1998, Music

From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998) by Tori Amos

I have only ever previously heard one Tori Amos album, her debut. So when I first listened to this there was just a little bit of shock that it didn’t sound like my expectations.

It’s pretty much just the production that is the shock, though, as with a few listens it’s pretty clear that she’s the same compelling songwriter and compelling performer.

I can’t speak to whether the songs are better here than on other albums as I’ve only heard, one other, as I said, but I feel like this is pretty good set of songs: as always her sense of melody is strong enough but its the song-structures that are often more compelling, as she definitely plays around with convention a bit. She continues to be a strong lyricist.

Arguably her performances here are more self-assured than ever, which is probably the thing that won me over initially when I wasn’t sure if I liked this record. Regardless of whether or not its a good set of songs, or what you think of the production, she her performances here are all compelling.

About that production: what I initially thought was annoyingly contemporary and modern has ingratiated itself finally. This is a relatively bold left turn (so I understand) and I will say that it sounds a lot better today than a lot of other albums recorded with “modern” production in 1998. (I suspect I am listening to a remaster.)

I really like it.


All tracks written by Tori Amos.

  1. “Spark” 4:13
  2. “Cruel” 4:07
  3. “Black-Dove (January)” 4:38
  4. “Raspberry Swirl” 3:58
  5. “Jackie’s Strength” 4:26
  6. “i i e e e” 4:07
  7. “Liquid Diamonds” 6:21
  8. “She’s Your Cocaine” 3:42
  9. “Northern Lad” 4:19
  10. “Hotel” 5:19
  11. “Playboy Mommy” 4:08
  12. “Pandora’s Aquarium” 4:45
  • Tori Amos – keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Caton – acoustic and electric guitar; mandolin on “Black-Dove (January)”
  • George Porter Jr., Justin Meldal-Johnsen – bass
  • Matt Chamberlain – drums; marimba on “Cruel”
  • Andy Gray – programming


  • Stewart Boyle – guitar on “Northern Lad”
  • Willy Porter – guitar on “Playboy Mommy”
  • Al Perkins – steel guitar on “Playboy Mommy”
  • Sinfonia of London – on “Jackie’s Strength”, conducted by David Firman, strings arranged by John Philip Shenale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.