Tori Amos

Gold Dust

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The release of Gold Dust was inevitable, and was recorded to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Little Earthquakes, the album that established Tori Amos as one of the premier -- if not the premier -- singer/songwriters of her generation. Here she revisits songs from her catalog backed by the famed Metropole Orchestra conducted by Jules Buckley. Amos recorded live with the orchestra in the Netherlands, making it a greatest-hits comp with a twist. It works. The songs keep their inherent melodies and basic arrangements, and the Metropole Orchestra underscores the inherent drama in them without overwhelming them (no easy feat). While everyone will have her favorites -- or be disappointed about those that have been left out -- the arc of the album works quite well. Songs like "Marianne" and "Yes Anastasia" are as direct and compelling as ever. The title track, with its elegiac intro, is more elaborate, yet never gives in to excess. "Precious Things" is, if anything, more militant, even as it proclaims "let these precious things be." The gospel feel in the chords that introduce "Snow Cherries from France" are quickly supplanted by a near-theatrical feel. The set closes with "Girl Disappearing" from American Doll Posse. In this arrangement, subtler shades of meaning are coaxed from the lyric by the orchestra and by more elaborate piano flourishes from Amos. Gold Dust is another of Amos' dreams realized -- to record live with an orchestra -- and it is most certainly for her dedicated fans, who will no doubt find elements in these new versions to enjoy.

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