Album review: Tori Amos – Ocean to Ocean
Sweet reverie ballads
Tori Amos Ocean to Ocean is a sweet collection of sounds that resonate with authenticity, vulnerability and longevity. Amos explores personal themes of conflict and pain, finding ways not only to overcome them, but also to change them to music.
“Addition of Light Divided” welcomes listeners to the world of Amos, filled with serene piano keys, travel-ready guitar strings, uplifted strings and mellow vibrato vocals. Themes of ‘broken’ and the act of ‘breaking’ are manipulated by puns, shifting the connotation of feeling ‘broken’ to a positive transition of ‘breaking up’.[ing] that chain of pain.
Amos explores grief on “Speaking With Trees”, a touching song that channels a heavy electric guitar. The use of the electric guitar seems to speak for itself, echoing dynamically over Amos’ elegant voice, perhaps as a representation of the hardship of overcoming loss. While there are different ways of dealing with loss, some turning to vices, some turning to substances, some turning to friends, and some excluding them altogether, Amos copes by falling on nature. The song personifies nature as a separate entity, taking the form of a guardian. Nature is “in mourning with me”, while Amos hides the ashes of her loved one “under the treehouse”, which nature “will protectâ¦ I am sure of it”. The last verse of the song is particularly punchy: âFeel their arms around you, feel their arms around me. Despite the loss, Amos is still able to live an experience shared with his loved one, transcending societal regularities and having faith in the universal feeling of Nature.
“Swim to New York State” evolves with fast movements and emotions, with slippery ropes and similar themes to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. Amos would take the plunge and “swim to New York State” to spend a day with the person he misses. Amos delves deeper into a role as a narrator on “Spies,” a fairytale-like track to tell children before bed. Amos creates a world of safety and comfort with his concept of spies who watch and watch over us, similar to the archetypal nature guardian in “Speaking With Trees”. Along with an ethereal synth that sets the song’s fantasized tone, Amos’ vocal delivery is smooth and elegant. In particular, its delivery of the word “spies” adds a certain spice to the song, sounding sweet and careful.
The title song, “Ocean to Ocean”, echoes thematic depths of water. The bass drums sound submerged and a buzzing synth sounds like a whale call. The title seems to take on a double meaning; it is a warning about the dangers our world faces but also a reminder that on the same scale, kindness can extend from coast to coast. Amos denounces the selfish behavior of people and their desire for gain at the expense of our world. As she expresses these themes, a deep bass vibrates with a sense of pessimism, but is immediately followed by soft touches that sound upbeat as Amos reassures listeners by saying “There’s a way to go. to go out”.
“Metal Water Wood” channels frolicking touches and lush vocals with the poetic lyricism of three opposing substances, metal, water and wood, converging into a unified body. “29 Years” takes on a gritty feel, with slippery guitar riffs, weak vocals and culturally rich references to folklore and mythological characters. Similar to the resilient influence of these characters, who have been rooted in our history and culture, Amos explores the gradual process of finding peace, healing, and breaking away from pains and burdens. “How Glass Is Made” is sleek and smooth, lyrically vulnerable and thematically in tune with the slow, translucent process of sand-to-glass transition. âBirthday Babyâ closes the album with sultry strings and densely packed keys, which come together to form a fast groove as Amos reassures listeners: âDon’t be afraid of tango alone. “
The melodies of Ocean to Ocean, mixed with themes ranging from mourning to the search for peace, recall the potential to find a balance with the softer sides of life. The project resonates with the rich vibe of mellow instruments and delicate voice of Amos over a heavy dose of storytelling through lyricism – a skill upon which Amos thrives, transforming the project into a cohesive collection of adventure and d self-exploration.
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