Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines - Album Cover 2014

TORI AMOSUnrepentant Geraldines

01. America
02. Trouble’s Lament
03. Wild Way
04. Wedding Day
05. Weatherman
06. 16 Shades of Blue
07. Maids of Elfen-mere
08. Promise
09. Giant’s Rolling Pin
10. Selkie
11. Unrepentant Geraldines
12. Oysters
13. Rose Dover
14. Invisible Boy

With every new record, TORI AMOS creates, she reinvents herself. From her strong debut Little Earthquakes to the baroque Boys for Pele, to the classical Night of the Hunters and the orchestral Gold DustTORI AMOS has never stopped taking up new challenges.

The next step of TORI AMOS‘ career, that lasts for over twenty years now, is her fourteenth work Unrepentant Geraldines that will be released on May 12 via Mercury Classics.

‘I needed to walk away from contemporary songwriting’, the North Carolina-born singer states. So she took the new record as a chance to find back to the plainness of storytelling and piano rock.

Both in her immediate vicinity and in her broader sphere TORI AMOS collected impressions and turned them into fourteen songs that have moments of her previous records as well as new aspects, as her 13-year-old daughter Tash noticed.

Tash and the examination of motherhood were important influences of the album. The most beautiful expression of that is the song Promise in the middle of the record, which TORI and her daughter sing as a duet. ‘We talked about relationships with daughters and mothers and we thought about what kind of promise we could make to each other’, explains the singer in an interview with NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION.

The first song on Unrepentant Geraldines is called America. It focuses on her voice and her piano playing, which is accompanied by soft drums and guitars, and surprises with a sudden caper. The second song and first single Trouble’s Lament continues the fine instrumental mosaic and incorporates southern blues elements that mingle with TORI AMOS‘ alluring voice.

The title track was inspired by an etching of the penitent woman “Geraldine” by the Irish artist Daniel Maclise. It reminded the singer of the Repentant Magdalene paintings of Seghers or Titian and aroused the wish to correct this obsolete image of women’s behavior.

Another painting that has impressed TORI AMOS and has found its way into her song 16 Shades of Blue, was The Black Clock by Cezanne. The Post-Impressionist painter was known to have at least 16 shades of blue as part of his colour palette.

TORI AMOS knows that all women, no matter what age, hear the clock ticking and therefore feel pressure. In 16 Shades of Blue the singer approaches this fact critical but still with a wink and a fresh instrumentation with some playful sonic elements.

TORI AMOS herself turned 50 last year and, as she told NBHAP, has found her own way to approach age and to find the power of it. ‘Women have to find a way to not submit to the projection of what 50 look like’, she told us and sets a good example.

Unrepentant Geraldines might not be as intense as some of the artist’s other works, but its messages is clear: There is no need to be repentant and there is definitely no need to stop.

‘Unrepentant Geraldines’ is a sometimes vivid and ironic and sometimes quiet and retrospective record that surprises the listener with some unexpected turns, even if it is less intense than some of TORI AMOS‘ other works.

NBHAP Rating: 3,5/5