Daily Mail (U.K.)
September 14, 2001

Added Sept 20, 2001

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Tori's Strange Little Girls album was reviewed in the September 14, 2001 edition of the Daily Mail in the U.K.. This is a negative one. Thanks to Mike Gray for making me aware of it.

Tori Amos : Strange Little Girls (East West)
Verdict : Drab Covers Collection

2 stars out of 4

Review by Adrian Thrills

[picture of Tori, caption "Bleak And Spartan"]

Another American born singer with quirky, off-centre leanings is Tori Amos. The British-based Amos made her mark in the Nineties with a clutch of breathtaking albums which combined her highly personal lyrics with virtuoso piano playing.

Strange Little Girls, Tori's latest effort, follows a different path. Taking its cue from her radical 1992 re-working of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, this features ambitious interpretations of 12 tracks originally recorded by other artists.

She has cosen songs, all written by men, which supposedly explore the relationship between the sexes - alhtough this theme is, at best, vague.

Tori's choice of material is dominated by tracks from the Seventies and Eighties but many of her bleak and instrumentally spartan readings will leave listeners hankering after the original versions.

The melodic strenght of Amos's soaring vicals and intricate piano work make the most of Joke Jackson's Real Men and Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence", but her subdued covers of Eighties "bedsit" standards, such as Lloyd Cole's "Rattlesnakes" and Tom Waits' Time, pale beside the originals.

With so many songs stripped to the bare bones, it is those with a story to tell that work best. Amos's interpretation of Eminem's '97 Bonnie And Clyde is eerie and powerful.

But the rest of Strange Little Girls makes for uneasy listening.

Neil Young's poignant "Heart Of Gold" is transformed into a tortous hard rocker; 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" is ruined by electronic bleeps; while Happiness Is A Warm Gun, a Beatles song from the so-called White Album, is overlong and interspersed with gratuitous samples from news reports on the shooting of John Lennon.

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