From the Choirgirl Hotel

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From the Choirgirl Hotel
FromTheChoirgirl.jpg
Studio album by Tori Amos
Released May 5, 1998
Recorded September 1997 – February 1998
Martian Engineering, Cornwall England
Length 57:00
Label Atlantic
Producer Tori Amos
Tori Amos chronology
Boys for Pele
(1996)
From the Choirgirl Hotel
(1998)
To Venus and Back
(1999)
Singles from the Choirgirl Hotel
  1. "Spark"
    Released: April 20, 1998
  2. "Jackie's Strength"
    Released: September 15, 1998
  3. "Cruel/Raspberry Swirl"
    Released: November 24, 1998

From the Choirgirl Hotel is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos. A departure from her previous albums, it was more a heavily-produced project featuring a full rock band sound (instead of Amos's usual minimalist piano sound). Upon its release in May 1998, the album debuted at number 5 in the US and number 6 in the UK. While falling short of the number 2 debut for her previous album, Boys for Pele (1996), From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos's strongest debut to date in US sales, selling 153,000 copies in the first week.[1] Amos received two 1999 Grammy nominations: Alternative Music Performance, and Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Raspberry Swirl".

The lead single "Spark" became a hit after its release in June 1998 (becoming her last UK Top 40 hit to date, as well as her highest charting US single, reaching number 49), and was followed by "Jackie's Strength" (September 1998) and "Cruel/Raspberry Swirl" (November 1998).

The accompanying tour, Amos's first with a full band (using the album's personnel of Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and long-time collaborator Steve Caton on guitar), was known as the "Plugged '98 Tour" and took Amos through most of 1998.

Album description[edit]

The album began recording in September, 1997, with mastering complete by early February 1998.[2] Following the trend set by 1996's Boys For Pele, Amos allowed several songs from the album to be remixed. Remixes of both "Raspberry Swirl" and "Jackie's Strength" were club hits. The album's theme dealt very closely with the first two in Amos's series of three miscarriages between 1996 and 1999.[3]

Thematically and conceptually, the "choirgirl hotel" of the title refers to the fictional, imaginary place where the songs "live." Amos pointed out that although the songs are recorded, they are also alive themselves - they can be re-modeled and reshaped in concert etc. Amos imagined the songs as living their own lives, all checking into the "choirgirl hotel" (i.e. the album) but living separate lives. In the artwork, Amos included a hand-drawn map detailing the stomping ground of these songs.[4]

The album artwork was created by the UK-based photographer, Katerina Jebb. The artwork features full-body color photocopies of Amos (in various couture outfits) as scanned by a human-sized photocopier.[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly B+[8]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[9]
NME 6/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 6.7/10[11]
Q 4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[14]
Spin 8/10[15]

"The kookiness isn't dominant, she's stopped the attention-seeking lyrics almost completely and, yes, her pianos don't try to be guitars too often," enthused John Aizlewood in Q.[12] "At last, she's putting the songs first and the band-led From the Choirgirl Hotel is, by any reasonable yardstick, a glorious coming of age."[12]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Tori Amos. 

No. Title Length
1. "Spark"   4:13
2. "Cruel"   4:07
3. "Black-Dove (January)"   4:38
4. "Raspberry Swirl"   3:58
5. "Jackie's Strength"   4:26
6. "i i e e e"   4:07
7. "Liquid Diamonds"   6:21
8. "She's Your Cocaine"   3:42
9. "Northern Lad"   4:19
10. "Hotel"   5:19
11. "Playboy Mommy"   4:08
12. "Pandora's Aquarium"   4:45
13. "Purple People" (Japanese edition bonus track) 4:12

B-sides[edit]

The album, as with most of Amos's albums, is also known for its collection of original b-sides. Amos recorded a host of songs that did not make the album, but were released as b-sides to various singles or performed live in concerts. The songs "Cooling," "Never Seen Blue," and "Beulah Land" were originally written and recorded for 1996's Boys for Pele album. In 2010, several tracks from a demo CD for the album leaked online, including a new track entitled "Violet's Eyes".[16] Parts of this song were included in two tracks on 2007's American Doll Posse, "Almost Rosey" and "Miracle".

B-side title Single
"Purple People" "Spark" (1998)
"Bachelorette"
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" "Spark" (UK CD1) (1998)
"Do It Again" "Spark" (UK CD2) (1998)
"Cooling" "Spark" (UK CD2) (1998) (Recorded during Boys for Pele sessions)
"Never Seen Blue" "Jackie's Strength" (US) (1998) (Recorded during Boys for Pele sessions)
"Beulah Land"
"Merman" No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees (1998)
"Violet's Eyes" unreleased, leaked in 2010

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[17] 8
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[18] 11
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[19] 13
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[20] 10
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[21] 24
French Albums (SNEP)[22] 30
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[23] 13
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[24] 26
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[25] 9
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 26
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 31
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 6
US Billboard 200[29] 5

Singles[edit]

Title Chart Position
"Spark" (1998) US Modern Rock Tracks 13
UK Singles Chart 16
Canadian Hot 100 25
US Adult Top 40 32
Irish Singles Chart 35
US Billboard Hot 100 49
Australian Singles Chart 50
US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales 61
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 65
"Jackie's Strength" (remix) (1999) US Hot Dance Music/Club Play 01
US Billboard Maxi-Singles 05
"Jackie's Strength" (1998–99) Canadian Hot 100 12
US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales 33
US Billboard Hot 100 54
"Raspberry Swirl" (1998) Canadian Hot 100 20
Australian Singles Chart 57
"Raspberry Swirl/Cruel" (1998) US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales 38

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[30] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] Platinum 1,000,000^
Summaries

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Garth Boxes In Billboard 200's Top Slot". Billboard. 1998-05-14. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. ^ http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul98/articles/toriamos.html
  3. ^ "Vital Tori article from She Magazine in the UK - December 2003". 
  4. ^ "Tori, British Airways Highlife Magazine,". May 1998. 
  5. ^ "HEREINMYHEAD.COM - artistic expressions - katerina jebb profile". Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "From the Choirgirl Hotel – Tori Amos". AllMusic. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  8. ^ Browne, David (May 4, 1998). "From the Choirgirl Hotel". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ Scribner, Sara (May 3, 1998). "A True Renegade Cavorts on Amos' 'Choirgirl Hotel'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ Segal, Victoria (May 2, 1998). "Tori Amos – Songs From The Choirgirl Hotel". NME. Archived from the original on October 2, 2000. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  11. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (May 1, 1998). "Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Aizlewood, John (June 1998). "Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel". Q (141). 
  13. ^ Hunter, James (April 16, 1998). "From The Choirgirl Hotel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  15. ^ Vowell, Sarah (June 1998). "Original Sinner". Spin. 14 (6): 127. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Tori Amos - Violet's Eyes (demo)". YouTube. 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  17. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  20. ^ "Tori Amos – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Tori Amos. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  22. ^ "Lescharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  28. ^ "Tori Amos | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  29. ^ "Tori Amos – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Tori Amos. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Music Canada. 
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter From the Choirgirl Hotel in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  32. ^ "American album certifications – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH