Midwinter Graces - Tori Amos
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Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Summary: The latest album for the singer-songwriter is 12 tracks (14 on the deluxe edition or 15 with the iTunes bonus track) of traditional and original holiday songs.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Amos sounds so tranquil she could almost be floating, but the stateliness of the orchestral backing keeps the songs grounded.
  2. Midwinter Graces is 12 tracks long, a perfect length, and most of the production is spot-on.
  3. Her latest release, Midwinter Graces, is a typically provocative-in the best possible way-entry in the yuletide canon.
  4. 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.
  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. 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]
  7. 48
    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]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. elly
    Nov 26, 2009
    10
    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.
  2. RobynH
    Dec 6, 2009
    10
    This is beautiful!
  3. SamK
    Dec 3, 2009
    9
    A lush, wintery, melancholy album that is the perfect antitode to sterile Xmas pop. While "Harps of Gold" is absolutely awful, she makes up for it with the last two tracks "Winter's Carol" and "Our New Year," two of the best songs she has ever written. Expand
  4. Dec 27, 2011
    9
    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. 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.
    Expand
  5. CoolFace
    Nov 27, 2009
    7
    The faults of her last 4 albums are absent - the right amount of tracks, no filler, mostly piano, return of the harpsichord, and not bad production either. Who'd have thought the dreaded christmas album would prove to be her best since Scarlet's Walk. Expand
  6. KrissyG
    Nov 26, 2009
    2
    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. Collapse