Tori Amos' seventh album, like all her products, is very different from all the others. This time she serves us a sweet mixture of tinkling piano and smooth, tangy words, softly accompanied by her usual band as well as the Sinfonia of London. The album is definitely more upbeat than most of her previous ones, which is easily understandable. While the others drew inspiration from experiences with rape, a break-up and a miscarriage, Tori went to work on this album as a happily married mother of a little girl. Clearly, things are bound to be different this time.
"...I think that this record is one of those records where rhythm wants to be there, so each record is different. You have to approach them as separate beings, each song is separate, but this is a whole, it's a story."
(Tori in a BBC 6 Radio interview, 10/09/02
This album is friendly on the ears. It is filled with string arrangements, rhythm and harmony. To me this was a bit of a letdown the first time I listened to it: What about the unexpected turns of the music and the raw baring of the soul which I had learned to love Tori for? I mean, the words aren't even as slurred as usual! On the other hand, it sounds quite cool. I find myself rocking my head to the beat while working with other things. If it suddenly stops, something feels empty inside. And after a while, I find myself accepting the simplicity and listening to the stories. And they are not all fluff and candy.
"Scarlet, my character, goes to all the states, because she's taking a road trip ... The idea occurred while on the road last year, in the wake of the twins going down, and uh, I decided to tour, and started to see the country in a different way..there was a seed that was planted after the 11th, which was that people started seeing America as a soul, as a being.
(Amos in a Kevin and Bean Interview, KROQ L.A., 08/19/02)
Scarlet's Walk is a woman's journey to discover America. A map sold with the CD shows which stretch of road goes with each song, or vice versa. Every state of the US is covered. The quest begins on the West Coast, and is a long one. Total playing time of the CD is 73 minutes, and there are 18 tracks.
a sorta fairytale
don't make me come to Vegas
I can't see New York
another girl's paradise
The album is written and produced by Tori Amos, who does all the vocals, plays the Bösendorfer, Wurlitzer, Arp and Rhodes.
The other musicians are Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass guitar, Robbie McIntosh on electric and acoustic guitars and dobro, Mac Aladdin on electric acoustic guitars, John Philip Shenale on Chamberlin Flutes and responsible for the string arrangements, David Torn on electric loop guitar as well as electric and acoustic guitars, and the Sinfonia of London.
Scarlet's Walk is the title of the 16th track on the album.
"In the song, America is a young girl looking over the water at another young girl, who may be called France or Spain or England. She's curious so she invites them over. Pretty soon, they've moved in and taken everything - the husband, the house and the job - and the new sheriff is in charge."
The journey goes from Kansas to Arizona, through the former heartlands of the American Indians, including the capital of the Cherokee nation (Tori has some connection with this people as her grandmother's grandfather was a Cherokee). This land used to be sacred to the people who lived here, before they were forced to move. The song is calm and slow, and melancholic - but perhaps determined, more than sad. It remembers the history of the natives who lost their land, but at the same time, it looks to the future.
leaving terra... leaving terra...
If you're a thought
you will want me
to think you
and I did
and I did