From the Choirgirl Hotel

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from the choirgirl hotel
FromTheChoirgirl.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 5, 1998
RecordedSeptember 1997 – February 1998
StudioMartian Engineering, Cornwall, England
Length54:11
LabelAtlantic
ProducerTori Amos
Tori Amos chronology
Boys for Pele
(1996)
from the choirgirl hotel
(1998)
To Venus and Back
(1999)
Singles from 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 (stylized in lowercase) is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos, released on May 5, 1998. A departure from her previous albums, it was more a heavily produced project featuring elements of electronic music and a full rock band sound (instead of Amos's usual minimalist piano sound). The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 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] As of 2008 it has sold 778,000 copies in US.[2][failed verification] In 1999, Amos received two 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.[3] 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.[4]

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. 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.[5]

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.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
Chicago Sun-Times3.5/4 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[9]
The Guardian4/5 stars[10]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[11]
NME6/10[12]
Pitchfork6.7/10[13]
Q4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[15]
Spin8/10[16]

"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.[14] "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."[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Tori Amos.

No.TitleLength
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]

Like Amos's previous Atlantic albums, several songs recorded during the From the Choirgirl Hotel sessions were released as b-sides, and introduced into Amos's live performance repertoire. "Cooling," "Never Seen Blue," and "Beulah Land" were originally written and recorded for 1996's Boys for Pele album. Several tracks from a demo CD for the album leaked online in 2010, including "Violet's Eyes".[17] Parts of this song evolved into "Almost Rosey" and "Miracle" from 2007's American Doll Posse.

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

Personnel[edit]

with:

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[33] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Garth Boxes in Billboard 200's Top Slot". Billboard. May 14, 1998. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  2. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. December 29, 2006. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Vital Tori article from She Magazine in the UK – December 2003".
  5. ^ "Tori, British Airways Highlife Magazine". May 1998. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "HEREINMYHEAD.COM – artistic expressions – katerina jebb profile". Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "From the Choirgirl Hotel – Tori Amos". AllMusic. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  8. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (April 30, 1998). "Tori Amos, 'from the choirgirl hotel'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  9. ^ Browne, David (May 4, 1998). "From the Choirgirl Hotel". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (May 1, 1998). "Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel (eastwest)". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Scribner, Sara (May 3, 1998). "A True Renegade Cavorts on Amos' 'Choirgirl Hotel'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (May 1998). "Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on March 17, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Aizlewood, John (June 1998). "Tori Amos: From the Choirgirl Hotel". Q (141).
  15. ^ Hunter, James (April 16, 1998). "From The Choirgirl Hotel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  16. ^ Vowell, Sarah (June 1998). "Original Sinner". Spin. 14 (6): 127. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  17. ^ "Tori Amos – Violet's Eyes (demo)". July 8, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2012 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  19. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "Tori Amos Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  25. ^ "Charts.nz – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  26. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  27. ^ 16, 1998/40/ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  30. ^ "Tori Amos | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  31. ^ "Tori Amos Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  32. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1998". Billboard. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  33. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". Music Canada.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type From the Choirgirl Hotel in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  35. ^ "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.