Reviewed by: Lara Supan
Tori Amos delivers an entirely new take on the winter season!
Through a diverse collection of traditional Christmas song mashups and original lyrics, Tori Amos has created a timeless compilation of winter focused gems. From the first harpsichord and percussion focused tune “What Child, Nowell”, to the big band blowout “Pink and Glitter”, Amos covers an impressive field of genres, instrumentation and subject matter. Even with the vast dissimilarity across the album, Amos threads them all together with her ethereal vocals and quirky sense of time.
By far the most stand out piece on Midwinter Graces is her old-timey big band number “Pink and Glitter”. With most of the album being an intelligent and thought-provoking mix of traditional Christmas songs, the original lyrics of “Pink and Glitter” shine as much as the classic jazz orchestration. “Holly, Ivy and Rose”, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is a remarkable mashup of the songs “The Holly and the Ivy” and “Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming”. The song starts with a straight verse from “Lo How a Rose” and then transforms seamlessly into the chorus of “Holly and the Ivy”. Complete with beautifully orchestrated strings, unique percussion, and guest artist Natashya Hawley singing answer vocals, this song is captivating to say the least and does a perfect job encompassing a cold winter feeling without being bleak.
Even though this album was released in 2009, Tori Amos has a sound impervious to the sands of time. This beautiful set of tunes will have you in the Christmas, or at least winter, spirit in no time.