Tori Amos’ 13th studio album features 14 of her original songs classically re-worked. They’re performed with the Metropole Orchestra and use new arrangements by long-time collaborator, John Philip Shenale. The tracks chosen span almost the entirety of Tori’s catalogue, including songs from her 1992 début album, Little Earthquakes, up until 2009′s Midwinter Graces.
This is a project that will mostly only appeal to Amos’ long-term fan base. The arrangements are beautiful and there are many magnificent moments throughout the album. The problem most fans will find with Gold Dust is not that it isn’t great; it’s just not as great as it could be.
One qualm most people will have is with the tracks that were selected for inclusion. It can’t be argued that these are some of Tori’s best and most revered songs, but it’s the lesser known tracks that Amos devotees salivate for. While the inclusion of fan favourites ‘Flying Dutchman’ and ‘Marianne’ will please many, other choices, such as ‘Jackie’s Strength’ and ‘Silent All These Years’, it is the third time Amos has released alternate versions of them on a compilation album. On her last tour, she gave classical twists to some unexpected songs such as ‘Cruel’, but does not take chances like that here. Instead, she has selected many songs that were already heavy with string arrangements in the first place, such as the title track. Most of the arrangements are kept extremely similar to the original structure of the song. Fans who were hoping for different variations of Amos’ original tracks will probably be disappointed at how similar they are.
There are also, however, many pleasing moments on the album that come unexpectedly. ‘Cloud On My Tongue’ is a jaw-dropper and ‘Marianne’ is a stunning surprise. Also, the new version of ‘Flavour’ is even more haunting and reflective than the original. One of Amos’ best and most loved songs, ‘Winter’, is redone with the beauty and grace that it deserves.