Read a positive review of The Beekeeper from the February 23, 2005 edition of the student newspaper of Loyola University in Chicago called The Phoenix.
Thanks to menju56 for sending this to me. You can read this review online at loyolaphoenix.com or below:
Tori Amos returns with edgy album
'The Beekeeper' a triumphant comeback album for skeptical Amos fans
By Tina Sfondeles
Tori Amos is known for her eccentricities. Whether it be her infamous album cover for "Boys for Pele" with a little piglet sucking at her breast, or her unusual rendition of Eminem's "'97 Bonnie and Clyde," Amos has never been predictable.
Yet when her 2002 concept album "Scarlet's Walk" sounded more adult contemporary than ever, some die hard Amos fans worried that post-motherhood, Amos had lost her daring style. Amos' new album "The Beekeeper" can put all those critics to rest. "The Beekeeper," her eighth studio album, is by far her most ambitious and personal album to date. And, yes, it is a bit eccentric.
Amos was brought into the spotlight in 1992 with her debut "Little Earthquakes," which showcased her Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush influenced vocals. Amos is known for her poetic lyrics that emphasize the intensity of her voice. When her lyrics express anger or sadness, Amos' voice also expresses the emotion.
Amos has described the concept of "The Beekeeper" as a honeybee's relationship to nature. In a Feb. 20 interview with the New York Post, Amos explained the complex theme.
"I really enjoy the idea of a win-win relationship instead of there being a win-lose," Amos said. "So that was the core idea - a sacred marriage concept. And the piano and the organ then reflected that in the music."
Ultimately, the 19 songs on "The Beekeeper" explain stories about relationships with friends and the world.
Standout tracks include a sultry and bluesy "Sweet the Sting," sung with the London Community Gospel Choir. Relying on the organ and the choir, Amos creates a contradiction in blending the angelic voices of the choir with sexy lyrics. "The Power of Orange Knickers" features Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice in an unexpected duet. Amos' only other duet was with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor softly singing behind Amos' powerful vocals in "Past the Mission" on her second album, "Under the Pink." The bizarre lyrics of "The Power of Orange Knickers" are masked by a soft and sweet-sounding melody; "Can somebody tell me now who is this terrorist/ Those girls that smile kindly then rip your life to pieces?/ Can somebody tell me now am I alone with this/ This little pill in my hand and with this secret kiss/ Am I alone in this?"
"Hoochie Woman" is one of Amos' obvious songs about infidelity. The blues/jazz combination is reminiscent of the Eagles' "Witchy Woman." After confronting her lover about an affair, Amos cheekily sings, "Keep your Hoochie/ And the bank accounts/ 'Cause boys I bring home the bacon/ I said boy I bring home the bacon now."
Despite songs that are somewhat out of character for Amos, such as the aforementioned "Sweet the Sting" and her rousing '70s funk-induced six-minute song "Witness," the album has some straight-forward and personal songs that reflect her recent status as a mother and a wife. "Ribbons Undone" is a sweet love song dedicated to her 4-year-old daughter. On another personal and familial note, in "The Beekeeper," Amos includes a message to her recently deceased brother. "Wrap yourself around/ The tree of life and the dance of the infinity/ Of the hive/ Take this message to Michael."
Ultimately, "The Beekeeper" is an album for both Amos fans and those who had previously shown disinterest due to her eccentricities. The sound of the entire album is undeniably beautiful, and her lyrics, though complex, are always sung passionately. With each song, Amos envelops an entire atmosphere and aura. At age 41, Amos still has a voice as soulful, smooth and enchanting as in her debut album, "Little Earthquakes."