I've listened to this album once and 2/3rds through so far. For me, Tori's music can be chopped into three sections: Early: LE, UTP, BFP; Transition: FTCH, TV&B, SLGs; and Modern/Epic: SW, Beekeeper, and now ADP. Although, "classic" Tori for me includes the first FOUR albums. Before I get going, let it be known that I prefer oldschool Tori, those first four albums. But I've found things to be liked in her later stuff, too - I just don't find nearly as much of it as moving as her earlier stuff.
Folks on Amazon.com said that if you liked The Beekeeper, which was pretty mellow, organ-inspired, that you'd maybe not like ADP. Good thing I really disliked The Beekeeper (I only listened to it once, sorta kinda). ADP is definitely still "Modern" Tori, as it were - her vocals still aren't as pretty or coherent as anything from her earlier stuff and still not near as angry as anything from BFP (which I think is her angriest as it seems the most true from her heart of all her albums for me). But this album definetly comes from an angry place. What's so different about it is that it's so heavily political. Odd that I FIND it odd, coming from Tori. R.E.M. or Indigo Girls, sure, but Tori? It *should* be expected of her, really, so I am unsure why I find it odd.
Whenever I listen to anything of hers (ever since "To Venus & Back") I try to pretend I've never heard anything from her before TV&B. It makes it easier. For "Modern" Tori, the album is pretty good, albeit very long at 23 songs. On first listen, if I am patient, there is something interesting and dynamic about nearly all of the songs so I do look forward to getting to know them better. I kind of wish she'd enunciate better - I mean, Tori has never been one to really enunciate lyrics but most fans kind of get the hang of her off-kilter pronunciations of things. But I think even the most talented Tori-translator will be put to the test with this album. Good thing it comes with lyrics in the liner notes. :D
Definitely an aggressive album - she's seriously using the whole band and it's fun to hear her do that, to let everybody really rock out. She's channeling the Beatles White Album and other '68 era artists in rolling style rock and she's not pulling punches in her political accusations while doing it, too. Oddly, some of my favorite bits from this album so far are the little "intermission" songs, the little 1-minute ditties. They're not the bubbly oddities of "Mr.Zebra" but they allow for little bursts of "we don't quite fit in like a normal song" that are delicious enough to make you wish they WERE longer, much like good ol' "Mr.Zebra". My favorite song off ADP so far is in fact one of these songs, "Devils and Gods", which is a mandolin piece - another oddity, Tori singing to a solo instrument that is not played with keys. A beautiful song with VERY poignant lyrics:
Devils and Gods, now that's an idea
But if we believe that it's They who decide
That's the ultimate detractor of crimes
'Cause devils and gods
They are you and I
Devils and gods,
They are you and I.
Devils and gods,
Safe and inside.
So I'll be giving this album a good, heavy listen and we'll see how it holds up later on.