Amos Explores Her Dark Side
To say that Tori Amos’s latest album is a modern piano nocturne is not enough. “Night of Hunters” truly evokes a feeling of disquieting darkness, and attempts to join the ranks of the classic nocturnes of Mozart and Chopin.
Amos moves through the night in each track on the album, in more than one figurative sense: while her whimsical songs suggest her exploring a forest on a dark, snowy night, her powerful lyrics and emotion perform a dual role of showing how Amos has come through the darkness in her personal life.
Amos, who was a victim of sexual assault, has often dealt with dark topics in her long musical career. In this, her twelfth album, she sings about a woman’s search to find relevance and a voice in a tumultuous relationship, crooning, “Why do we women give ourselves away, we give ourselves away thinking somehow that will make him want to stay.”
This album should be listened to in full to get the desired effect. There will likely be no radio hits off “Night of Hunters,” because the album is a personal journey that Amos allows the listener to join her on.
It opens with “Shattering Sea,” a churning, quick-paced song with racing strings, and Amos’ urgent, low voice as well as her signature piano. Many of the songs have a quality about them that is dark, yet quirky, almost reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s better work in a Tim Burton film. The album continues in similar themes and musical arrangements, gradually slowing down as the dawn approaches in the instrumental and powerfully upbeat “Seven Sisters” and finally in “Carry.”
Amos is joined by her 11-year-old daughter Natashya on several of the album’s tracks, and the talent for song has clearly been passed mother to daughter. Amos is the earth mother to Natashya’s questioning, innocent voice. Their duets are eerie, but beautiful.
The combination of Amos’ voice and music paints a fantastical picture, full of mystery and the supernatural, yet her lyrics are grounded in the reality of a human relationship. “Night of Hunters” is nothing short of breathtaking if the listener will only sit back and listen as the journey unfolds.
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org