Artist: "Tori Amos"
Album: "Midwinter Graces"
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Universal Republic Records

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 12/16/2009

Review: I'm going to check my penis at the door for a moment, and inform you that I love Tori Amos. I think her music is brilliant--she's a true storyteller songwriter, even if her lyrics sometimes take the train straight to Crazytown and don't make all that much sense. Still, she's great at creating vivid little scenes in her lyrics, her music is often melodically beautiful, she has a great voice, and she's a very talented pianist (the fact that she's extremely attractive doesn't hurt either). New stuff, old stuff, I like all of her work.

I am also going to tell you that I, for the most part, hate Christmas music. The same tired songs over and over, year after year, rehashed in boring form by new artists who do nothing original with their interpretation--it all gets sickeningly old after a while. I truly enjoyed some of the songs when I was younger, and I suppose I still do like the songs themselves for the most part, but it's the polished, packaged, corporate performances that you hear every time you set foot outside your house throughout December that fill me with an odd combination of boredom and anxiety--I just can't stand it.

So I was intrigued when I heard that such a unique songwriter as Tori Amos was tackling a holiday album, and I was pleased to learn that she was taking a lot of traditional songs and changing them up a bit, altering the lyrics and taking out some of the specific religious references to make them more inclusive, leaving behind the trappings of Christianity but keeping the spirit of the songs (good will towards men and all that) intact.

And I have to say, it's not as strong as Tori's original work (though the album does include a couple original songs), but it's also stronger than the typical holiday music garbage you hear over the speakers at every store and restaurant known to man this time of year. The dilution of the one ingredient lends strength to the other, and the mixed result is not entirely unpleasant. She takes elements from various holiday songs and weaves them together until what you end up with is certainly recognizable from the original, but new enough that it sounds both nostalgic and fresh to my ears at the same time.

Fans of Tori's older, more stripped down work (though anyone who thinks she was ever just a girl with a piano wasn't paying enough attention) will find a lot to like here, as it sounds more like her first two albums in terms of production and arrangement. People who find Tori's lyrics to be too puzzling to get drawn into her music will likely find this her most accessible work to date.

And of course, I can't call this review complete without pointing out the godawful, hideously ugly cover art that looks like a rushed, clumsy photoshop job. Hell, I could probably do a better photoshop job than that. Don't judge this one by the cover.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Basement Monkey
Dec 16th, 2009, 08:44 PM
I love Tori Amos I have been a fan for years, but yea that cover is horrible I took the CD out and tossed the case into my closet never to see the light of day again
filthiest soap dish
Dec 16th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Strange blob from beyond
Dec 17th, 2009, 01:47 AM
I agree, its a horrible cover. Strange thing though. I love Tori Amos but my missus hates her with a passion.
Dec 17th, 2009, 02:00 PM
I'd hate to be the guy putting all the penises away.