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Read a review of The Beekeeper from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 25, 2005

Updated Sat, Jun 25, 2005 - 12:12am ET

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The June 25, 2005 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer includes a review of The Beekeeper.

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Allegory and abstraction in Tori Amos' 'The Beekeeper'

By Noelani Torre

EVER since the release of her brilliant debut, "Little Earthquakes," back in 1992, Tori Amos has been widely acknowledged as one of the most talented musicians on the scene. She's lived up to the hype for more than a decade, and has released consistently solid albums.

What do you do when you find yourself in the enviable position of being a much-lauded artist? Come up with an autobiography, of course-and while you're at it, why not a new album as well? After all, folks have been calling you "a kind of superwoman."

Sonic musings

Thus, while leafing through "Tori Amos: Piece by Piece" (written with rock journalist Ann Powers), we can don our headphones and listen to Amos' latest sonic musings-all 80 minutes of them-in her 19-track, ninth album, "The Beekeeper."

In typically esoteric Amos fashion, "The Beekeeper" is based on a concept that deals with beehives, the number six, and a beekeeper. We found it a bit vague, to be honest, but Amos is pretty earnest about it-as she is about even her most far-out ideas.

The songs in the album are arranged in six "gardens," though it's not the way the playlist goes. We couldn't understand the logic behind the groupings, nor the reason why they weren't followed, anyway-but then, Amos has never been known for being clear and logical. It's generally known that her middle name is "obscure," something you'll realize five minutes into "The Beekeeper."

Most of the time, we enjoy delving into the layered depths of Amos' songs, but she sometimes tends to get carried away. In this album, there are moments when she ventures out into the outer reaches of abstraction, and leaves us in her symbolic allegorical dust. Then again, there are also moments when it seems as though she's that ultra-familiar, little voice in your head that tells you about things you've forgotten.

The problem with "The Beekeeper" is that it isn't consistent. Sometimes, it's good, and sometimes it's so bad that you wonder whether Amos' has lost her famed touch.

Take album opener "Parasol," for example: It's one of the best songs here, with intense emotion hiding beneath a soothing melody and the singer's deceptively airy vocals. It makes you think that the rest of the album is going to be just as good, but it seems as though every touch of brilliance here has its dull counterpart ("Ribbons Undone" is particularly cringe-worthy).

Good and bad

In any other artist, this mix of good and bad would be acceptable. But, this is Tori Amos we're talking about here! We expect more from her because, in our experience, she's always delivered-but she seems to have lost her way here. The thing is, this might not have been so bad if she'd been a little more vigorous with the pruning shears. We prefer half an hour of great music to 80 minutes of so-so tunes.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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