I remember being introduced to this disc when it was first released by a girl I worked with (and had a major crush on) at a music store back in my college days. I was a metalhead and was just beginning to really branch out and diversify my listening tastes, and of course I was attracted by the dolled-up, sword-wielding Tori Amos on the cover.
The album was critically butchered upon its release, most notably by Billboard magazine. So bad was the press for Y Kant Tori Read‘s first and only album, that Atlantic records deleted it within 6 months of its release. Tori Amos herself avoids discussing the album as it brings back a traumatic part of her life, chronicled on the chilling “Me and a Gun” from her magnificent ‘Little Earthquakes’ CD.
It’s a shame, really, as the songs are really quite good. If you can look past the cheesy imagery of the cover and the over-produced nature of the music, you’ll find many of the intimate elements that would bring Tori Amos much-deserved success on ‘Little Earthquakes’ and subsequent releases.
“The Big Picture” and “Cool On Your Island” admittedly have more in common sound-wise with Pat Benatar than Kate Bush, while possessing far more intimacy and vulnerablility than Benatar ever showed us on her recordings. At times, you could say it’s a guilty pleasure.
“Floating City” has just a mesmerizing chorus, and album closer “Etienne Trilogy” begins to hint at the direction she would ultimately follow. Throughout this disc, Tori Amos’ voice sweetly finds its way to the front of the mix, most majestically on the aformentioned “Etienne Trilogy,” ultimately proving that the critics who so mercilessly slagged this album weren’t able to get past her image on the cover.
Is it Tori Amos’ best work? No. Was it deserving of its critical slaying? No. Is it deserving of a good listen by you? Yes.
Rating: 4 out of 5