-Easily better than Abnormally Attracted to Sin. No question.
-The most obvious influence on it to my ears is the The Light Princess; it's campy but self-aware, complex but straightforward, and ambitious
-"Giant's Rolling Pin" is more "Programmable Soda" than "Not Dying Today"
-"Oysters" is simply incredible
-The title track is a beast. It weaves in and out of so many different styles.
America: Sprightly, and reminded me of "Virginia." The personification of America is interesting; "She takes herself to night school" made me double take. There's a "Starling"-esque breakdown but I didn't cringe. The ending was pure Scarlet's Walk, and this is the first example of a song from this record that will sound perfect solo.
Wild Way: Loved the piano on it. The lyrics are some of her most straightforward to date. Not too fussed otherwise, doubt it'll have many fans.
Wedding Day: I adore this song. One of the ones I listened to twice. It has an absolutely gorgeous melody and the folky/Americana sound works so well. It has a darker feel and was one of the first instances where I started noticing how the album has a musical quality to it. Solo this will be amazing.
Weatherman: The first of a group of songs that puts this album ahead of her material from the last few years. There's haunting piano and a gorgeous echo effect on her voice. Definitely "Garlands"-esque, and there's hints of Scarlet and the better moments from The Beekeeper. I wrote down "High notes!"
16 Shades of Blue: A truly bizarre song. It maintains the dark mood set by "Weatherman," but takes it in a bitter, cynical direction. The lyrics are straightforward (some may find them pretty clunky). The production is all over the place, and I think its to the songs detriment. There are some great effects used on her voice, like a fuzzy megaphone effect, and some elements that slip in and out of the mix. There is just too much going on, like someone kept pressing buttons and didn't know when to stop.
Maids of Elfen-mere: This would have sounded at home on Night of Hunters. Also hints of "Devils and Gods." It's celtic, renaissance-feeling but it's definitely one that goes in one ear and out the other.
Promise: Given that Tash seems to be public enemy number 1 around here, I doubt many will change their opinion of the song in its full form. Personally, I really like the melody here, and Tash sounds truly lovely. The organ is the highlight of this song, though. There are some brilliant moments at the end where she plays higher notes on the organ and Tash emulates them? It's hard to explain.
Giant's Rolling Pin: With all the hate and fear, I expected so much worse. This is a silly song that knows its silly. It's not "Not Dying Today," because it's more self aware of its whimsical quality. There's a tuba, which adds to the whimsy. I won't return to it nor do I need to hear it live, but it's really not as offensive as you think.
Unrepentant Geraldines: Much like "16 Shades of Blue," I'm not sure how to tap into this song. It was another one I listened through twice because there is just so much going on. During one verse, my face was contorted in confusion. Then it would shift into something more melodic that seriously sounded like a Little Earthquakes-era melody. Some parts reminded me of "Witness" because there's a sensual groove provided by the organ. I also heard echoes of "Father's Son" during one of the slower parts. Suddenly, she whips out the best piano part of the entire record! Feverish playing and bass notes. It's ridiculous! Then the final 2 minutes are solo piano featuring impressive high notes.
Oysters: This was my first time hearing the song, as I've resisted the shitty leak. So glad to agree with everyone that its one of the best things she's done since the 90s, and it simply ranks up there. Everything about it; the piano, the melody, her voice, the lyrics - this is Tori Amos. At the same time, it doesn't feel like a retread. I'd love to see her focus on what makes this song magical and turn it into a full album.
Rose Dover: I need to listen to this one again. Another song that felt a tad discombobulated. There's loops and keyboards, and parts have an industrial quality. There's a dreamy-sounding post chorus, too. Overall, I could hear it on American Doll Posse.
Invisible Boy: This will rank in the top tier for people. It's a truly beautiful song in the vein of Toast but this feels even more raw. You can hear her breathing, and towards the end you can even hear her voice break. It's obviously one close to her heart based on her delivery. My notes say: Lullaby, sparse, breathing, 90s b-side."