Tori Amos

With Howie Day. Tuesday, November 27, at the State Theatre.

Dan Savage Borders Books and Music, 3466 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights 7 p.m. Saturday, November 23; free; 216-291-8605.
Tori Amos
Tori Amos
From the adoring to the despising to the indifferent, we can all agree on this: Tori Amos is loonball crazy. She's obsessed with fairies. She does creepy-ass film noir covers of Eminem songs. She makes unbelievably cryptic statements in interviews ("When it's your own work and you're the mother of it, the DNA adds up, and there's a certain genetic bond you have with your own song children"). In word and deed, she is undoubtedly a burrito short of a combo meal.

We like her this way. Amos is at her best when she's at her most bizarre and pretentious. Reduced to her voice and piano, Amos can unload eerie tunes ("Winter," for example, off her debut Little Earthquakes) that'll bomb you back to the Stone Age. These days, though, she's tryin' the full-band, important-cultural-statement thing. Her new one, Scarlet's Walk, crams all manner of instrumentation and lyrical ephemera into 18 tracks.

We'll leave Toriphiles to sort out the post-September 11 thematic implications -- all we know is there's a few decent songs here, but it's far too middle-of-the-road. The fewer rock-goddess trappings and signs of sanity she displays, the better. Like your psycho ex-girlfriend in reverse.

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