Midwinter Graces


Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Midwinter Graces is 12 tracks long, a perfect length, and most of the production is spot-on.
  2. Amos sounds so tranquil she could almost be floating, but the stateliness of the orchestral backing keeps the songs grounded.
  3. Her latest release, Midwinter Graces, is a typically provocative-in the best possible way-entry in the yuletide canon.
  4. Midwinter Graces succeeds where so many other holiday classics fail miserably. I never thought I'd say this, but with Midwinter Graces, Amos has made a holiday album that deserves to sit alongside those classics that you'll actualy listen to this winter.
  5. Thanks to some familiar melodies, it can sometimes seem seasonally appropriate, but it always seems purely Tori, who has somehow managed to deliver an easy listening version of all her signatures in one tidy, not so-Christmasy, package.
  6. As a subversion of religious themes, Midwinter misses the mark entirely; as a traditional holiday album courtesy of one of Christianity's most astute pop cultural critics, it's an ironic, pleasantly competent oddity.
  7. Perhaps where Midwinter Graces suffers most is that it will be resigned to the world of the holiday album, making brief appearances from only late November to early January, garnering at most a passing mention the rest of the year. At the very least, though, it is a holiday record that will be remembered once a year.
  8. Q Magazine
    If Bob Dylan can do it, so can Tori Amos, whose own nod to the festive season, Midwinter Graces, is a rather more palatable, ornately arranged selection of self-penned songs and such carols as Star Of wonder and Emmanuel. [Jan 2010, p. 126]
  9. Amos fails to find an entryway into these songs that justifies her willingness to bury her personality inside them, ending up with a well-meaning but ultimately inessential vanity project.
  10. Filter
    Amos said she wanted to reclaim the songs from religious appropriations, but in the end, she just barely save us all from complete shame. [Holiday 2009, p. 98]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. KrissyG
    Nov 26, 2009
    With "Midwinter Graces", Tori Amos has finally put her ability to crank out the product on full force in a year that also saw the release of With "Midwinter Graces", Tori Amos has finally put her ability to crank out the product on full force in a year that also saw the release of her fourth consecutive double-album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin. Amos's ability to craft a good melody is best put to work on tracks like "Winter's Carol", an Amos original from an upcoming musical, or "Holly, Ivy, and Rose", a duet with her daughter that incorporates Amos' writing into the traditional carol, "The Holly and the Ivy". If only years ago she had joined forces with a screenwriter to create an inspired Disney musical, Amos could have produced a work fitting of her unique compositional ability. Instead, Amos falls prey to the fashion of her pop persona and drowns her songs in fastidiously cliched MOR production in a pitch for perfection ("Harps of Gold"), resulting in an album that will remain unnoticed and unbought for many Christmases to come. Full Review »
  2. elly
    Nov 26, 2009
    The only christmas-themed album which I would listen to all year long. It's always nice to hear Tori sing some pretty songs I love her voice.
  3. Dec 27, 2011
    Most Tori Amos music is for a particular ear. You're not likely to hear many of her singles on your local top 40-based radio station. ButMost Tori Amos music is for a particular ear. You're not likely to hear many of her singles on your local top 40-based radio station. But MIDWINTER GRACES, Tori's eleventh studio recording, is an album for everyone. Tori's take on the seasonal theme is a huge and surprising winner. There's little controversy here. Unlike some of her earlier releases, she doesn't mention drugs (FROM THE CHOIRGIRL HOTEL) or Satan (BOYS FOR PELE) or masturbation (UNDER THE PINK), but for once, that's a good thing in an Amos recording.

    Aside from the simple and beautiful "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night)" -- available on the deluxe version -- there are no traditional songs on this record. A handful are Amos-penned originals, while most are creative medleys or re-imagined versions of classic carols.

    The album opens with the majestic "What Child, Nowell," featuring the return of the harpsichord, which was so expertly used on Tori's third album, BOYS FOR PELE. It's followed by one of the album's best tracks, "Star of Wonder" -- a fantastic reworking of "We Three Kings." Both tracks will please Tori-first-timers and Tori-fanatics alike. As will the climactic Amos original "Winter's Carol (from THE LIGHT PRINCESS)", which celebrates the winter solstice.

    One can hardly imagine that the woman who sang the story of her own violent rape in "Me and a Gun" on LITTLE EARTHQUAKES and raged against secular religion in songs like "God" and "Crucify" could treat Christmas classics with such care and reverence without seeming like she's double-dealing. However, Tori shines on her reworkings of Christian standards "Candle: Coventry Carol" and "Emmanuel."

    The most remarkable thing about this record is that Tori succeeds in delivering a truly seasonal record yet you would not feel out of place listening to Amos-written originals like the romantic "A Silent Night with You" or the big band number "Pink and Glitter" or the radio-friendly "Snow Angel" at any time of the year.

    MIDWINTER GRACES carries itself with a dignity that many holiday albums don't manage. "Our New Year" is an emotional tribute to loss, while "Comfort and Joy" -- available on the deluxe version -- is classic, introspective Tori.

    No one should be without a copy of MIDWINTER GRACES this holiday season.
    Full Review »