Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
September 15, 2001

Added Sept 20, 2001

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Tori's Strange Little Girls album was reviewed in the September 15, 2001 edition of the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the U.K.. Thanks to James Chapman and Felicity Edwards for telling me.

Tori Amos
Strange Little Girls (Atlantic)

A Tori Amos album is never the most comfortable of experiences, but this time she has surpassed herself with a deeply unsettling set of covers, inverting, subverting, reinventing and reinhabiting 12 songs originally written by men, mostly about women. And that's not all: Amos sings the songs from the point of view of a cast of female characters of her own invention whom she has made flesh by having herself made over and photographed in a vivid gallery in the sleeve artwork. The resulting album can be said to be a success in that many of the tracks take on a wholly new dimension. The most spectacular example is '97 Bonnie & Clyde, Eminem's casual tale of murder and dismemberment, which she transforms into a Hitchcockian nightmare where the victim lying dead in the boot of the car becomes a haunting presence.

Similarly, the use of the gun as a sexual metaphor suddenly becomes shockingly repellent when she brings to our attention on Happiness Is a Warm Gun the fact that the man who, as a Beatle, first sang the song was shot in cold blood in a country that cannot begin to think about tearing itself away from its addiction to firearms. But her purpose is not always so lucid. Why recast Neil Young's Heart of Gold as one of her swirling musical maelstroms, all darkness and foreboding? And while there are moments of warmth and approachability, this is an album whose musical achievements are limited, since it's hard to imagine anyone except the most devoted Amosophile wanting to repeat the experience more than a couple of times.

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