aoooaaah, aoooaaah, aoooaaaow.

These are the opening lyrics of Tori Amos's song Crazy from Scarlet's Walk, which immediately puts it in the ranks of other great songs of weirdly vocalized vowels, such as i i e e e. Apart from that similarity, Crazy is as different from the former song as it can possibly be. It is neither upset nor accusing. Instead, this song is relaxed and melodious, the lyrics are performed slowly and display an eerily calm madness. We find our red thread, Scarlet, completely settled with a man called Crazy. It seems like the time has come for craziness.

   So I let Crazy
take a spin
   Then I let Crazy
settle in
   Kicked off my shoes
   Shut reason out

Scarlet's path has been a rocky one. She has just spent a tough emotional time with a very depressed woman. Her last relationship was a disaster in which her personality almost got obliterated. In the end, she summoned up enough courage to break out. So why is she now so eager to lose herself in another man?

      Through the dawn
   To the light
      To the turn
   When you said --

   You could drive
      all night

Perhaps because this man is Crazy. He's crazy, but he isn't madly and unpredictably so. He is a stable, solid kind of crazy. Someone slightly out of the ordinary, the kind of stranger who would talk to you at a bus stand and offer you a revelation. Perhaps he is an artist, a hermit retreated to the desert. Scarlet has a lot to rebuild, and he just might be the one to help her.

He said "first let's just
   unzip your religion

Crazy has a major job to do. Scarlet arrives carrying a lot of baggage. He is ready to strip her of these problems, one by one, down to the core. We don't know exactly what these are, but since Scarlet is quite similar to Tori in many ways, it might help looking at her history.

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Tori Amos has a few issues with religion. She demonstrates this in songs like God, Icicle, and Father Lucifer, among others. Disentangling herself from her own (mis)conceptions of Christianity is an ongoing project which has led many listeners to become shocked and disgusted with her. Closely related to this issue is her own sense of guilt, as described in Crucify. (Every day I crucify myself . . . Got enough guilt to start my own religion).

A lot of women have a tendency to heap guilt upon themselves, and to accept life's blows as a just punishments. Since Scarlet's former boyfriend was such a domineering character, she had to make herself smaller to fit in with him. Every day she told herself she was happy. Perhaps now she is feeling guilt for ruining it all? Even women who manage to run away from abusive relationships sometimes wonder if it was the right thing to do.

Crazy, if he is successful, will take Scarlet to a new level. He will force her to see her own worth, and that she has a right to pursue happiness.

      Heard that you were once
   Temptation's Girl"

The man seems no stranger to Scarlet. Their friendship must go back a long way, if he has heard about her youthful folly together with the slimeball hinted at in don't make me come to Vegas. This is an equal relationship between two mature people, scarred by life's little tragedies (as we all are). The song is a harmonious description of building stable foundations together. However, at the end of it all they seem to be more friends than lovers. Their work on each other is complete, and they move on.

But I was alone 
   when I knew it was real
Down the canyon
   when I knew I had come

   To the line
      Through the dawn
         To the light

The journey, as depicted on the map accompanying the cd, is long and curvy. Several times it retraces itself, makes a loop here, a sharp turn there. The couple goes from Colorado to Wyoming. According to Tori, they go up through the Tetons, then over Bear Tooth Pass, take a short trip back into Montana, then through Wyoming again. They "go around Crazy Horse's stomping ground and then they come through Cody. And swoop back, um...through Jackson Hole". The journey is relatively straight through Utah, but they make a last visit to Colorado again before going south to Arizona, to being alone with each other in the desert. Scarlet is ready for the next stage of her journey; she is about to dig out her roots.

Saw me melt
   into your
      native shelter
Where you carved my 
Paper tigers scare me
   and came

Despite the perfect calm of the song, there is a hint of that rawness in her voice which can be heard in Tori's live performances, as well as in some of her earliest recordings - Y Kant Tori Read. It's like she goes to live inside the song, or lets the song live within her.

The song, preceded by Carbon, is followed by Wampum Prayer.

CST Approved