I’ve hardly kept my adoration of Tori and her music a secret, so with the recent release of her latest album you can be sure I was a little more than eager to hear it. I’ve had it only a few days, about a week after its official release. In the time before that, I had a few listens to Welcome To England (the first single), and Maybe California – a song Tori gifted to her fans via free download on Mother’s Day.
My initial impression of the album as a whole was that it was much more subdued than previous releases (a far cry from her early work, where the music and lyrics were as overtly powerful as the emotions they portrayed – with the possible exception of To Venus And Back). That’s not a criticism by any means, either. The power of Abnormally Attracted To Sin lies directly in its subtlety. The above picture is a pefect example and summary of the album – refined and elegant, with a very stong undercurrent of the feminine and sexuality, but here it is more subdued, in the best of ways: mature, confident and discreet (the back of the deluxe album cover shows an image of Tori through a key hole).
On her debut, Little Earthquakes, Tori sang lines like “look, I’m standing naked before you” – and she was, LE remains one of the most raw and powerfully emotive albums I’ve ever heard. AAtS arrives nearly 20 years on and to me, the messages - the stories Tori is telling - need you to discover them in a different way. I’ve been hearing complaints that the ‘old Tori’ is gone, lamenting the stronger presence of instruments other than the piano. To me, it instead represents a deeper understanding of the stories she wants to tell and the way she wants them to be heard. To my ears, there’s some Depeche Mode-like nuances on this new album. Not in sound, per se, more in style, particularly in the way beautiful words and sentiments are give faintly ominous undercurrents by deeper, darker bass lines and synth sounds.
Containing a total of 18 tracks (the special edition, which includes Oscar’s Theme) there’s generally a greater risk of songs coming across as filler material. One thing I know already is that there are always some songs on Tori’s albums that take their time to let you get to know them, so at only around five listens, my judgement of individual songs would – for the most part - be vague and hesitant. I will say, however that immediate stand-out tracks to me are: Give, That Guy, Fast Horse and Lady In Blue.
The accompanying visualettes DVD I have only viewed once, and to be honest, while a nice and welcome addition to the album – and utterly lovely to watch – they didn’t add a great deal to the songs themselves for me. I’d love to get my hands on some of Tori’s wardrobe, though!
All in all, this album is like the perfect evening gown – classic, elegant, stunning, beautiful and sexy; and because it’s worn by the extremely charismatic, raven-haired Tori (who glances at you with furtive, bedroom eyes throughout), utterly seductive.
Here is Tori with a live rendition of Lady In Blue - I dare you not to melt: