Plattentests Online (Germany)
September 17, 2001

Updated Sept 25, 2001

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Tori's Strange Little Girls album was reviewed on the German web site Plattentests Online, which is dedicated to rock and independent record reviews. The review is in German, and they gave the album a rating of 8 out of 10. Thanks to Armin Linder for telling me. The album was voted as Album Of The Week when it came out.

Click here to read the review at Plattentests Online. (It is in German!)

Toriphiles Martin aka Jefferson, Teresa and Morgane were kind enough to translate the review from German into English for us. I know this is a lot of hard work, and I thank you. Martin's translationis below, since his was first.

Martin aka Jefferson's translation


    If there is any artist who can say of herself that she has explored the borders in bringing together piano and voice, it's Tori Amos. Over many records her dialogue with the 88 keys has brought up numerous master pieces which, when it comes to intensity, don't have to fear competitors. After her fifth album "To Venus And Back" saw Tori breaking into the electronic universe, which turned out out to be a major disappointment, a simple return to her roots couldn't have been enough. It was time for something new something that the music world hadn't experienced so far. "I have always found it fascinating, how men say something and how women hear it", Tori said about her vision before the album came out and on "Strange Little Girls" she now turns this vision into reality.

    Twelve songs, originally written and performed by men, do not only get reinterpreted on "Strange Little Girls", they get new-born in the body of a woman. What wasn't a lot more than notes and words before now gets a character and a face. With these twelve cover versions Tori's fantasy gave birth to thirteen (twins in one case) complex female figures who not only fill the song with life but also get illustrated in photographs. "Feelings are intense / words are trivial", Amos whispers on "Enjoy The Silenece" (Depeche Mode), and indeed this is not just a woman singing, it's a woman feeling something und making every word from a stranger's mouth her own.

    Although her ambitions might seem a bit over-stretched to some, Tori Amos is light years away from ending up as the Alice Schwarzer of piano pop. (NOTE: Alice Schwarzer is the one and only German feminist who's been around the public for 30 years now and still gets the most invitations to talk shows in this country.) When she breathes out well-known classics such as "I Don't Like Mondays" (Boomtown Rats) or "New Age" (The Velvet Underground) you sometimes wonder about the qualities of the original und ask yourself if their dead surface was created a long time ago just to get revived by Tori. Those who still can sit still when Tori uncovers those brutal lyrics of Eminem's murderer-epic "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" are either unable to feel anything or just deaf.

    The songs' instrumentations are as varied as the characters they represent. The spectrum stretches from the whispering piano on "Time" (Tom Waits) or "Raining Blood" (Slayer) to the roaring guitars of "Heart Of Gold" (Neil Young) to the irritating ten-minute version of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" (The Beatles) without ever terminating the general topic. With "Strange Little Girl" Tori has even grabbed an almost unknown track out of The Stranglers' ancient catalogue and turned it into her most promising single since "Cornflake Girl".

    All those mockers who, when relating to a cover album, suspected that after the weak predecessor Tori Amos has run out of song ideas will find their sneering laughter stuck in their throats. Because apart from a drawling interpretation of "I'm Not In Love" (10CC) these covers bear more creative effort than some bands manage in their whole career. "One day you see a strange little girl look at you", Tori announces mysteriously and lifts the curtain in front of a whole new perspective on the world: a perspective a woman perceives through the empty eyes of a man to explore an unknown sight on things. Good girls look to the sky, strange girls look everywhere.

    --Armin Linder

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