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Tori Amos - American Doll Posse CD (album) cover

AMERICAN DOLL POSSE

Tori Amos

 

Crossover Prog

2.77 | 38 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Three of a Tedious Trilogy

Ok, so the mid-2000 albums from Tori Amos were not an official trilogy but they sort of sounded like one. The three painfully long and somewhat uninspired albums can each be described by one line from my Beekeeper review: "another massive 80-minute behemoth filled with some mediocrity, some really good songs, and a few aural bacon strips." I'll stand by that line for Doll Posse as well. The premise this time is Tori writing songs as five different characters, the women you see on the front and back cover. Despite her impressive wig collection these characters feel pretty cheesy, contrived, like they wouldn't exist anywhere other than a Tori Amos photo shoot. Even Natalie Merchant's dress-up session for Ophelia felt less unnecessary, though not by much.

The music here is livelier than the comatose Scarlet's Walk and more diverse than Beekeeper, but the results are not much different. The album simply lacks the spark of her best work and so often sound arbitrary, by-the-numbers, forgettable. The length is a part of the problem though not entirely. Tori has proven she can issue a behemoth that holds the listener (the exotic Pele) but the last three albums have proven she should perhaps try something shorter than a film. There are some truly lovely tracks here such as "Bouncing Off Clouds" (wonderful pop) and "Father's Son" (really gorgeous melody). "Smokey Joe" has an ambitious dual-vocal that momentarily de-glazes my eyes. "Beauty of Speed" also manages a certain richness in the piano and harmony, but you will have to be patient as an alter boy to hear the goodies. The days of every track being spellbinding are but a memory. Even the painful, obligatory Bush-bashing doesn't sound any more original than a tired protest poster slogan. The guitar work on other albums could be quite inventive while here it is comprised of rather faceless power chords that feel hastily considered.

Certainly not horrible, the trilogy has its charms. The best tracks from these three releases would make one really good 50-minute album. But as they exist they are pretty much for her devoted fanbase. Casual fans would be best to stick with her 90s work. Lest anyone think I'm only willing to praise her "old stuff' I'm happy to report that her next album was a significant improvement over the previous three.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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