From the Choirgirl Hotel is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos. A departure from her previous albums, it was more heavily produced and a very radio-friendly project featuring a full rock band sound (instead of Amos' usual minimalist piano sound). Upon its release in May 1998, the album debuted at US #5 and UK #6. While falling short of the # 2 debut for her previous album, Boys For Pele (1996), From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos' strongest debut to date in US sales, selling 153,000 copies in the first week. Amos received two 1999 Grammy nominations: Alternative Music Performance, and Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Raspberry Swirl".
The lead single "Spark" became a hit after its release in June 1998 (becoming her last UK Top 40 hit to date, as well as her highest charting US single, reaching #49), and was followed by "Jackie's Strength" (September 1998) and "Cruel/Raspberry Swirl" (November 1998).
The accompanying tour, Amos' first with a full band (using the album's personnel of Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and long-time collaborator Steve Caton on guitar), was known as the "Plugged '98 Tour" and took Amos through most of 1998.
The album began recording on September 8, 1997, with mastering complete by early February 1998. Following the trend set by 1996's Boys For Pele, Amos allowed several songs from the album to be remixed. Remixes of both "Raspberry Swirl" and "Jackie's Strength" were club hits. The album's theme dealt very closely with the first two in Amos' series of three miscarriages between 1996 and 1999.
Thematically and conceptually, the "choirgirl hotel" of the title refers to the fictional, imaginary place where the songs "live." Amos pointed out that although the songs are recorded, they are also alive themselves - they can be re-modeled and reshaped in concert etc. Amos imagined the songs as living their own lives, all checking into the "choirgirl hotel" (i.e. the album) but living separate lives. In the artwork, Amos included a hand-drawn map detailing the stomping ground of these songs.
The album artwork was created by the UK-based photographer, Katerina Jebb. The artwork features full-body color photocopies of Amos (in various couture outfits) as scanned by a human-sized photocopier.
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