Where To Start With… Tori Amos
Next week, Tori Amos, a woman who put a very unique spin on the singer-songwriter genre when she first emerged in the early 1990s, releases her 14th studio album Unrepentant Geraldines.
After a spell writing her musical The Light Princess and a string of albums that have seen her creating orchestral re-recordings of songs from her catalogue, Unrepentant Geraldines marks a return to more conventional, pop and rock based songwriting for the 50-year old singer.
Thing is, with 14 albums out there, it's hard to know where to start. So, if you're new to the weird and wonderful world of Tori Amos, then here are five starting points…
If you imagine Amos to be a polite lounge singer, with purely refined sensibilities, you’d be very very wrong. This gentle, lilting piano ballad is vicious and biting in its lyrics, mixing vulgar wordplay with glacial vocals. You will not her lyrics like "I want to smash the faces. Of those beautiful boys. Those Christian boys. So you can make me cum" on an Emeli Sande record…
Taken from Amos's 1994 album Under The Pink , this is as pop as she gets, with the big, falsetto chorus and a jaunty piano line, but with some lyrics that are just as weird as 'Precious Things'
Of all of Tori Amos's tracks, this is one you'll most likely have heard. The original version of this is a vaudeville ballad, with a rolling piano line and some very juicy lyrics. But, when it was remixed by Dutch DJ Armand van Helden, it took on a new life, even hitting the Number One spot in the UK singles chart and giving Amos an unlikely dancefloor filler.
During the early noughties, Amos went through a period of creating grand concept records and Scarlet's Walk is the best of them. The 18-track concept album chronicles the cross-country travels of Scarlet, a character loosely based on Amos's own experiences. It's quiet and gentle and very affecting.
This appears on her 2009 record Abnormally Attracted to Sin and is Amos at her most personal, detailing her decision to relocate from England to live with husband Mark Hawle. It's sunny and a strange mixture of gentle electro pop and baroque arrangement.
Tori Amos's new album Unrepentant Geraldines will be released on May 12th and is available for pre-order in hmv stores now. You can check out the rest of her back catalogue in our digital store now.