The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Amos’ ‘Posse’ reveals her intensity

Tori Amos has once again created an album that takes the listener deep within her personality. This time she experiments with showing the far reaches of herself; a politically aware woman, a sensualist, an artist and an optimist.

In “American Doll Posse,” Amos crafts a simultaneously delicate and powerful story of songs that encompasses the different facets of her personality.

Part of Amos’ marketing of the album included creating different personalities and giving them credit for certain songs according to their qualities. Amos poses as each character in the CD sleeve. She even went so far as to have blogs written for Tori, Pip, Isabel, Clyde and Santa online and encouraged listeners to find them. Although she refers to them as her posse, these are no Gwen Stefani rip-off harajuku girls.

Despite their differing identities, they all share a feminist commonality. Each is strong, smart and based on Greek goddesses.
As the listener progresses through the album, the subtle differences in style of each song are apparent and Amos’ strategy seems to work. But it is impossible to forget that they are all created by Amos. Even with each song being attributed to a different doll in her posse, it is obvious who all the dolls belong to.

Story continues below advertisement

In her past solo works Amos has been most noted for her strong feminist lyrics and extremely personal content.

“American Doll Posse” doesn’t disappoint in that regard, but it is definitely more political than her past efforts.

The first song, “Yo George,” is a direct hit to the jugular that sets an intense pace for the rest of the album. It is short and sarcastic lyrically, set to a minimalist piano background. The choppy piano behind her voice rings like a warning bell as she sings her disgust with George W. Bush. Although it is a mere 1:25 long, it proves plenty of time for Amos to artfully give the middle finger to the president.

In “Dark Side of the Sun,” Amos introduces the same topic, but in a less confrontational way. The song is noticeably softer and poppier and the lyrics less blunt, but still strongly political.

Instead of focusing specifically on George W., Amos centers this song on the futility of the war. She sings, “Is there a way out of this? If there is, I don’t see it.” The song continues to paint a very poignant portrait of the draining and often depressing effect the war has on people.

Despite her new political emphasis, Amos doesn’t forget her roots, with strongly female lyrics coming through in many songs. The seventh, eighth and ninth tracks form a feminist trifecta, each flowing effortlessly into the next, reminding fans of her earlier works. They congeal nicely into an oasis of tradition in the middle of an otherwise non-traditional style for her.

One of the biggest surprises on the album is “Big Wheel,” one of the singles released in the United States. It is upbeat and poppy, with virtually no spotlight on Amos’ amazing piano ability. With its distinctively country sound, this could easily be the latest radio single from Sheryl Crow if the vocals were sloppier. The song still has Amos’ unique style and quality but is certainly a turn from her typical brooding approach.

There are a few slow spots in “American Girl Posse,” places where Amos seems unsure and her songs seem out of place, like the bizarre “Velvet Revolution,” which sounds like it belongs at a bar mitzvah more than among her political hard hitters.

Despite these minimal shortfalls, Amos creates a beautiful and impressive album that won’t disappoint old fans and will certainly win her new ones. When compared with other female singer-songwriters that are making music right now, she stands head and shoulders above them.

“American Girl Posse” has a depth both lyrically and musically that is unparalleled. The great lengths Amos went to in creating her characters and their songs is apparent, as this album exemplifies her almost obsessive dedication to her work.

To further explore the American Doll Posse, read their blogs at Amos’ Web site, www.toriamos.com.

(4 out of 5 stars)

More to Discover