Nothing Wrong with the Geraldines
Not many current artists have the staying power to produce fourteen albums, nor do they actually come out with those albums in a span of a little over twenty years. Then there’s Tori Amos, an artist who has done just that while bridging innumerable genres gaps. Unrepentant Geraldines, her most recent album, represents all the best of Amos’ artistry.
A new listener to Amos may think it sounds strange— not bad, but a little out there. But her music makes more sense the more you get to know her. Each of the fourteen tracks tells a different tale. The lead single, “Trouble’s Lament,” takes you on a walk down a road with Trouble as she wanders: “Trouble needs a home, girls / Trouble needs a home / She fell out with Satan / Now she’s on the run.”
“The Maids of Elfen-mare” is influenced by a mid-19th century woodcut illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The image depicts three women standing over a young boy. Amos spins a haunting story of maids watching the boy. “The Maids of Elfen-mere / Watch over the boy with chestnut hair / And as he dreams about his love of them / They make a vow to protect him.”
The title track, “Unrepentant Geraldines,” is also inspired by another artistic medium, this one a biblical verse. The opening notes have a slowed-down funky vibe that shifts back and forth from laid-back drag to a lively bridge section. “Chapel of birds / We sing our song, revise the word / Will you pray / Pray for me, unrepentant geraldines?”
“Promise” features a lead singer that isn’t Tori Amos: her daughter, Natashya. The two trade off single lines throughout the song, but is a simple request between the two: “Be there / When I am all alone / You’re not alone.”
Simply put, the album is the simplicity that Tori Amos has always been. Simple ballads, simple arrangements and great storytelling. The Tori Amos newcomer should give this album a second go-around before dismissing its challenging quirks. It is worth it.