domingo, 11 de outubro de 2009

Artigo: - "Special Comment: Review of Tori Amos' Midwinter Graces"

Special Comment: Review of Tori Amos' Midwinter Graces
October 11, 2:39 AMAustin International Travel ExaminerRobert Schrader

Though I've mentioned her on this blog before, this post is a bit uncharacteristic for the Austin International Travel Examiner, so bear with me. Tori Amos just completed her tenth world tour, however, so to include a post concerning her in a travel-related column is certainly appropriate.

In any case, a friend of mine recently received a promo sampler for Tori's upcoming holiday release, Midwinter Graces, and though it's watermarked, which prevented him from uploading it to his computer, he was kind enough to call me and let me listen. The promo contains four song: "What Child, Nowell" "A Silent NIght With You" "Star of Wonder" and the Amos original composition "Pink and Glitter". What follows are my exclusive thoughts on the matter. Because of the, um, over-the-phone nature of my listening situation, I am not able to offer anyone a listen, but will be happy to clarify any points of confusion upon request.

I will say, first off, that all the hot-and-bothered fans need to calm down—this is just a holiday album. The lyrics and the music are all pretty much what you'd expect—nothing blasphemous (at least on these songs), nothing outrageous—though "Star of Wonder" is kind of amazing and I wish she'd produced one of her own songs this way. As all of the lyrics are contemporary, I would assume these are essentially all Tori re-writes with bits of the original melody and lyrics, though I can't say for sure. Now, on to track-by-track—with lyrics!

The first track, "What Child, Nowell," sounds more like its original and begins with gorgeous strings, piano and some bass plucking. It has lots of harpsichord!

What child is this
who lay to rest on Mary's lap sleeping?
Whom angels greet with ...?
Sweet while shepherds watch our keeping
This is winter's kiss
Nowell, nowell, nowell,
Every voice is singing
Nowell, nowell, nowell
What child is this who now awakes
in every heart each morning
from dazzling light through silver's
bring peace now...creation
This is winter's kiss
This is...? begins
Nowell, nowell, nowell
Every voice was singing
Nowell, nowell, nowell
Born this day anew
Nowell, nowell, nowell

Every voice was singing
Nowell, nowell, nowell
Born this day a new
Born this day a new
Nowell, nowell, nowell

"A Silent Night With You" has "hey Jupiter"-esque piano—the first few "telephone" notes—with synths and strings playing over them. Drums kick in midway and the song is very, very pretty throughout, with lots of strings, some bells and no guitar as far as I can hear. It's definitely a holiday song. I can picture Amy Grant singing this—but that's a good thing.

The radio plays my holiday faves
It takes me back to when our love was new
Young lovers pass me by with their glow
That used to be us not so long ago
You said then "I just want to spend
a silent night with you, with you, a silent night with you"

Joy to the world
your arms kept me warm
night after night in such a cold world
Hear the bell strike
... ? pictures instead

Tell me the past is filling my head
You said then "I just want to spend a silent night with you,
with you, a silent night with you"
The radio plays my holiday faves
it takes me back to when our love was new
Lost in my daze you slip past and say
"Girl, take my hand, see nothing has changed
Now or then, I just want to spend a silent night with you,
with you, a silent night with you"
All is calm, all is bright...

Next, "Star of Wonder" has the wurlitzer and some middle-eastern drums--a dobro in the beginning maybe? Reminds me of what pre-Christ Jerusalem must have sounded like. It's kind of a funky "Bug a Martini"/"pancake"-ish vibe but with better drums—"Strong Black Vine"-esque strings. There are some very cool musical shifts in this song, especially during the chorus. This could have been a regular Tori song with, you know, different lyrics. Her voice has a great echo effect on it in the verses, and soars nicely during the choruses. I could also see this song being compared to "Carbon"—it's by far the most interesting track.

We three kings coming again
Bringing gifts from the east
from the east
some say a star will rise again
in the hearts of human kind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is soul fire

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
........still proceeding (?)

Eh, forget it, I can't make these out anymore; it's too late.

The final song on the sampler "Pink and Glitter" is very traditional big band, with tinkling piano, lots of horns and a sultry tart voice—think Santa from American Doll Posse. The lyrics are very holiday-appropriate: "Shower the world, shower the world, shower the world in pink if you please".

Overall, I really love "What Child, Nowell" and "Star of Wonder" and have asked for and received many repeat listens. "A Silent Night With You" is syrupy, though but not unbearable and "Pink and Glitter" is kind of forgettable. But, again, it's a HOLIDAY album--it's hilarious to see people so worked up. Chances are if you post on the forum with the raccoon in its logo, you'll hate it, and if you don't, you'll appreciate it for what it is—an outstanding, high quality holiday album made with a lot of heart and attention to detail.


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