Ocean To Ocean is the prodigal return of the pop-sounding Tori Amos who has been in hiding for far too many years, I was getting ready to file a missing diva report. I feel like her song “29 Years” is speaking to that part of me that’s been longing (for 29 years, I’ve been searching for you / 29 years, you, a most elusive truth) to finally have her back. Her past few albums have had an experimental sound but lacked that true Tori aura.
Anybody who wants to argue this point only needs to listen to “Spies” and they’ll realize just how right I am, as always, this is the sound her last few albums have been lacking. “Speaking With Trees” and “Devils Bane” have modernized her 90’s vibe, while “Flowers Burn To Gold” and “How Glass Is Made” could be B-sides from her 2002 album Scarlet’s Walk. Ocean To Ocean isn’t all sway-worthy tracks, Tori still brings a ballad like not many can. “Swim To New York State” and “Happy Birthday” are gorgeously decked out in their musical simplicity and hauntingly-full vocals.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Tori album without the tantalizingly tickled piano keys, topical lyrics weaved among Tori’s quirky mental-musings, and her flirty-fairy vocals with a hint of English class. In my gay opinion, it’s so good to have old-school, alt-pop princess Tori back on Ocean To Ocean. I’ve misssed the Tori who has been silent all these years.