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Tori Amos—Strange Little Girls


Release info:

2001—Atlantic Records—7567-83486-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Tori Amos fans

Group members:

Tori Amos—wurlitzer, Bösendorfer, rhodes, ARP, vocals

Guest artists:

Matt Chamberlain—drums, military drum, taos drums
Justin Meldal-Johnsen—bass, bass painting
Adrian Belew—guitar, drill guitar, acoustic guitar, rattlesnake, yellow jacket guitar
Jon Evans—bass
John Philip Shenale—strings, synths
M & M—additional guitars, string pads
Dr. Edison Amos, Daniel Bocking, George W. Bush, George Bush—voices on "Happiness is a Warm Gun"

Produced by:

Tori Amos

Comments:

This is an album of cover versions, and the cd appears with four different covers (though the contents are the same).

i dunno. i am a little disappointed in this—i was really hoping for an album of original work. i was relatively pleased with to venus and back despite being underwhelmed with the previous two albums, and was hoping for a continuation in this trajectory.
     i think it's great that artists try to expand their vocabulary and work outside the expected, but somehow this concept doesn't sound all too innovative—despite the hype.i think there have been plenty of instances of artists reworking songs to fit their own perspective. PJ Harvey, Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth), Liz Phair have all written or reworked songs to reverse gender roles. Michael Feinstein has reworked jazz vocal standards so that they are same sex orientated instead of the usual boy/girl love songs, as has KD Lang. this isn't even counting cover albums that Stina Nordestam or Holly Cole have done, that completely rediscover the songs creating absolute gems.
     i am not discounting the new album, but i am a bit irked to hear people praise her for her innovation, when i feel there is a history already in place. i realize that there may not be a COMPLETE album full of songs that have been gender reversed, but i feel that any successful cover album inherently takes already written songs and injects them with the new artists' perspective already. or why bother listening to the cover? might as well listen to the original.
     i do like the idea that she is pulling a Cindy Sherman by photographing herself as the different characters of the song (again not an original idea, but if done well could be quite interesting).
     overall i am kinda less than impressed with it. i agree with whoever said that the songs don't have the same umph that her older covers did. i'll probably buy the album just to have it in my collection but i'll probably buy it once it hits the cheaper used bins....
     on the same token, i also agree with the person who said that this "concept" is really just a cover up for the fact that this is just a cover album. i sort of wish she would have just released a 6-song "concept" EP and then went on and released some new original material.... (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I downloaded one track and I'm afraid my reaction was basically "ho-hum..." which pretty much describes my reaction to the whole album. At the end of the day, a cover is a cover. I realise now this will be the first Tori album I will not be getting, unless perhaps second-hand...I've been a Tori fan since the Little Earthquakes days so this is a sad moment for me in a way, but that's how it goes....ho-hum....
     Blah of The Year: sadly, this non-award has to go to Tori Amos for her "concept album", as the concept here seems to be to make up an angle where there isn't one. The very existence of this album truly offends me, as all I can see is a bunch of very average songs and a cynical marketing exercise. And if this was just her way of getting herself out of her contractual obligations, well...you know I'm all for sticking it up record companies and I would easily overlook this lapse if it paved the way for her going solo in Ani Difranco fashion but forgive me for not dancing in the streets when all she does is jump from one major to another! (afries@zip.com.au)

I really like what I hear...some very beautiful things coming out. (RocketsTail@aol.com)

I'm a bit disappointed after the first listen. It doesn't have the depth and beauty of her earlier cover songs, like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Angie". (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

I've only listened to Strange Little Girls a couple times, but it doesn't transport me anywhere the way Emm Gryner's Girl Versions does. There are some standouts, sure, but for the most part, it's Tori doing Tori. I listened to Little Earthquakes this morning and was reminded of the talent and insight Tori possesses. I just haven't seen it in a little while. Then again, Tori does a terrific version of Joe Jackson's "Real Men." (colford@chlotrudis.org)

While I like much of this (and much to my surprise I even like "'97 Bonnie & Clyde"), it's just not an album I can work up much enthusiasm for. I've adored many of Tori's covers, especially "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Strange Fruit", but most of these don't do that much for me, as covers or as Tori performances. "Strange Little Girl" is really the only one I really like in and of itself and that I find myself wanting to hear. I like some of this but most I would quite happily never hear again. Ultimately, I found this wasn't a keeper for me. (Neile)

"'97 Bonnie and Clyde" is very unnerving, and Neil Young's Heart of Gold was amazing and unrecognizable. The songs don't really sound like Tori covers of old, but instead wild re-imaginings of each of the songs. (neal)

Hm..the new Tori album is beautiful, ugly and fantastic. Don't like her version of Heart of Gold much but everything else is great. "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" is scary and apt. The new Tori album continues to grow on me but I really don't care for her "Happiness is a warm gun". I prefer the Breeders' version. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

A disappointment. Nobody can convince me this was anything other than a quick filler album to fulfill her contract. (dlw@sympatico.ca)

Am I really the only one around who doesn't mind Strange Little Girls? I can't call it a masterwork, but I listen to it significantly more often than Boys For Pele. I adore her cover of 'Rattlesnakes' and 'I'm Not in Love'. Okay, okay, so I wouldn't complain if I never heard her covers of 'Heart of Gold' or 'Happiness is a Warm Gun' again, but they don't grate on my nerves like, say, 'Professional Widow'. (nadyne@little-blue-world.org)

I agree about Strange Little Girls being uneven. there are a couple of really horrible songs on there ("Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Heart of Gold") and there are a few covers she's done live I wish she would've put on there because they're so good ("Wrapped Around Your Finger", "Love Song", "Vincent" to name a few) but I really really love her covers of "Rattlesnakes", "Real Men" and "Bonnie and Clyde '97" and most of the others are at least passable. There are a few songs on that album that I never listen to and maybe The Beekeeper has more *good* songs on it than Strange Little Girls but I just don't hear any *great* songs on The Beekeeper and personally I'll take an album that's 25% great, 50% good and 25% horrible over an album that's 75% good and 25% bad (and 0% great). (onyx@vianet.ca)

I **LOVE** her cover of "Heart of Gold"..it just rocks! It's so *funky*! I must be the only one...?? (dbailey4117@gmail.com)

I admit to hyperbolizing when using the word "appalling". I mean, I'm not planning to sell it anytime soon. But it's definitely my least favorite album of hers, and a major disappointment to me considering how much I've loved many of her covers. (Not to mention that the whole "concept" angle—with Tori supposedly rewriting songs from a female perspective—to me turned out to be either only hype, or to have been a failure on Tori's part.)
     I really do like "Rattlesnakes", that one's a keeper. The others I'm okay with are "New Age", "'97 Bonnie & Clyde", "Strange Little Girl", and "Real Men". The rest I could definitely do without. "Heart of Gold" or "Happiness is a Warm Gun" are very skippable, while the others to me are just plain boring. (Is it just me, or did anyone else think that going solo for "Enjoy the Silence" was so obvious a choice for that song that they were disappointed when Tori chose that route instead of being more creative? And does anyone else find her voice on that one as dead as has been complained of for "The Power of Orange Knickers"?) (jchigdon@mindspring.com)

interesting little mostly-failed experiment there. (drumz@best.com)


Tori Amos' other recordings:

The main Tori Amos page


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2013-01-28 00:56:49.
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