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Read a review of Tori's Strange Little Girls album along with a review of Songs Of A Goddess: A Tribute To Tori Amos. Both were posted to Philadelphia's Citypaper.net and appeared in the September 27 - October 4, 2001 issue of that weekly publication.

Please go to Citypaper.net and read the reviews. You can find them below, but it is better if you see it at Citypaper.net!


cd reviews|rock/pop

Tori Amos/Various Artists

Strange Little Girls/Songs of a Goddess: A Tribute to Tori Amos
(Atlantic)/(Cleopatra)

It would've been easy for Tori Amos to do a straightforward covers album. But that's not her way. To fans' delight, Amos has always forced everything from "Whole Lotta Love" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" into her voice-and-piano template. On Strange Little Girls, she aims to bring a female perspective to 12 songs written by men. It doesn't always jell, but the successes are interesting (and not just in a train-wreck way). The most anticipated track is Eminem's "'97 Bonnie & Clyde": How would a woman rhyme about a father and daughter disposing of mama's body? Amos doesn't rap; she talks through it in a sibilant whisper. It's chilling and beautiful. Another wicked lullaby, the Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays," brings a childlike acceptance to the tale of a girl who shoots up her school. Amos instills Slayer's "Raining Blood" with a quiet tension and spins 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" out of beats and gauze. Other keepers are a kicking-and-screaming version of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" and respectful updates of Joe Jackson's "Real Men" and the Stranglers' "Strange Little Girl." Duds include Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," which Amos just pops into her usual template, and the Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," which she stretches into a 10-minute anti-gun exercise by sampling her father, a newscaster and both Presidents Bush. The problem isn't the irreverence with which she deconstructs the tune it's that she doesn't bother putting it back together.

Songs of a Goddess would benefit from an infusion of irreverence. Amos' piano parts are replaced by synths, and vocals range from ethereal to screamy, but these 13 songs are re-creations rather than retoolings. Unto Ashes' "Beauty Queen" is almost a carbon copy, except that it's in Latin. Even gender-flipping's no cure for imitation: Token boys Voltaire, Glampire and Dragon Style pay faithful, if campy, homage to their queen of queens. Unsurprisingly, the freshest interpretations are those with a twist: Russian trip-hoppers Rei Toei's "Sugar," Tapping the Vein's metal flourishes on "Cornflake Girl" and Simple's toned-down "Raspberry Swirl." Songs of a Goddess is a reliable babysitter. Strange Little Girls is a remorseless kidnapper.



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