Reviewed on this page:

A few years before her rebirth as an arty alt-rock demigoddess in 1992, Tori Amos recorded an album in 1988 called Y Kant Tori Read. This evidently was also the name of the band; Ms. Amos is billed only as "Tori" in the credits. The title is reportedly a joking reference to the talented pianist's inability to read sheet music. Other musicians who participated in the recording include at least two of her future cohorts (guitarist Steve Caton and Brazilian percussionist Paulinho Da Costa) as well as Matt Sorum (then-drummer for the Cult and later for Guns N' Roses and its offshoots), Steve Farris (former Mr. Mister guitarist), jazz musicians Peter White and Tim Landers, and one Zobbin Rander (clearly a pseudonym for Cheap Trick vocalist Robin Zander). Amos has disowned the album, and Atlantic has kept it out of print reportedly at her request. That's a smart move for both parties. Although a reissue might be profitable, the album would disappoint her fans, and would be a too-visible embarrassment to her catalogue.

The music of Y Kant Tori Read bears little resemblance to anything that Amos has done since. Although her Kate Bush-like vocals are recognizable, the only songs that suggest her future piano-dominated style are "Fire On The Side" (a song about adultery), the opening seconds of "Heart Attack At 23", and bits and pieces of the "Etienne Trilogy" that closes the album. The rest of the songs are reminiscent of several '80's female pop-rock acts (i.e. Heart, Bonnie Tyler, Vixen) with a few borrowed stylings from Robert Plant's solo albums. There are occasional signs of Tori's future persona trying to break out, but too many of the clumsily overproduced tracks are bogged down in redundant synthesizer noise that is annoying and inappropriate. Y Kant Tori Read is a badly aged relic of the hair-band era; the cover art, in which the now-famous redhead is made up like a metal chick, is particularly embarrassing. The album was a commercial disaster even in its day, where it deserves to stay.

Track Listing:

1. The Big Picture
2. Cool On Your Island
3. Fayth
4. Fire On The Side
5. Pirates
6. Floating City
7. Heart Attack At 23
8. On The Boundary
9. You Go To My Head
10. Etienne Trilogy:
-- a. The Highlands
-- b. Etienne
-- c. Skyeboat Song