Alex Macpherson “My favourite album: Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel” http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/aug/12/tori-amos-from-choirgirl-hotel
Any artist who deals in catharsis risks having their output assessed solely through the prism of their biography. So it was throughout Tori Amos's career, with the coverage of 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel focusing on the miscarriage she suffered before recording it.
It's certainly not irrelevant. Amos's lyrics were always too oblique to be as straightforwardly confessional as her reputation indicated; her preference for fragmented poetry, wordplay and private references seemed at times to convey an impulse to hide rather than reveal. References to her miscarriage appear throughout From the Choirgirl Hotel, but rarely in a simple way.
From the Choirgirl Hotel is not a typical Amos album – that would be the more traditional singer-songwriter fare of Little Earthquakes. But it came in the centre of a stretch from 1996-99 during which she seemed to be pushing the form further out in every direction at once – more intense, more complex, more experimental – and, in pulling it off, becoming an even more powerful artist. Despite her largely unsung influence on today's singer-songwriters, both male and female, Amos's combination of conviction, catharsis and vision feels worlds away from the relatively timorous aesthetics of her followers, from Joanna Newsom to Bat for Lashes. There is still no one remotely like her.