Edmonton Sun Review Of Boys For Pele

A really bad review of Boys For Pele appeared in the Edmonton Sun in 1996. I have no idea when it was first appeared, but for now I am guessing around February 1996. This is probably one of the most horrible and insulting reviews I have ever read.

Tori Amos
Boys For Pele (Atlantic) ( 1 star out of five)

She could've gone either way: Use some pop sense to temper her eccentric ways into cutting-edge hits - or wallow in complete self-indulgence.

Take a wild guess which direction this spooky piano-lady picked.

One Kate Bush in the world is plenty, thank you - not to mention P. J. Harvey. And wouldn't you know it - Tori Amos manages to clone the most annoying aspects of both singers into a nauseating melange of morose piano noodlings, cryptic lesbian overtones and unbearable over-emoting.

With a voice that runs the gamut from breathy super-sensitivity to sneering harpy, the "songs" - for lack of a better term, for Amos has abandoned coherent arrangements in favor of musical performance art - feature such lyrical gems as: "So I chased down your posies, your pansies in my hosies;" "It's time to tell the world we both know it was a girl back in Bethlehem;" and "I need a big loan from the girl zone."

The point? If you can stand this almost 70-minute ordeal of painful introspection, you figure it out. It must be some personal vendetta against the male species that only Amos can explain.

Like any formidable talent that goes out of their way to make a God-awful record, Amos hits the mark once in a while - probably by accident.

There's no doubt that she can play the piano. And it's not just any old piano, either - it's a Bosendorfer grand, the Rolls-Royce of keyboards. The production and sounds are beautiful. Horn sections, organic machine percussion and gospel choirs serve as an intermittently interesting backdrop to Amos' musings (she also plays a good deal of harpsichord, a thin, buzzy instrument that was probably annoying even in Mozart's day).

Shorter interludes like Mr. Zebra and Way Down actually work quite well, but more often than not, Amos sabotages her best ideas. While starting with promise, the songs Professional Widow and Little Amsterdam end up being unlistenable.

On one track, Amos sings the line: "I'm quite sure I'm in the wrong song." But it's not the song - it's the whole album.

- Mike Ross, Edmonton Sun

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at mikewhy@iglou.com