IN A STUNNING REVISION, appended to his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1915, Sigmund Freud asserts that “all human beings are capable of making a homosexual object-choice, and have in fact made one in their unconscious.” Freud even identified in the constitution of human sexuality what he termed an inherent “freedom to range.” On Abnormally Attracted to Sin, Tori Amos’s tenth studio album, the artist ponders this queerish sort of freedom by taking us into the consciousness of gay and straight men and women. “So you heard I crossed over the line?” she asks at the start, “Do I have regrets? Well not yet.”
No American female songwriter at work today possesses both the musical range and the enduring interest in matters relating to sexuality and gender like Amos. Her new album follows closely on the (high) heels of “American Doll Posse” (2007), in which she let her multiple personalities, known as Pip, Isabel, Clyde, and Santa—which her fans call her “alterna-Toris”—run wild. These dramatis personae exist for the exposition of Amos’ mental states, and signify a vision of selfhood that is protean and diffuse.