01. Tori Amos albums always start with something indicative, even if you least suspect that it truly is. The reverberating wurlitzer starts Strange Little Girls in a cloud of forlorn restlessness, but the first chorus of “New Age” tells us what this album is really about… pairing those glowing chords with quick stabs at an electric guitar that sound displaced by three decades or more. After coming out of this first harrowing experience of Tori’s new sound… sans piano, sans Caton, electrictrified and sleepy but so very vital, the tiny muted drum thump that follows is just carrying us forward to the next phrase. This all builds as Tori intones “I’ll come running to you if you want me” and the guitar begins squawking and barking as if the notes are squelching out of the sides of the neck rather than the pickup.
Suddenly, this unassuming song is proclaiming “the beginning of a new age” and Tori is riding the top of the wave, her voice rising to dominate the entire arrangement and carry it with her. And we are off.