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The Record (US)
New Jersey newspaper, northjersey.com
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Portrait of today's woman

by Christa Titus
Billboard

Since Tori Amos released her debut album, "Little Earthquakes," 15 years ago, the singer-pianist has usually examined life from other people's perspectives, be they fathers or mothers, gods or goddesses, artists or anarchists. One memorable turn was her 2001 album "Strange Little Girls," where she covered songs written by men -- like Slayer's "Raining Blood" -- to give them a female viewpoint.

Amos resumes the role of channeler with her latest CD, "American Doll Posse" (Epic), in which she examines women's place in society through the eyes of five personalities (Santa, Clyde, Isabel, Tori and Pip) who represent archetypes females are often compressed into, sometimes willingly, sometimes not.

Q. When did it become apparent that these were the five personalities that were coming out?

As [the songs] started to come alive, I could see how some songs were more associated with others. I began to be drawn to the idea of the patriarchy and what it's created over the last few thousand years, and how it's affecting all of us right now in its extreme form. ... I decided in order to really take the muzzle off, one that is invisible, as a woman, as an American woman at this time, I had to go back to the matriarchy before the monotheistic authority took power. So I went to the Greek tradition, and the girls began to align: one with Athena, one with Artemis, one with Aphrodite, one with Persephone and one with Demeter/Dionysis.

Q. It might be hard to narrow it down, but does one song sum up the album's concept?

With 23, it's kind of tricky. I think each girl would have one. ... I think to start the record with "Yo George" sets everything up. "Big Wheel" means very different things because of where it's situated, and then "Bouncing Off Clouds" after that. The order is very important. I did not make a record for iTunes. This is a double album. I mean, could you imagine telling William Faulkner, "OK, you get a chapter. That's all you get"?

Q. There are blogs for each woman that are "hidden" online.

I thought that it was really important through the project and through the touring, which lasts till mid-December, that along with the music, people can go online into this abstract world and communicate with these women. They have stories, and we follow their stories, which I thought was really important. I like the idea of a multimedia approach to this subject matter. Because I don't think that there has to be an end of the expression with the releasing of the album. I like the idea of, how would you say it, improvisation along the way. And I'm getting to know them more each day, I guess, as we're getting ready for the tour.

Q. And they're all supposed to be on the road with you?

Oh, they are on the road. They will all be on the road.

Q. Do they all get their own bus?

No, they get their own wardrobe. Buses are expensive.


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