On her latest opus, Tori Amos assumes five different female personae (including one named “Tori”) who sing 23 songs comprising four thematic suites.
The concept sounds even more pretentious than Amos’ usual compositional challenges, but the songs may win her fans beyond her cult following.
Opening with an anti-Bush polemic (“I salute you . . . and I sneeze/’cause I have an allergy to your policies it seems”), the album then drops three hard-rock tracks that build in emotional and rhythmic intensity toward the climactic “Teenage Hustling,” which is practically a metal song. And while Amos’ impenetrable New Age tendencies still crop up on occasion, her piano-pounding bombastic side has abandoned the world of operatic self-regard for the audience-pleasing arena-size rock show. There isn’t a dull cut on the album, which should make her larger expressive purposes easier to fulfill, but beware: Each persona has her own blog.