Herald Sun (Australia)
September 20, 2001

Added Sept 25, 2001

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Tori's Strange Little Girls album was reviewed in the September 20, 2001 edition of the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia. Thanks to Steven Lawrence for telling me.

Tori covers odd bases.

Covers albums usually ring alarm bells. They're either contractual obligations or thinly veiled admissions of creative bankruptcy. Not surprisingly, Tori Amos's covers album is different. Amos has always had a penchant for other peoples'songs, managing to make them her own or at least put a down-payment on them.

Remember her distinctive take on Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, on which she managed to turn the grunge anthem into a piano ballad while still keeping much of the energy and anger?

For this covers album Amos decides only to reinterpret songs written by men and lyrics from the male perspective.

The most disturbing - and most interesting - is her remake of Eminem's '97 Bonnie and Clyde, in which he sings of killing his wife and taking their daughter along for the grisly ride to dump the body.

Somehow Amos makes it even more unsettling, from the spooky music to the accent she uses to deliver the lyrics - and, of course, those words. They're awful but captivating.

Her cover of the Stranglers' Strange Little Girl is the only real single material here (the only thing with a radio-friendly pulse) though the cover of Joe Jackson's '80s hit, Real Men, is a pleasant surprise and her feral take on Neil Young's Heart of Gold rocks.

Fans of Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode), Rattlesnakes (Lloyd Cole), I'm not in Love (10cc) and I Don't Like Mondays (Boomtown Rats) may be disappointed to find Amos has done some musical renovating that has left most of the tune and melody behind for stark readings.

And you haven't heard Slayer until you've heard Tori Amos remake Raining Blood.

The verdict *** 1/2 (3 1/2 stars)

In a word: odd

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