5.29.2009

Tori Amos, ABNORMALLY ATTRACTED TO SIN


Tori Amos, the mistress of the weird and the personal, brings an experimental voice and unusual imagery to her new album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin. Sometimes with Tori, simpler is better.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin has Tori assuming multiple female personalities, from the slightly menacing opening "Give" ("Do I have regrets?/Well, not yet") to a mother commiserating with another in "Maybe California" to the final femme fatale of "Lady in Blue." Her singers (characters?) are strong, vulnerable, happy, sexy, punishing, and worried.

While Tori's persona shifts all over, so do her musical stylings. Sometimes Tori's voice is simple and straightforward, while other times it bounces up and down like Kate Bush. The song styles are also everywhere: here slow and synthesizer-covered, there simpler.

Some artists can move from style to style effortlessly, but Abnormally Attracted to Sin is a very hit-and-miss effort. Tori only lets her playful side out on two songs -- "Not Dying Today" and "Mary Jane" -- and her beautiful piano playing is often overwhelmed by the electronic music added to every song. While some songs are catchy, and a few are powerful, many just feel overdone and weak (like the title track).

I'd love to hear Tori Amos playing some of the songs off her new album on tour, just her and a piano and a microphone. As it is, Abnormally Attracted to Sin is a mixed release from this skilled musician.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch



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