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Tori Amos

Strange Little Girls

Release Date: 09.18.01
Record label: WEA / Atlantic
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


I Need a Fix...
by: kriste matrisch

Strange Little Girls is a concept album that's difficult to grasp onto because it seems as though Tori Amos has failed. Had no one known the concept, we all would have been scratching our temples; And in fact, some of us still are. The concept, for those unfamiliar, is she's covered male-written/dominated songs and given them a female viewpoint. While not a total failed concept, but this album is the weakest Amos has released to date.

In listening to Strange Little Girls, the only songs with a female viewpoint is "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" (Eminem) and "Enjoy the Silence" (Depeche Mode). In "'97 Bonnie and Clyde," one can tell right away from Amos' vocals and string arrangement it's a scary situation for the mother to handle her ex-husband making their baby daughter become an accomplice to her murder. You can't help but become distracted with every listen of this song because you keep thinking of that poor baby, how is she going to grow up with this on her conscience? It's not so much about Eminem, I later realize, as the story itself.

In "Enjoy the Silence," again, the only way to tell the female viewpoint is from Amos' vocals. With the first listening, you hear how dull and uninspired her voice sounds. However, after listening a few times, one will learn that this is her point in an ironical sort of way. Women are often told to either shut up (not in so many words) or what they say is boring and not important. With Amos singing in the tone she does, it causes one to pay attention and wonder why she sounds so unimpressed. It's an interesting thought, nevertheless.

Those songs aside, the album remains tolerable. The rest of her covers are just that: covers. Her musical and vocal arrangements are weak, even though her attempts in Velvet Underground's "New Age," Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," and the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" are credited. Especially appreciable are her "ahh ahh ahh" parts in "New Age" and the additional commentaries in "Happiness…" in the background.

Either way, many fans of Amos have voiced this effort is by far their least favorite. Many would rather have preferred a collection of b-sides or new material, but rest assured, Amos states in Alternative Press (Oct '01) issue that she will be working on new material for a new album at the end of her current solo tour.

Amos had good intentions with this album, but unfortunately it didn't come out as strongly as it could have been. For other more inspiring covers that she's performed, check out her "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Angie," and "Thank You" on her Crucify EP. 01-Oct-2001 6:45 PM