I am one of those people. You know, that girl in college that always had Tori Amos playing. The one with the dyed red hair. I have no shame. I think this woman is a musical genius; and with my self-proclaimed Tori expertise, here is my ranking of her best-to-worst full-length, original (vs. compilation or best-of) albums.
  1. from the choirgirl hotel, 1998
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    the top two in this list are mind-blowingly good, but this wins by a nose. "liquid diamonds" is my favorite song of all time. "spark" is a knock-your-socks-off opener. the move from girl-and-piano to this was such a risk and it so totally pays off. brave, bold Tori. love.
  2. boys for pele, 1996
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    Tori served up exes to Pele and men around the world trembled in fear. Tori is transcendent here. I am in awe of her talent. "caught a lite sneeze" and "marianne" are just a couple examples.
  3. Scarlet's walk, 2002
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    I think Tori would consider this her masterpiece. It is understated in its power when compared to the "blood roses" of yesteryear, but it works. "Carbon" and "gold dust" are two of my all-time Tori favorites. The album art was on point.
  4. under the pink, 1994
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    my gateway into Tori. I read in an interview once that Tori described this album as an impressionist painting, and that is the absolute truth. passionate, elegant, evocative, masterful. "pretty good year" is an all-time favorite.
  5. little earthquakes, 1992
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    You can't be a Tori fan without kneeling at the alter of where it all began. Groundbreaking in ways beyond which Tori has been given proper credit. "mother" is a song I still frequently turn to when I'm feeling in over my head.
  6. strange little girls, 2001
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    oh, I love this album. what a concept for covers. her voice has never felt so raw, and the production is spot on. the art is amazing. the solo supporting tour is my favorite Tori tour ever. "rattlesnakes", "time" and "new age" are so good.
  7. to Venus and back, 1999
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    I was a bit let down with this one after the emotional journey of choirgirl. but I still love it, with gems like "spring haze" and "suede". it falls squarely in the era of really great Tori output.
  8. the beekeeper, 2005
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    this felt a bit safe after scarlet's walk. I was underwhelmed for the first time by Tori, and though this has grown on me, it is not near her former splendor. the title track is the stand-out.
  9. unrepentant geraldines, 2014
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    I can see glimpses of our old Tori again, at last. favorite tracks include "weatherman", "trouble's lament" and the bonus track "forest of glass".
  10. American doll posse, 2007
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    I was all for the idea of a rocking Tori, but so much of this felt forced. Tori wore different faces in strange little girls and it was compelling and intense. in this, the alter egos were a bit of an eye roll. stand-out track is "code red".
  11. night of hunters, 2011
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    this isn't something I listen to frequently, but it was a cool idea and nice to hear Tori's voice in good form again. my favorite tracks are "fearlessness", "edge of the moon" and the kooky "battle of trees" (how refreshing to see Tori could still be so weird!).
  12. abnormally attracted to sin, 2009
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    album covers say so much, right? it's hard for me to find the Tori I know and love in this cover, and through a lot of this album. it's a dark time period in the Tori fandom. decent tracks are "starling" and "fast horse".
  13. midwinter graces, 2009
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    nearly last for two unforgivable reasons: 1. cover with Botox zombie angel Tori; 2. "harps of gold". but! there are a couple songs on here I play each winter (e.g., "star of wonder", "winter's carol"), so it is a tiny bit okay.
  14. gold dust, 2012
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    orchestral interpretations of classics could have been amazing, but some odd song choices and very lackluster vocals left me feeling cold. I play nothing from this album; ergo, last place.