http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a77808dee47c6307893074b1bdd7f271947748f6.jpg Scarlet's Walk

Tori Amos

Scarlet's Walk

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 31, 2002

On Scarlet's Walk, her seventh album, Tori Amos does a misty mountain hop across a mythical America, blurring the line between the sacred and the erotic, Cherokee prayers and porn-star lap dances, New Age and Led Zeppelin. It's the latest transmission from Planet Tori, full of wordplay that is by turns inscrutable, outrageously purple or righteously outraged. Amos' albums have always been obsessed with the quest for self-realization; Scarlet's Walk takes a thinly veiled alter ego on a journey across America in search of the real her.

Amos' previous album, the all-covers Strange Little Girls, found her role-playing with a delicious lack of inhibition; Scarlet's Walk is told from a single female protagonist's perspective. But that doesn't stop Amos from having fun. Even when she's fed up, as in "Taxi Ride," the steam rises from a line such as "Even a glamorous bitch can be in need." And when her voice frays, breaking into a Zeppelin-worthy moan on "Pancake," it gives her disillusionment a sensual dimension.

Though Jon Evans' voluptuous bass and Matt Chamberlain's empathetic percussion provide ballast, Scarlet is all about Amos and her many musical personae, both as a singer and a keyboard player. She can be unbearably precious ("I put our snowflake under a microscope"), and tunes such as "Crazy" edge perilously toward Enya. But she keeps even her most fulsome phrases conversational, her syntax underlined by rippling, chord-free keyboard lines. The harmonies — with Amos morphing into a backing choir or whispering responses into her inner ear — play a similar role. She may be wandering the world by herself, but she's never alone: There's an army of voices inside Tori Amos, and the girl knows how to use them.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »