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Negative Beekeeper review from the Athens Banner-Herald
February 23, 2005

Updated Sun, Feb 27, 2005 - 6:23pm ET

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You can read a rather negative review of The Beekeeper from the February 23, 2005 edition of the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper. The album is given a C+. It is one of those reviews that claim that Tori has lost her edge, which I personally feel is not true at all...

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Tori Amos
"The Beekeeper" (Sony)
Grade: C+

Amos forgotten

By Josh Love

In addition to his mom, his wife, Fred Durst and President Bush, Eminem accidentally may have murdered Tori Amos.

Surely it's just a coincidence, but Tori's not quite been the same since the dust cloud of controversy she kicked up by reworking Slim Shady's murder fantasy "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" as part of her patriarchal-toppling 2001 covers record "Strange Little Girls."

Of course, "Strange Little Girls" came out on Sept. 18, 2001, so you probably could pinpoint 9/11 as a culprit too, much of her succeeding music making reference to the events and their aftermath.

Either way, Amos has noticeably softened in the past few years - no doubt satisfying all the wrongheaded haters who long ago chalked her up to being a crackpot - by finally embracing that slightly unhinged New Age stereotype, an altogether harmless, faux-mystic fairy lady instead of the divinely-inspired madwoman in the attic she always truly has been.

On 2003's muted "Scarlet's Walk" and the newly-released "The Beekeeper," Amos' two biggest areas of concern are musical muscle and lyrical bite. In the former category she peaked on 1998's criminally underrated classic "From the Choirgirl Hotel," and "The Beekeeper" is barely a whisper by comparison, trading the raucous total-body workouts of "Raspberry Swirl" and "She's Your Cocaine" for the punchless quasi-island rhythms of "Sweet the Sting" and the late-night talk show-worthy funk of "General Joy."

Lyrically, Amos' high-water mark is probably '96's visceral, bloodletting "Boys for Pele," where every word and image was redolent of old ghosts and new wounds. Save the slippery connotations of "terrorist" on "The Power of Orange Knickers" and the colorful specificity of "Ireland," "The Beekeeper" hardly leaves teeth marks at all, the nadir being either the tired invocation of "All Along the Watchtower" on "Mother Revolution" or maybe "Jamaica Inn," where I was convinced she was saying "rum and coke" when it was actually just a drawn-out reading of "Rebecca," presumably an "other woman" about whom I know nothing and care even less.

The dullness of Amos' formerly two-pronged attack is made even more regrettable by the fact she acquits herself quite admirably from a melodic standpoint. "The Beekeeper" may be vanilla and the lyrics do scan a bit mundanely, but it still sounds real purty, especially the standout "Sleeps with Butterflies" and the achingly descending title track.

When she took on Eminem it was a brave folly, not because Amos wasn't capable or worthy, but simply because her handling of Em's misogyny was a bit misdirected and even unfair (creative license and all that).

Now, at least, they've got something in common - neither seems invested in making fiery, compelling, unforgettable music anymore.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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