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Thread: Unrepentant Geraldines: your reviews and impressions

  1. #31
    Got the shock of my life! silver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake View Post
    I heard the album tonight.

    I listened once all the way through, then had second listens to a few tracks. For anyone not interested in track-by-tracks, here's my summary:

    -Easily better than Abnormally Attracted to Sin. No question.
    -The most obvious influence on it to my ears is the The Light Princess; it's campy but self-aware, complex but straightforward, and ambitious
    -"Giant's Rolling Pin" is more "Programmable Soda" than "Not Dying Today"
    -"Oysters" is simply incredible
    -The title track is a beast. It weaves in and out of so many different styles.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! For some reason, 16 Shades of Blue is sounding more and more interesting lol. I really want to know how these effects on her voice sound because she hasn't done much of that.


  2. #32
    Get Out The Dark Adam's Avatar
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    Awesome, Jake!

    After just one listen and a few re-listens, did it strike you as just being better than AATS? Or did you also think it's better than ADP?

    You also were a little objective in that review. Did YOU get excited by it?
    The Landslide Never Brought, Brought Me Down

  3. #33
    Senior Member Jake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Awesome, Jake!

    After just one listen and a few re-listens, did it strike you as just being better than AATS? Or did you also think it's better than ADP?

    You also were a little objective in that review. Did YOU get excited by it?
    I left feeling excited about the album, and that I couldn't wait to hear the songs live. I can confidently say I did NOT feel like that after American Doll Posse. I'm trying not to let "new album shine" cloud my judgement, but I can't see myself growing off of Oysters, Selkie, Weatherman, Invisible Boy, and Wedding Day. Those highs are better than anything on ADP in my opinion... and probably anything on The Beekeeper.

  4. #34
    Senior Member Baltic's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughts on the album!

    Does the discombobulation and lack of precision (as in 16 Shades and the title track) sound overworked/overthought or does it sound innovative (at least for Tori)?
    Better than AATS is not exactly flattering, so do you think it is actually ambitious or just a-record-every-two-years sort of deal?
    "The only time I get in that position is when I give birth." - Dorothy Zbornak

  5. #35
    Get Out The Dark Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake View Post
    I left feeling excited about the album, and that I couldn't wait to hear the songs live. I can confidently say I did NOT feel like that after American Doll Posse. I'm trying not to let "new album shine" cloud my judgement, but I can't see myself growing off of Oysters, Selkie, Weatherman, Invisible Boy, and Wedding Day. Those highs are better than anything on ADP in my opinion... and probably anything on The Beekeeper.
    And that, my friend, is good enough for me. Your thoughts have kept up the excitement for me. Thanks!
    The Landslide Never Brought, Brought Me Down

  6. #36
    Senior Member Jake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltic View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts on the album!

    Does the discombobulation and lack of precision (as in 16 Shades and the title track) sound overworked/overthought or does it sound innovative (at least for Tori)?
    Better than AATS is not exactly flattering, so do you think it is actually ambitious or just a-record-every-two-years sort of deal?
    I can't help but feel the tracks with more going on, like "16 Shades of Blue" and "Unrepentant Geraldines" would sound better in another producer's hands. There are some great ideas in both songs in terms of processing her voice in certain ways, shifting the sonic structure of the song, and the dynamics in general. Instead, to my ears, it sounds like someone twisting a bunch of knobs and thinking, "Oh that sounds fun!" when maybe they could have done without a few twists.

    And yeah, I realize saying it's better than AATS isn't exactly selling the album. I'm hammering that because people should get excited about a Tori Amos album again. I don't want to start ranking it after 1.5 listens, but like I said in my last post, the highs outweigh the highs of last AATS, ADP, and TBK.

    Also, I should mention this album is her best vocally in quite a while. It's hard to say it has the best vocals since Scarlet because she's singing a lot differently here. There are a lot of higher register vocals that we haven't heard in a while. There is also ZERO, absolutely NO vocals that sound like "Police Me" or "Fast Horse." I'm talking about the ones that are a little more guttural and deeper. Because of that, these are some of her most pristine vocals. Personally, I think she sounded fantastic on Night of Hunters and I'd say this album follows that trend. Her pronunciation was clear and she emoted effectively. I definitely gasped at a few of the higher notes she hit, too. Whatever type of vocal training or adjustments she's had in the last few years have worked in her favor.

  7. #37
    Senior Member Baltic's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jake.


    Amazon.de says the DVD contains

    1. Trailer
    2. Interview
    3. Studio Tour
    4. Album Photo Shoot

    And the times listed on other sites would mean that the interview is lengthy, while the studio tour is quite short, sadly, but hopefully she talks a lot about creating the album during the interview. I guess that the "video" for TL is just the photo shoot, while the trailer uses the track America.
    "The only time I get in that position is when I give birth." - Dorothy Zbornak

  8. #38
    Crow Winger Bruce's Avatar
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    Well Jake, you've colored me intrigued! Thanks for an objective, non-wankery assessment of the album after only one listen. It has actually raised my anticipation to a fever pitch, you lucky dog, you. Anyone else in SF sharing sneak peaks? I'll bring good wine! :l But seriously, I'm truly looking forward to hearing these tracks. There really seems to be some genuine substance at play here. Jake, what are your thoughts on the cohesiveness of the album as a whole? Does it meld or is it a stretch? Does it feel unnecessarily overstuffed?
    My photo blog: polaroidsf

  9. #39
    Cosmic Flavor Yo Jupiter's Avatar
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    Man, I always go to sleep when the hottest arguments start and then have to read kazillion pages love Jake's review! But at this point, I think it's pretty clear this album is gonna be amazing. I just hope I'll like the title track and 16 shades. I do like Police Me, and this is surely better.
    Не може со обични зборови да ја домами необичноста, зашто и необичните си имаат секој свој пат и тешко се среќаваат.

  10. #40
    Administrator Ryan's Avatar
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    Jake's review actually makes me more nervous than I was before. Out of 14 songs, there are three that are forgettable/nothing special, two that sound too busy/discombobulated/over-produced, whatever the title track is, and the Tash song. That's half the album. But I guess if I like half the album it'd be better than AATS, because I only listen to three songs from that.

  11. #41
    Ugggggghhhhhhh Octopussy's Avatar
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    I wasn't sure at first, but I've been playing the 3 full songs all week and really dislike Trouble's Lament now. I think it is by far the safest song she has ever done. Even Sleeps with Butterflies and Ribbons Undone were KIND OF taking a risk in being so feather-light... this one isn't light, or dark, it's just "in the middle" in every conceivable way.

    And most of all, um... that guitar. I didn't notice how bad it actually was at first. But I put the song on an AHS: Coven themed mix next to a lot of Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac, and something from Suzanne Vega's latest album (about Tarot!!) and I really got to hear how cold and lifeless Mark's guitar "playing" (more like "programming") really is. It's starting to remind me of these really lame Screamin' Jay Hawkins albums from the '90s, which got panned for the sanitized sound of their guitars. I guess they were still getting the hang of digital recording. Here's a sample - when the music comes on, that might as well be Mac's guitar on TL.

  12. #42
    Ugggggghhhhhhh Octopussy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    Jake's review actually makes me more nervous than I was before. Out of 14 songs, there are three that are forgettable/nothing special, two that sound too busy/discombobulated/over-produced, whatever the title track is, and the Tash song. That's half the album. But I guess if I like half the album it'd be better than AATS, because I only listen to three songs from that.
    eh... I'm not nervous because of the initial opinions of one person, or anyone who's listened to it so far. I personally didn't think Selkie was much to write home about at first, and Promise actually grew on me. Wild Way, Maids of Elfen-Mere, 16 Shades of Blue, Unrepentant Geraldines and Rose Dover are still intriguing to me.

    But first, Jake... can you confirm that none of these busy electronic songs are anything like Police Me? :0

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake View Post
    I heard the album tonight.

    I listened once all the way through, then had second listens to a few tracks. For anyone not interested in track-by-tracks, here's my summary:

    -Easily better than Abnormally Attracted to Sin. No question.
    -The most obvious influence on it to my ears is the The Light Princess; it's campy but self-aware, complex but straightforward, and ambitious
    -"Giant's Rolling Pin" is more "Programmable Soda" than "Not Dying Today"
    -"Oysters" is simply incredible
    -The title track is a beast. It weaves in and out of so many different styles.

    America: Sprightly, and reminded me of "Virginia." The personification of America is interesting; "She takes herself to night school" made me double take. There's a "Starling"-esque breakdown but I didn't cringe. The ending was pure Scarlet's Walk, and this is the first example of a song from this record that will sound perfect solo.

    Wild Way: Loved the piano on it. The lyrics are some of her most straightforward to date. Not too fussed otherwise, doubt it'll have many fans.

    Wedding Day: I adore this song. One of the ones I listened to twice. It has an absolutely gorgeous melody and the folky/Americana sound works so well. It has a darker feel and was one of the first instances where I started noticing how the album has a musical quality to it. Solo this will be amazing.

    Weatherman: The first of a group of songs that puts this album ahead of her material from the last few years. There's haunting piano and a gorgeous echo effect on her voice. Definitely "Garlands"-esque, and there's hints of Scarlet and the better moments from The Beekeeper. I wrote down "High notes!"

    16 Shades of Blue: A truly bizarre song. It maintains the dark mood set by "Weatherman," but takes it in a bitter, cynical direction. The lyrics are straightforward (some may find them pretty clunky). The production is all over the place, and I think its to the songs detriment. There are some great effects used on her voice, like a fuzzy megaphone effect, and some elements that slip in and out of the mix. There is just too much going on, like someone kept pressing buttons and didn't know when to stop.

    Maids of Elfen-mere: This would have sounded at home on Night of Hunters. Also hints of "Devils and Gods." It's celtic, renaissance-feeling but it's definitely one that goes in one ear and out the other.

    Promise: Given that Tash seems to be public enemy number 1 around here, I doubt many will change their opinion of the song in its full form. Personally, I really like the melody here, and Tash sounds truly lovely. The organ is the highlight of this song, though. There are some brilliant moments at the end where she plays higher notes on the organ and Tash emulates them? It's hard to explain.

    Giant's Rolling Pin: With all the hate and fear, I expected so much worse. This is a silly song that knows its silly. It's not "Not Dying Today," because it's more self aware of its whimsical quality. There's a tuba, which adds to the whimsy. I won't return to it nor do I need to hear it live, but it's really not as offensive as you think.

    Unrepentant Geraldines: Much like "16 Shades of Blue," I'm not sure how to tap into this song. It was another one I listened through twice because there is just so much going on. During one verse, my face was contorted in confusion. Then it would shift into something more melodic that seriously sounded like a Little Earthquakes-era melody. Some parts reminded me of "Witness" because there's a sensual groove provided by the organ. I also heard echoes of "Father's Son" during one of the slower parts. Suddenly, she whips out the best piano part of the entire record! Feverish playing and bass notes. It's ridiculous! Then the final 2 minutes are solo piano featuring impressive high notes.

    Oysters: This was my first time hearing the song, as I've resisted the shitty leak. So glad to agree with everyone that its one of the best things she's done since the 90s, and it simply ranks up there. Everything about it; the piano, the melody, her voice, the lyrics - this is Tori Amos. At the same time, it doesn't feel like a retread. I'd love to see her focus on what makes this song magical and turn it into a full album.

    Rose Dover: I need to listen to this one again. Another song that felt a tad discombobulated. There's loops and keyboards, and parts have an industrial quality. There's a dreamy-sounding post chorus, too. Overall, I could hear it on American Doll Posse.

    Invisible Boy: This will rank in the top tier for people. It's a truly beautiful song in the vein of Toast but this feels even more raw. You can hear her breathing, and towards the end you can even hear her voice break. It's obviously one close to her heart based on her delivery. My notes say: Lullaby, sparse, breathing, 90s b-side.

    So, yeah. Don't come after me with a pitchfork if you hear the album and completely disagree with stuff I've said, but this is my impression. I also reserve the right to change my mind once I've given the album more spins via good speakers and earphones. I can try and answer any other questions people might have. If you're excited, I think you should continue to be. I doubt anyone will reconsider their top 3 favorite albums, but this record isn't disposable. It will require a few listens to tap into themes and notice some very subtle beauty throughout.
    Thank you, both for sharing your thoughts and for taking us away from the crazy of the last pages...
    Last edited by Alpha Neutral; 09-25-2016 at 04:11 PM.

  14. #44
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    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Jake. What I am gathering from the reviews is that there is nothing catastrophic here and plenty of things to look forward to which makes it automatically her best effort since Scarlet.. What made the last albums weaker was that since the good/great songs was sandwiched between bad songs, it made it really hard to get into the album. For instance; Flavor I think is one of the highlights of AATS but look at this sequence Strong Black Vine-Flavor-Not Dying Today-Maybe California. So many bad songs following it.. Same with Curtain Call being followed by Fire to your Plain and Police Me, and when things start to get really good with the title track, follow it with 500 Miles and Mary Jane. But in her good albums, what made them good was the brilliant stretch of songs. One great song after another. Happily this seems to be the case again. From the descriptions I can't wait to listen to the final 5 tracks; Selkie-Unrepentant Geraldines-Oysters-Rose Dover-Invisible Boy. The first stretch of 5 songs also sound great.

  15. #45
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    It sounds like Tori was really willing to experiment on this album, but not in the way she experimented with TBK, ADP, ATTS. This new album sounds like some classic Tori material mixed in with some truly new styles, which to me is better than waking up and deciding "I'm going to make a classic rock album" (ADP).

    People who have heard the record: sounds like 16 Shades, UG, and Rose Dover are very different. Would you say they sound avant-garde? 16 Shades sounds almost along the lines of Xiu Xiu.

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