossover Prog

3.10 | 64 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sophomore slump - the only weak 90s title

After the great success of her stunning debut album and the subsequent touring, Tori came back to the States with her dreams realized. Not only would there be a second album, but Tori already had fans so ravenous they nearly wouldn't let her off the stage after a show. She had crushed the naysayers at Peabody and the executives who laughed at her in Los Angeles. She was having the last laugh and she would be laughing for years. But for whatever reason, "Under the Pink" was a brief stumble. Tori must have read some bad reviews as she chose to defend it, saying she didn't want to repeat the "diary" of the first album. She claimed that "Earthquakes" was a diary while "Pink" was a painting requiring patient listening. She said "Earthquakes" was naked so for "Pink" she put on some clothes. But the problem with "Under the Pink" was not the lack of the first album's intimate diary confessions, the problem is that the music was uninspiring and was for the only time in the 90s one could charge....boring. It was a slump in my opinion but one that would not last long-at all.

Tori had returned to the States and wanted to record without any distractions, so she built a studio with Eric Rosse in Taos, New Mexico. Out in the middle of nowhere was the base of operation for Pink. The album sported three tracks which received wide radio play here in the Midwest, "God," "Past the Mission," and "Cornflake Girl." "God" found her taunting the creator for not the last time with the playful line "do you need a woman to look after you?" The very pop/rock track was stock and repetitive and like "Past the Mission" quickly became old with the repeated listening on radio. "Mission" was notable for including some rather toned-down but effective backing vocals by Trent Reznor. "Cornflake" fared better with a much livelier vocal and interesting structure. The other big winner in this set was the ode to masturbation "Icicle." The piano playing is simply beyond words here: intuitive, graceful, and so emotional. Fantastic song. But the rest of the tracks for the most part do not connect in any meaningful way. Most of it feels like very second-rate Tori to me. Sometimes I find the rhythm sections just plodding and completely standard rock, other times Tori's vocals lack the power/passion we're used to, and the rest of the time the compositions let her down. There were some lovely string arrangements introduced for the 10-minute closer "Yes, Anastasia," but still it's more notable for its length than anything particularly exciting.

While some critics agree with me, Tori's fans (and I count myself as one) did not share my assessment. Pink was a great success for Tori. TV appearances followed and the Pink "dinner parties" (as she calls her live shows) were sold out as rock's most devoted fans ate her alive. Cindy Palmano again handled Tori's photography and art direction to fantastic results. Her presentation of Amos is just wonderful.

As the tour was winding down, new "children" were beginning to creep into Tori's consciousness. What was around the corner was the wildest Tori yet and would continue the promise of the first album. For me, "Under the Pink" would simply become that "one I don't play much anymore." I can't recommend the album beyond her fan base even though it has a few decent tracks. Not horrible, just her "least good" of the 90s albums.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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