Subscribe to SoundAffects
email list:

Follow SoundAffects1 on Twitter



CD Reviews: Tori Amos
Tori Amos: The Beekeeper
February 2005
By: Marco Nieves
album cover of Tori Amos's The Beekeeper

Tori Amos: Faerie goddess? Piglet connoisseur? Reluctant feminist? No, forget all of that. There's only one combination of words that could really encapsulate her: extraordinary artist. At 41 years old you'd think she might run out of things to say, maybe lose the piano-playing to carpal tunnel, or take longer to write something substantial. It's in fact the complete opposite, with new albums steadily coming out every two years and track listings getting longer and longer. Tori's prolificacy clearly isn't debilitated by age, gravity or by the dog-eat-dog music business.

The Beekeeper, released on February 22, 2005, illustrates a different Tori. She is notorious for shifting styles for every album, but the magic in this album is that there's a lack of a specific approach in the music. It's a fusion, an intertwined smorgasbord of arrangements with copious amounts of little secrets. Things like an impressive gospel choir making appearances in several songs, mostly the ones about sex, cheating, and wrong-doings. Thinking the choir would remind you of church? She'll manage to make it a turn and remind you how her religious defiance is one of the things that defined her as a remarkable inspiration to those that are crushed by Bible-thumpers. Another church-like detail is the vintage organ B3 Hammond which is used in several songs like Parasol, The Beekeeper and Ireland just to mention a few. But once more, it excels the religious association and instead it's used to create a unique sound, a versatile tool to acuminate the atmosphere she wants to display in the song. For example, in the song The Beekeeper, which stands out sounding like nothing else in the album, the organ is grouped with dark lyrics that border morbidness with haunting background voices. The song, which is about her mother and her life-threatening sickness, wouldn't come across as strongly and as dismal as it does if it wasn't for the ghostly and seraphic organ.

If you thought an album couldn't cover every mood of even the most mercurial of listeners and appeal to everyone in the most brutal of juries, Tori will prove you wrong. In Tori's latest anthology there's crisp humor in songs like Ireland, Hoochie Woman and Cars and Guitars, painful melancholy with bewitching melodies in Mother Revolution, Martha's Foolish Ginger and Original Sinsuality, and funk-a-delic gusto and sexuality in Sweet the Sting and Witness. Sleeps With Butterflies, Ribbons Undone and Goodbye Pisces offer liquescent sweetness, while Barons Of Suburbia and Marys Of The Sea remain bombastic and involving. And that's just simplifying the ability and prowess that each of these songs will disclose once they get into your head and your heart. As every listen becomes more and more scrumptious and fierce, it's easy for one to discover new meaning behind her esoteric lyrics that weren't understood in the previous listen but now speak like a best friend. And, one rediscovers everytime how hypnotic Tori's demeanor is when it comes to interweaving human interaction and our idiosyncrasies in song.

This eclectic array in The Beekeeper feels like it will excavate the soil that harvests the human heart, and every song will try to explicate the essence behind every aspect in our existential flow. In other words, be ready to be amazed and have your senses shaken sane once more.