Tori Amos: The Beekeeper
By: Marco Nieves
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.
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.