Amos’ debut was so ambitious and so impressive (if you can get by the histrionics) that I think the world might have been tempted to think there’s no way she can follow it up.
I haven’t listened to the debut in a while but, for me, I seem to remember it was a little too ambitious. Though I like it, I think part of me wanted to like it even more, but I was turned off a bit by the excess of ideas and a bit by the drama. But something has changed in, either I’ve become more used to her or she’s a better songwriter this time out.
Honestly I’m not sure which. I think Little Earthquakes is probably one of those records I’ll be calling a classic in a decade, but the first time I heard it, I wanted to overthink things and intellectualize my response. When I got more used to it, I still wanted to temper my enthusiasm for some reason. But when I read my old review, I don’t think that’s how I really feel. Anyway, all of this is to say that I worry I have underrated the debut, that it might be better than this record in some ways.
But this record is very good. I feel like her songwriting has diversified (at least a little) and probably improved. That or she’s not indulging quite as many impulses to be weird in the Kate Bush kind of way.
The arrangements certainly strike me as more diverse in comparison to the debut, and at least a few of them hint towards future paths she’d take later in the decade.
Anyway, the more I listen to her the more I feel like I’ve been ignoring one of the major voices of her time for no good reason.