Amos Travels Dark Road in Self-Produced Album

Jesse Gutierrez

After splitting up into six different personalities for her last album “American Doll Posse,” music legend Tori Amos gathered herself back together for her 10th studio album “Abnormally Attracted to Sin.”

Amos travels a much darker road for this new album in comparison to the almost cheery path followed on “American Doll Posse.”

The album starts off with a low drumbeat leading into the first song “Give,” which is about a woman who needs to give love but at a certain point people take advantage of her kindness. Amos compares it to giving blood; if you give up to much it could kill you. With the dark beats, haunting piano melodies and Amos’s vocals, this song will send chills down your spine.

The next track, “Welcome To England,” is a song about the place where she met her husband. He asked her to leave her “daily hell” and join him in England but he tells her “you better bring your own sun” because the weather is rather bleak. While the song does have its moments of joy, there is still a sense of sadness because she is leaving her old life behind.

After the joy of finding love in the last track, Amos reverts back to a very dark subject with “Strong Black Vine,” a song about a young boy who is involved in an “evil faith” and a woman wanting to save him from harming himself or others around him. She sings, “tie you down boy cause I can, save you from that evil faith.”

“Flavor” is musically simple with a sweet piano melody. Lyrically, there are so many layers to decipher. It sounds like the inner debate of a dying person, trying to figure out where they belong, “above or below.” Once he figures out where he belongs, he tries to relay the message of what its like back down to his loved ones on earth.

The next two tracks, “Maybe California” and “Ophelia,” are both stories of women who have to make serious choices that could change their lives forever. In “Maybe California,” the woman is a mother who is clinically depressed after giving birth to her child and is now on the verge of suicide and has to make up her mind whether to live or die.

“Ophelia” tells the story of a young girl who has to break away from the same choices that her sisters made. Amos sings “Ophelia you must break the chain.” As the song progresses, you can hear the inner struggle through Amos’s very descriptive lyrics of this girl not breaking away as she begins to lose grip on who she is.

Amos takes on the subject of drugs in the form of the song “Mary Jane.” In the song, a child who goes to his mother and says he is going out with this “girl,” Mary Jane, and even though all the signs lead to him being on drugs, the mother seems to deny them by continually asking “Do I know her family? Is she even mannerly out in society? She even bakes these odd brownies.”

Amos decides to lighten it up with a sweet love song called “500 Miles.” She sings about a couple who is suffering from long distance and they don’t know if they will make it through, but in the end they both make compromises because “in lovers communion,” 500 miles is nothing if you love someone.

For the title track of the album, “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,” Amos takes on religion. Her lyrics connote that instead of going to church to become closer to God, people go to church and push themselves away further from what they were seeking. This song is probably the weakest on the album, lyrically and musically. It just does not even compare to the rest of the tracks.

Amos saves the most complex song for last with “Lady in Blue.” The combination of eerie music and poetic lyrics make up for a song so cryptic, unless you are Amos yourself, you’ll never figure out what this song is about.

Even though this album is very complex, Amos does offer some insight in the form of a music video for each song on the album’s second disc. Amos worked with acclaimed video director Christian Lamb who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Incubus and Ozzy Osbourne to film each video. Even though they are supposed to help the listener understand the songs better, for the most part they will only leave you with more questions.

As for the production of the album, Amos takes on the role of producer as well as writing all the lyrics, composing and playing all the music for this album.

With the release of “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,” Amos only furthers the proof that she is one of the only true musicians and lyricists that we have left in a time where image means more than the music itself.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.