Some comments from me (Mikewhy) about Strange Little Girls

Updated July 1, 2001

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I have read with surprise some of the negative comments on the Dent forum about the news on Strange Little Girls from the L.A. Times that was revealed in their July 1, 2001 edition. (See below.) I feel some people are missing some valid points about this new album.

First of all, I have seen criticisms that Tori is covering Eminem. Tori is not simply covering an Eminem song. She is reacting to it, and giving a different side to the story. Here are parts of the article that highlight what I am saying:

    But when Tori Amos listened to Eminem's " '97 Bonnie and Clyde" -- the notorious narrative of a man who has killed his wife -- she thought one voice was missing: that of the song's murdered woman.

    ...While she is neither supporting nor condemning Eminem, she feels that many of his defenders minimize the effect of lyrics. That, she says, in large part fueled her desire to make this album.

    "I would hear a lot of people say, 'They're only words, what is everyone going on about?'... That's where I said I could pick up the gauntlet. I believe in freedom of speech, but you cannot separate yourself from your creation. We go back to the power of words, and words are like guns...Whether you choose the graciousness of Tom Waits or the brutality of 'Bonnie and Clyde,' they're equally powerful, and that's what drove me."

Tori is reinterpreting these songs and giving them a female voice. Most reports say that there is no substantial rewriting of the lyrics. But Tori is still not merely covering these songs. She is telling things from a female point of view! This is a very innovative and needed approach. The article says that Tori is taking "songs written and originally sung by men and, without substantial rewriting, created a female character for each." So to those people saying, "How can Tori cover Eninem?," I say that Tori is reacting in a productive way to what Eminem has said. Instead of simply complaining about him, Tori is responding to him and proving a point about taking responsibility for your lyrics. With Tori's unwavering support of RAINN (shown most recently in the Happy Birthday, Tori fundraiser), I am surprised that anyone would think that Tori would actually be supporting Eminem.

I have also seen people upset over Tori's new "look" as represented in the L.A. Times photo. This is likely NOT a new look. The article says that Tori is being a female voice in each of these songs, and that the album includes photos of Amos portraying each woman. This photo is likely one of the women Tori is "portraying" on the album. But even if it is her new look, who cares? Tori should be able to look any way she wants to, and her music will still be wonderful!

Finally, I am really surprised that anyone would judge the new album before hearing it. That to me in incredibly ignorant. You can not make a decision on a piece of art without experiencing it. There is no way around that. Your criticisms mean little until you hear the work. Listen to what Tori is saying, and then feel free to comment. I think people will be pleasantly surprised and pleased when they actually hear this record. As you can read below, Neil Gaiman certainly was!

I feel that most Toriphiles are giving this new album a chance. While there are some negative comments on the forums, I think they are from a small, vocal minority. Most fans I am sure are going to give this special project a fair chance!

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