Houston Chronicle
September 23, 2001

Added Sept 25, 2001

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Tori's Strange Little Girls album was reviewed in the September 23, 2001 edition of the Houston Chronicle newspaper in the U.S.. The album was given a D+. Thanks to John Kwiatkowski for telling me. The article had a picture of the New Age character and the caption "Tori relies on ever-more affected vocal phrasing on Strange Little Girls"

Stange Little Disc
Tori Amos Falls Short on Tribute to Male Songwriters

This CD almost scared the nine lives out of my cat. OK, Spooky's a wimp, but the sound of Tori Amos' now exaggeratated, tremulous voice and the abrasive music on this grating CD caused the cat to bolt out of the room, away from the stereo.

Amos always has been an acquired taste, given her penchant for oblique lyrics and ornate melodies, but she never has been truly unlistenable until now.

Strange Little Girls is a collection og songs written by men - Neil Young, Eminem, and Tom Waits among them - but performed from a female perspective.

Amos sings the original lyrics but in an overdramatic style that sounds  ludicrously affected.  She also strips the tunes bare, mostly ignoring her skillful piano playing in favor of electric piano and fuzz-toned guitar and machines.

Kudso to Amos for attempting to bring something fresh to a batch of old tunes, but unfortunately the irritating arrangements render Young's Heart of Gold, 10cc's I'm Not In Love, the Beatles Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence unrecognizable.

The only successful moment on this illconceived CD is Amos' hushed and haunting spoken-word take on Eminem's chilling '97 Bonnie & Clyde. On that tune, Amos recalls the compelling artist she has been, as on her difficult, but musically rich Boys for Pele CD and Little Earthquakes, her debut and still her best CD.

Otherwise, the cat called it correctly right off the bat.


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