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Strange Little Girls

Strange Little Girls

4.6 26
by Tori Amos
Ever since she appeared on the scene with the fiercely emotional "Me and a Gun" from her haunting debut, Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos has earned her reputation by confronting listeners with the most intimate details of her personality -- which makes her eclectic selection of covers for Strange Little Girls all the


Ever since she appeared on the scene with the fiercely emotional "Me and a Gun" from her haunting debut, Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos has earned her reputation by confronting listeners with the most intimate details of her personality -- which makes her eclectic selection of covers for Strange Little Girls all the more compelling. Here, Amos thoroughly inhabits a dozen distinct characters -- which were all crafted, not coincidentally, by men -- and makes them all strong-willed, iconoclastic, and decidedly female. Most fascinatingly, she inverts Eminem's "Bonnie and Clyde '97" so that it's delivered in monotone whispers from the point of view of the murdered woman in the car trunk. She pulls a similar trick on a revamp of the Velvet Underground's "New Age," replacing ennui with unrestrained need. Often, Amos retools arrangements to the breaking point, generally to good effect: Slayer's "Raining Blood" is even eerier when performed on spare piano than with raging-bull guitars, while Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" sounds considerably more yearning in Amos's harsh, metallic delivery. Due to the breadth of Amos's chosen material -- from the intellectual bubblegum of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" to the neo-Goth drone of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" -- Strange Little Girls might seem impossible to hold together. But by dint of her sheer chutzpah (just check out the way she wades into the Stranglers' misogynist rant that gives the album its title), Tori Amos makes this the first great concept album of 2001.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Something that goes unspoken in the cult of Tori Amos is that she knows the value of press and that she knows how to exploit it. So, six albums into her career, and several years since she captured headlines, she released Strange Little Girls, a collection of covers intended to strike a dagger into the heart of how males view females in pop songs. To be honest, you wouldn't know that from listening to the record, but you might have an idea by looking at the four separate collector-oriented covers, and reading the reviews, previews, and interviews Tori did prior to and at the time of release. The only track that really feels that way is Eminem's "97 Bonnie and Clyde," where Amos heightens the tension by close-mic'ing her vocals and reading with a hammy theatricalness that results in a cut about as chilling as the original, but without the context. After that, there really aren't many songs that sound like they're a female switch in perspective, apart from maybe the Stranglers' title track (which she does a nice job with), and it's very hard to tell what she's trying to say with these songs. Is she the fat blonde actress in the Velvet Underground's "New Age"? Mother Superior in the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (recorded with an anti-gun recitation from her father)? Is she the chair in Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence"? How does Tom Waits' "Time" fit into the equation? Tori never tells us, either lyrically or through her musical arrangements -- witness the bizarre deconstruction of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," another song that doesn't seem to fit her theme, so she dresses it up in flanged guitar and neo-trip-hop beats. Tori's sexual politics are so poorly constructed, appearing almost nonexistent, that the music by default rises to the forefront and it almost meets the demands. For the most part, this is a solid record -- overly produced and not as inventive as her takes on "Angie" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but rarely as wretched as "Heart of Gold." Though there's a bit too much surface sheen, it's a solid record, yet it's not particularly distinctive, so the pre-release hype about the gender deconstructions of Strange Little Girls makes sense, because the only way this distinguishes itself is through its stated intention -- and if the album doesn't make the intentions specific, it's best to get the word out any way possible. And while all that press may have given the impression that this is something new, something different -- precisely what it was meant to do -- it really is nothing more than another, pretty good Tori Amos record, only not quite as interesting because she didn't write the tunes.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
1/2 Tori Amos has made a record that is huge in it's strangeness: twelve covers of songs written by men - mostly for or about women, mostly without happy endings - in which Amos sings from the other side of the anxiety and sorrow. It is dangerous work....But she attacks the possibilities in Strange Little Girls with a grip and grit often missing from her other solo work, and her handful of bull's eyes easily justifies her audacity.

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Strange Little Girls 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos probably doesn't care what is said by anyone- positive or negative- on this B&N website. But I must say: all of you who feel qualified to rate Amos' albums are missing the boat, barge, ship, canoe, row boat, or what have you. Amos puts out music. Albums are not better or worse than one another. Her albums are landmarks of her progression, talent and ingenuity. They¿re her musical evolution. It's all timeless and intangible and it's all good because Tori Amos put it out. She¿s an actual musician- which is more than most noise making-fickle-faddies can say for themselves out there racking up Walmart electronics dept. with their compact disc snares that latch on to the droves and heaps of people looking for guises and a way out of themselves. So run away Ms. "I'm a huge Tori fan but I give it 3 stars because it's all cover songs". Heed music. Buy the album today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This collection, is just one more ounce of proof in the fact of her brilliance. You Gotta LOVE this woman. I know I do :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
i am a devout tori fan--have been for YEARS--and i think she did a very good job with most of the songs on this album. i didn't like her verions of ''happiness is a warm gun'' (which i feel is the weakest track on the album) or ''heart of gold'', but other than those two sore spots, the album is stellar. she totally reinvents ''97 bonnie & clyde''--which i feel is the most daring track and the most haunting on the record--and ''i'm not in love''. how can she make such a goofy song like ''i'm not in love'' so damned scary? she's the bomb that's why! ''enjoy the silence'' isn't that special, but it's very good nonetheless. this is a really good record--not the best covers record i've ever heard (I'd recommend ''shadowland'' by kd lang), but it is still fantastic in its own rite. it's also not the best tori album by far (i'd say that ''from the choirgirl hotel'' is) but it is still great. i'd recommend any tori fan get it, and anyone who might not like tori's previous work might like this because it's so un-tori. it's a big step up from her last album (the double-album flop ''to venus and back'') but she has the genius to grow so much more. good job tori! give us some of your own songs next time! also, she is touring alone this time which is long overdue for many tori fans who don't want to see her with a band.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori's voice sings for my heart. She has managed to take all of these songs (which were fantastic in there own right) and add a new dimension of haunting. Her music is audible spirit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos' new album ''Strange Little Girls'' is Tori at her best!!! It's like nothing you've ever heard before. The covers are excellent. The best, and most obviously eerie, is the Eminem cover '''97 Bonnie & Clyde''. As we all know, Tori is not a rapper but it's in spoken word. The way Tori does it is beyond words for expression. It's.....just......awesome!!!!! Each song puts you in a different mood, as they should. The album is just beyond awesome. It's an album everyone should get!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simple rule: If you are a Toriphile, you'll love anything she does, including this album. However, for the general listener, this album will take some getting used to. As per usual, Tori has broadsided the norm with this one. If you loved the original songs, you may raise an eyebrow (or both) at Tori's take on them. ''Enjoy the Silence'' used to be a strange kind of love song, now it is disturbing and haunting. Even more unsettling is the cover of Eminem's controvesial ''Bonny and Clyde''. When he sang it it was dark and satirical, when Tori sings it it becomes a chilling reminder of the domestic violence that takes place everyday. Not all the songs are as dark as these. ''Strange Little Girl'' is almost upbeat. The one common thing that ties all of them together is that you will never listen to these songs in the same way after hearing this album. The lyrics will take on a whole new meaning. Which brings me to my last point. If you buy this album, listen to it all the way through, paying great attention to the lyrics. Otherwise, the point will be lost on you. This is after all, a Tori CD, and it requires some really deep thoughts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Strange Little Girls is Tori's best work since Boys For Pele. The songs may not be hers but she makes no disclaimers and no apologies. Without the preachy tone of some socially conscious musicians, Tori has commented on our strange little world in a poignant, touching, and at times, haunting, manner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for Tori to come out with an album of cover songs, but nevertheless, she's simply brilliant. I love the songs anyway, regardless of who wrote them. My prediction is that she will release a Greatest Hits or Best Of album very soon, since she has been around for 10 years now. However, I really think she should come out with some new material as soon as the tour is over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos is an artist who can capture anyone's attention, from ''Boys For Pele'', where she was caught suckling a piglet on one of the inlet photos, and now with ''Strange Little Girls''. Indeed it is not the best Tori has done, first of all because none of the songs are her own, and secondly because Tori has changed in this album. It is a remarkable album though. It is recommended to all, but did not quite reach 5 stars in my opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this CD! Tori yet again reinvents herself for the better! She just can't do wrong. You don't have to be a Tori fan to buy this album, it's just really good songs, supported by a great singer. The tracks have some upbeat and some slow songs for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes I intentionally misspelled my headline. This newest work of Tori is exactly that, a heart braker. It stops you in your tracks. If you've not heard Tori before I don't recommend this to be your first experience with her. I found '97 Bonnie and Clyde the most disturbing song I've ever heard. Tori puts a spin on it that makes you desperate for it to end, but curious as well. Don't listen to it before you go to bed. I love the song Strange Little Girl, as well as I'm not in Love as fun mocking songs. I had not expected to be soothed by this album, and was happily surprised by Time. I don't Like Mondays broke my heart, and I found Raining Blood haunting. I've not heard most of these songs in their original versions, and after listening to this album, I really have no desire to. Although I think Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink, and Choirgirl are Tori's strongest albums, I've a feeling this one will become a treasure in my music collection
Winnie_Doe More than 1 year ago
I bought it because I buy Tori's albums compulsively, but it really is good. I had to listen to it a few times to really like it, but it's good. also the pictures in the booklet are worth it. I guess it's a precursor to the idea behind ADP where she plays all of these women. It's a nice album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i'll admit, i first thought this album was just tori being self indulgent. but after listening to it several times, i realized she's hit enough bull's eyes to make it an intriguiging, thought provoking listen. have an open mind, and you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos has managed to rock the music world once again by making the word cover no longer be a four-letter word. She has taken many classic songs and changed their meanings simply by the tone of her voice. Ironically, Strange Little Girls has more songs written by men than anything else, but it sounds as if Tori herself wrote the entire album. A new challenge and yet another victory for singer-songwriter Tori Amos.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''...from her haunting debut, 'Little Earthquakes'...'' -B&N - - - ''Little Earthquakes'' was NOT Tori's debut album, but I bet you all knew that already.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that the album was great...loved the title track. Can't wait to hear more Tori in the future...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Listening to Strange Little Girls straight through the first time, must be what my grandparents experienced the first time they heard The Shadow on the radio. At times terrifying, at times passionate, at times laden with angst, but always hard at work in the theatre of the mind. These song stories, in gender photo negative, are as moody as you would expect from Tori, but they aren¿t so avant garde that they would alienate any but the most ardent fan. The best example of this is the wonderful cover of the old 10cc song I¿m Not in Love. The cover is spare, drum machine, piano, and vocal. Somehow though, like Phil Collins In the Air Tonight (I know you are cringing here) the song works as a pop song. Honestly some of these covers are much better than the original. ¿97 Bonnie and Clyde is one of the most compelling and disturbing monologues you will have ever heard. Time is just a haunting, lovely recording that I will always associate with her recent appearance on Letterman. Look, if you don¿t like Tori Amos, chances are you won¿t like this one either, but for those of us who do, this maybe be one of the highwater marks of her already brave and creative career.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tori Amos is not for everyone and she knows it. Her target audience has always been narrow, which accounts for her cult like success. Very few albums though, are so compelling, complete and stunning, both in sound and in concept. I am not a fan of Tori Amos outside of this album, but Strange Little Girls completely proves Tori's artistic bredth. Haunting and beautiful, these covers from Eminem to the Velvet Underground are sure to surprise even the most suspicious of listeners.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her ideas for this album are ingenius. She is brilliant. She certainly has talent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to it over and over and I still love the song.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After the rather dissapointing, ''To Venus and Back''(which seemed to focus on Tori's band rather than Tori herself) I was utterly delighted to hear her newest addition to the music scene. Tori not only covers 12 songs on ''SLG'', she truely makes them better than the originals. She may not have written the words, but she adds a flare and certain magic to each track that simply were not there originally. Any long time fan will love it and it is a great way for new listeners to get to know Tori!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I have never hated a Tori release, for me Strange Little Girls is better than her last two albums. I think this album is incredible, it brings me back to the earlier days of Tori, with an added level of sophistication.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Tori, I can finally rest my head knowing that I have another Tori album to savor over a morning cup of tea. She is so provocative and moving with this whole album that I couldn't stop listening till the last song. However, if you are a 1st time Tori listener, don't let this be your first experience with the nautical nun goddess (Choirgirl reference). Try out Little Earthquakes then Under The Pink to get a nice flavor of what she's all about before diving into this one. You'll be so very satisfied at the end result of listening to this album, that you can't help coming back again, and again to see if you discover something new that you may have missed the first go-a-round. This album will for sure tweek the strangely curious in all of us to see what this girl is about!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard tracks from this CD and since I love Tori as if she was my mother, I love it! She has done it again. I own all her CDs and I'm building my singles collection. I recommend it to every Tori fan, but I know they have it preordered already.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago