This shout-out's been a long time coming. In a poem I wrote in 1999, I referred to Tori Amos "Our Lady of Tiny Red Terrors." She was "Our Lickable Mother." choirgirl hotel is still my favorite Tori Amos album. I love its aesthetics! It was her high-water mark, fashion-wise. Though, to digress, the fashion styling on the Boys For Pele album art (slim white jeans with beige tuxedo stripe, strappy black slip-ons from which her crimson toenails peep in the brougham/Talula photo) are nothing to sneeze at? And who didn't almost piss their pants at the vegetable-bulb-as-choker Crucify image?
But for choirgirl hotel, Tori got electronic for the first time. It was compelling and strange after Pele and the previous albums. On the album cover, hair floating up, she reminds me of nothing so much as a mermaid. She's just fuckin glamorous on the single covers for Cruel and Jackie's Strength maxi single. As a 23 year old living in Manhattan, I endlessly trawled Virgin and Tower, obsessed with these images. I was breathless at the glamorous ankle boots she wears in the Spark video. Of course, as Kevyn Aucoin, may he rest, would point out, Tori Amos has the greatest face: her bottom lip and the wise-looking span of her cheekbones are breath-taking.
The pedal-to-the-metal transformations of Strange Little Girls would have been impossible without the fashionability of choirgirl hotel. (Yeesh, the black dress she wears in the Strange Little Girl video is gorge, and her hair has a tad more blonde, if I remember correctly.) The Don't Make Me Come to Vegas single cover is probably the most perfect photo taken of Tori Amos.
But more than that: I believe images or Tori wouldn't be nearly as compelling if she weren't lousy with talent. I bought Strange Little Girls in 2001 out of torobligation, but realized listening to it again in 2004 that it's a superb album. I love Scarlet's Walk for A Sorta Fairytale--duh--but came to appreciate a track I usually skip when I let the cd play out last week. Our Lady rules.