Gold Dust

Tori Amos

Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


While I would never consider myself an expert on the career of Tori Amos, I'm far from the casual listener either. Though I own a good chunk of her large volume of work, I've never really been one to dissect how each album stacks up against one another. To me, it just all sounds poetic, elegant, wistful, and often powerful regardless of how much pop influence is or isn't evident. With that in mind, Gold Dust my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 is an ideal album for the admirer of all of her work, as it includes handpicked songs from her entire career, reworked in an orchestral setting with the world famous Metropole Orchestra.

Though Amos keeps the core of her songs intact here, there are many minor adjustments that longtime fans will (hopefully) enjoy.  Some of these adjustments include leaving out portions of the originals. “Star Of Wonder” is without the Middle Eastern slant and absent are a few verses on “Yes, Anastasia,” though the track being half its usual length doesn't detract from its impact. Similarly, “Flavor” is stripped of the programmed beats in lieu of more lush, graceful atmospheres.

Some of her biggest hits are excluded, though the selections weren't necessarily culled with a 'Best Of' mindset. However, “Silent All These Years” is present and reborn in a stunning fashion. The abundance of strings all over the album often lends itself to a cinematic feel, with “Snow Cherries From France” being the best example of this. Other songs, like “Gold Dust,” are more fleshed out, as is "Girl Disappearing" with the piano additions. “Cloud On My Tongue” features a new vocal effect – a nice touch not often utilized by Amos, while “Precious Things” benefits the most from the idea behind this album, the backing musicians illuminating each portion of the track to the fullest.

This is a very pleasant extension on an already stellar catalog. 2011's Night Of Hunters hinted at this sound with its classical feel, and here Amos expands on that notion. As always, her voice is flawless and the musicianship is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The release of Gold Dust also coincides with the 20-year anniversary of her illustrious career, and what better way to put an exclamation point on that milestone then with this lovely listen.

Rating: B+

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