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Tori Amos—from the choirgirl hotel


Release info:

1998—Atlantic—83095-2

Availability:

wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Tori Amos—vocals, sample guitar, Böse, Kurzweil, mallett piano, melotron, carbon vox, melotron flute, weird sounds, wave

Guest artists:

Matt Chamberlain—drums, perc, marimba, sillies, hank and the amazing Echo Plex, big Rrock
Justin Meldal-Johnsen—bass
Steve Caton—acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin
Andy-Mental Wicked-Gray—programming
John Philip Shenale—string arrangement
The Sinfonia of London—strings
David Firman—conductor
George Porter Jnr—bass
Stewart Boyle—guitar
Willy Porter—guitars
Al Perkins—pedal steel

Produced by:

Tori Amos

Comments:

As for my rave review of the album, I'm on my second listen right now so I'm hardly ready to offer details, but overall I like it a lot (though a couple of the middle tracks, "Liquid Diamonds" and "She's Your Cocaine" strike me as being rather weak). My reaction to it is pretty much the as my reaction to Boys for Pele was: I disliked most of it the first time I played it, but on the second listen my reaction was utterly different. I guess when Tori does something new I need one listen to the entire CD to get used to the idea before I can really appreciate the new work. I had thought that hearing the new songs live would prepare me for the album (and they were *great* live), but the live arrangement of the new songs were much more straightforward than the effect-laden tracks on the CD so I really wasn't ready at all. Anyway, once I've lived with From the Choirgirl Hotel for a few days I'll post something with more details, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up loving this album more each time I listen to it.... though of course Little Earthquakes will still remain my favorite Tori album. (mcurry@io.com)

The full review is still percolating in my head, but I can say this right now: I absolutely love it. It didn't slam me against the wall like Boys for Pele, but that's not its purpose, and I wasn't expecting it to. The standout tracks are of course "Spark", plus "Cruel", "Jackie's Strength" and "Hotel", and in my opinion the best song on the album is "Liquid Diamonds". I think the only song I could ever imagine potentially skipping would be "Raspberry Swirl", but I positively disliked it when I first heard it and now I find it quite catchy, which is saying something. "She's Your Cocaine" sounds like a Beatles song, and I'm not convinced that's a good thing yet, but it's growing on me.
     I like this direction Tori's going in. The "band thing" works (and I can't believe people actually think that's a new thing for her), she's doing some cool things with sounds and textures, and her voice is as gorgeous as ever. This album is definitely going to lend itself to many, many listenings with new discoveries each time. Yay.
     I often joke that Tori could record herself reading the phone book and I'd buy it. Well, with this album I know that's definitely true. The direction her music has gone in isn't what I would have expected, and even more unexpected to me was how much I love it. Seeing the songs performed live with a full band only added to my appreciation of them—for instance, I despised "Raspberry Swirl" until I saw it live (though I still don't like "She's Your Cocaine" very much). She's a goddess. :) (meth@smoe.org)

I've still got the Hotel spinning happily in my CD player, and it's quite enjoyable, but although I've become quite used to the band sound by now, I find it still lacks that something in the songwriting. I'm starting to accept my not loving it as a fact, especially as I took to Boys for Pele (my favorite) and the earlier Tori albums very quickly. Ahh, it would be great to hear this stuff live.... Anyway, "Spark" and "Black-Dove" seem to have emerged as my favorites. (jsorva@niksula.hut.fi)

I was a bit concerned that this CD was too instantly likeable and might not have the staying power of Boys for Pele for me. But even though I liked it almost immediately, I have yet to tire of it. "Spark" and "Hotel" still amaze me every time I listen to them. And for some reason, the melody and layered background voices on "iieee" always sound to me like something Happy Rhodes would record.
     My favorites are "Spark," "Raspberry Swirl," "Jackie's Strength," and "Hotel." "Jackie's Strength" is just a perfect, classic Tori song. "Spark" also sounds very much like what we've come to expect from Tori, but adds just enough of the full band sound to make it seem somewhat fresh and different. Plus, it has a fabulous bridge. But I'm most surprised by how well "Raspberry Swirl" and "Hotel" work. Tori uses a heavily processed, synth heavy sound on both of these tracks and really succeeds in creating two of the most interesting tracks on the album. I love from the choirgirl hotel. But I have to be fair and not judge it against Boys for Pele. It's wonderful in its own way. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

ping! What he said. Under the Pink and Boys for Pele both had me sitting up wondering "What the hell was she THINKING?" on tracks like "Waitress" (which frankly scared me the first time) and "Professional Widow" (ditto).
     (and I still wonder what the hell she was thinking when I think of that friggin' grapefruit!)
     So far, I really love "Spark", "Black-Dove (January)", "Jackie's Strength", and "Playboy Mommy." The lyrics, overall, seem less obtuse than Tori's been writing lately (which is not to say that this is a straightforward album, but just...well...just think "Space Dog"). I must point out that "She's Your Cocaine" has one of the most fabulously bitchy lines I've heard in a song in I dunno how long: "You sign Prince of Darkness / try squire of dimness."
     from the choirgirl hotel was, I've decided, something of a disappointment. And I say that, despite getting it and thinking it was wonderful. The thing is, I barely played it this year. I know I listened to Under the Pink a lot more, and I might have listened to Little Earthquakes and Boys for Pele more often as well. And that just doesn't seem right when compared to an album which came out this year. Which makes me realize that from the choirgirl hotel just didn't do it for me the way the earlier albums did. Now, to be fair, late last week I pulled it out and listened to it a couple more times, and once again thought it was mostly wonderful. But that doesn't change the fact that it didn't sit in my CD player for any noticeable length of time. (burka@jeffrey.net)

I definitely like it better than Boys for Pele, though in my opinion it doesn't have Little Earthquakes's immediacy or Under the Pink's clarity. It's a big step from the aimless murk of its predecessor. (jzitt@humansystems.com)

Wonderful. I like this so much better than Boys for Pele. However, my favorite is still Little Earthquakes. (Matt.Bittner)

I like from the choirgirl hotel a LOT. In particular I really dig "Raspberry Swirl", with "Jackie's Strength" a close second, and pretty much all the rest of the album a close third. I may even have to go back and revisit Boys for Pele, which I got but never really got into. (stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu)

It's growing nicely on me after many spins. (paul2k@aol.com)

Just bought new Tori. I immediately like it better than Boys for Pele. May take a while to completely grow on me, but then Under The Pink did, too, and now I love it. "Spark" is instantly accessible. I especially like "January" and "Raspberry Swirl". (JavaHo@aol.com)

I have to admit, I was *very* disappointed with from the choirgirl hotel. There's not a single song on there that makes me want to repeat the track. There's not a song that really moves me. There's not a song I identify with. I guess my favorites are "Cruel" and "She's Your Cocaine," but, eh. I usually skip "Raspberry Swirl" (I *really* hate her little "let's go" at the beginning, that reminds me of those awful dance songs heard mostly in gay dance clubs, in which the only lyrics are "set me free" or "take me higher"), but I don't detest it as much as "Talula." from the choirgirl hotel was the only Tori album that I didn't play endlessly for at least a month when I first got it. I even like Y Kant Tori Read more than from the choirgirl hotel. (Plasterofstevie@aol.com)

from the choirgirl hotel just hasn't clicked with me. I put it in the car for a long-ish road trip, played it a couple of times but didn't feel the urge to keep going. Nothing much stands out for me. I like the power and drive of "Raspberry Swirl" (I know some people hate it) but nothing else jumps out. I really don't like "She's Your Cocaine" for some reason. The one resemblance I picked out was a bit of an echo back to Y Kant Tori Read, for some bizarre reason. (BridgesM@logica.com)

After Tori lost me with Boys for Pele, I refused to allow myself to get excited over From the Choirgirl Hotel this spring. But then it happened: there I was, parked in front of the tube, a Friday night, David Letterman show, and—BOOM—Tori is a guest and she played "Spark" and oh sweet Jesus I was back!! Back within her fold like a prodigal daughter. (loefflep@mis.finchcms.edu)

i almost didn't get it. but glad i did, it renewed my faith in her. now if she would only E-NUN-CI-ATE when she sings. I would be happy. PLUS the TYPOGRAPHY in the booklet is just horrid. someone should shoot the designer. I still like Little Earthquakes best then Under the Pink, then From the Choirgirl Hotel but i have to give it time to grow on me. i usually ignore that masturbatory Boys for Pele thing she released. *cough* (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I'm a bit ambiguous about this one. On one hand it's remarkable how she manages to remain fresh and move on without alienating too many of her fans. But I must admit I don't play this record all that often. Still I can see it is good. It's not her, it's me.... (afries@zip.com.au)

It's Tori, one of my favourite musicians of all time, and while I love all the songs individually, this album doesn't seem to add up as much as I'd expect, and I tend to forget about it. Maybe it's just a reaction to how strongly Boys for Pele obsessed me—that album particularly was so much more than the sum of its parts that I've come to expect that from Tori. Still, I love the songs individually, and it has Tori's crazy genius all over it. (Neile)

Despite the presence of one or two less than stellar tracks, overall I absolutely love this album. (mcurry@io.com)

Tori, to me, is an elemental force rather than a musician, so it is a matter of course that she would be listed in my top of the year list. She didn't have to write such a brave, challenging album to win this position, but I certainly appreciate her thoughtfulness in doing so. (afinney@ozonline.com.au)

Maybe I am simply tired of Tori but this is my least favorite of her albums. The acoustic songs are brilliant as always, but I don't like her electronic stuff. Tori should collaborate with a genius like William Orbit. I prefer the remixes of "Raspberry Swirl", for example, or the b-sides of "Spark". Well, still a good album but I expected more. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

I played this CD to death when it first came out then completely stopped—and I don't know why. I just played it the other day and it's excellent. So, back into the rotation for a second run. (spike45@sos.net)

I liked this album a lot, and played it constantly when it was released, but for some reason I hardly ever listen to it recently. I noticed this has happened to more Ectophiles, which makes me wonder whether it is something about this album. When I do listen to it I still like it very much. Favourite song is "iieee"—Stuart mentioned this could be a Happy Rhodes song, and I agree. Maybe because of the layered vocals. Also "Cruel", though I didn't like the live version of that song at all. (Marion)

Another album that took a few spins to get into, but once I did I loved it. (jjhanson@att.net)

Less affectation and more plain-old songs, which is a good thing in my book. (Greg.Jumper@Eng.Sun.COM)

Well, I had a hard time deciding whether to include this on my top ten of the year, but I decided to do so. I felt this effort was rather uneven, but it does have the distinction of getting me excited about a Tori album again after my relative disinterest in Boys for Pele. Lots of great stuff on this album, and a few that I tend to skip over, but all-in-all a very enjoyable Tori album. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

To me this was disappointing after the epic excellence of Boys for Pele (I'm probably in a minority here), but nevertheless there are some fabulous stand out tracks ("Raspberry Swirl", "Jackie's Strength", "Spark") and I love the way Tori constantly changes her approach to her songs. Production amazing. Cornwall's adopted daughter smashes the mould once again. (us@moonviews.demon.co.uk)

wow wow wow! Wish I could have afforded to see her on this tour. "Raspberry Swirl": sexiest dance song I know. (kamesan@geocities.com)

While I liked from the Choirgirl hotel, it just didn't have the certain something from her older stuff I really liked. It got about four plays in the CD player when I first got, and I don't think that I've listened to it since. (iclysdal@redmaple.yi.org)


Tori Amos' other recordings:

The main Tori Amos page

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2017-09-06 19:16:24.
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