The fourteenth album released from singer Tori Amos is titled Unrepentant Geraldines. Tori Amos has always been an odd duck, beautifully so, you can’t go wrong with liking some Tori Amos. However, Unrepentant Geraldines has been billed as a return to her pop and alternative roots and I disagree with that sales pitch and don’t at the same time. As a fan of the alternative edged From The Choir Girl Hotel, as well as Under The Pink. I find Unrepentant Geraldines to not be so much back in the realm of those albums, but more blended with the kookiness of Night Of The Hunters. Her singing voice in many of the songs takes on the same “different” story-telling character akin to Night Of The Hunters compared to in older works. Yes, I do hear the differences, the electronic sound effects with instrument and sound experiments that exist between this album and her Night Of The Hunters album, but I am just saying don’t buy in to the marketing fully if you’re looking for a total dive back into older Tori Amos sounds (opinion). Of course, if you are a fan of all things Tori Amos, then this album may be quite the treat!
Now then, having said all of that, what Unrepentant Geraldines does is let some cool blossom back out aside from what I am calling kookiness. (I say kookiness with nothing, but respect.) Here are my picks for the best five songs on the album:
5. Trouble’s Lament: Piano meets acoustic guitar and some light percussion with a ramble along blues vibe in the song Trouble’s Lament. The song follows the tale of “Trouble” as she has a falling out with the Devil and invites “Danger” to find her. Trouble is also looking for a home and willing to stand up to Satan to protect the souls of other girls. As with many of the songs on Unrepentant Geraldines, this song blends more than one musical style and makes for an interesting listen.
4. Promise: Literally a mother and daughter duet, Tori and her daughter Tash sing sappy lyrics about being there for each other through whatever troubles may come. It is a unique listen because the younger girl’s lyrics just sound odd to me, trying to almost go R & B it seems, but with the sound of a child still clinging thick. It is easy listening overall.
3. 16 Shades of Blue: What I enjoy the most about the song 16 Shades Of Blue is the slow electronic music background. This song with the occasional laser beam zap going off in the background comes the closest to similarity to From The Choir Girl Hotel style material. It is an interesting song in the way it is delivered, though, I as a male there are several lyrics that are female specific that kind of knock me out of the song.
2. Unrepentant Geraldines: The title track of the album is an odd mixture and that makes it tasty as cake! It’s like old and new Tori Amos come together and meet retro Blondie with a pinch of surfer rock and a flower-power angel choir thrown in for good measure. It is so interesting that you may find it weird and funny on the first listen, but then if you’re like me it grows on you as a tune to be taken very serious.
1. Wild Way: Wild Way is a slow piano ballad that opens with the words “I hate you,” yet it is a romantic notion as she sings about hating someone for being able to make her feel gorgeous so easily. Tori Amos sings to an old love who was able to get through to her in ways no one else could and she wallows in the weakness of being changed by allowing someone inside in such a way as to dare to love. I’m sure that there are many romantic souls out there who will find this song to be a fitting anthem for their emotional depth and life experience.