Reworking old songs isn’t something new for Tori Amos, after the remastering of Tales of a Librarian and to a further extend the boxset A Piano. This time she’s taken a collection of tracks and given them the fully orchestrated treatment.
The track selection covers the majority of Tori’s career and whilst sometimes the tracks really aren’t too different from the originals, they do all feel like they’ve been given a fresh lick of paint. “Flavor” is the track that has been absolutely re imagined from a spacious slow electro pop track into a sombre reflective symphony. It really suits the song and gives it a completely different light. It’s the fact that the rest of the album isn’t nearly as daring with its choices and compositions that is the shame really. “Yes, Anastasia” is cut in half, as it usually is when played live. This cuts right to the chase where the strings pound in with the original and so it almost feels like a new song. “Jackie’s Strength” feels more regal without any of the guitars and chugging strings – this version is more pretty. “Cloud On My Tongue” feels much stronger and foreboding with a deeper orchestration – it feels like a real improvement. “Precious Things” meanwhile is a very welcome chameleon effort with strings replacing the guitars increasing the drama to fever pitch even when sung in a lower octave. “Gold Dust” loses none of its potency either but its inclusion, while beautiful, confuses me as I was under the impression it was originally orchestrated!
“Star of Wonder” is a wonderful inclusion with its twisting string arrangement and general bouncing and Middle Eastern vibe. “Winter” again is still as heartfelt, as is “Flying Dutchman” which finally gets its time to shine on a full release. “Programmable Soda” is cute, as is “Snow Cherries From France” which is improved purely by giving it a little extra space to breathe. “Marianne” is powerfully arranged and is a wonderful alternative version, whilst “Silent All These Years” is a little more melancholy than before. The closer on the deluxe edition is “Girl Disappearing” which too has more of an emotive and explosive ending.
I think Gold Dust will be a great addition for fans and for any new fans that came onboard via “Night of Hunters” and are after a classical side to Tori. I hope the CD does well as I’ve a feeling an album of some really daring choices would make for a much more interesting and unique CD but “Gold Dust” as is, is a great reminder that she has been a powerhouse for 20 years and none of that magic is lost.