Beekeeper

The Beekeeper

4.2 16
by Tori Amos
     
 

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Over the course of the past decade or so, Tori Amos has been one of rock's most mercurial artists, skipping softly across minimal piano ballads, then stomping madly through waves of electronics. On this, her eighth studio album, the singer-songwriter exhibits a surprisingly even, engagingly pastoral tone -- which may have something to do with her move to the English

Overview

Over the course of the past decade or so, Tori Amos has been one of rock's most mercurial artists, skipping softly across minimal piano ballads, then stomping madly through waves of electronics. On this, her eighth studio album, the singer-songwriter exhibits a surprisingly even, engagingly pastoral tone -- which may have something to do with her move to the English countryside, a locale that's reflected vividly in the grooves. Amos delves into traditional folk structures on several songs, including the jaunty "The Power of Orange Knickers," on which she duets with Damien Rice. She also calls upon the elegant -- if somewhat stoic -- tenor of ancient European church music for songs like "Witness," on which she swaps her usual ivories for a rich Hammond B-3 organ. Religion plays a significant role here, which makes sense, given that Amos says she'd been studying the little-known Gnostic Gospels during the period that spawned the disc. That translates into songs that range from harrowing (the gnarled "Original Sinsuality") to elegiac (the unfettered "Sweet the Sting"). Admittedly, Amos sometimes stretches a little to preserve The Beekeeper's complex conceptual structure, but what would a Tori Amos album be without a bit of gray-matter calisthenics?

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Released in conjunction with Tori Amos: Piece by Piece, a memoir presented as a think piece co-written with music journalist Ann Powers, Tori Amos' eighth studio album, The Beekeeper, is also loosely autobiographical, a song cycle that chronicles emotional journeys through metaphorical gardens all tended by the beekeeper protagonist of the title. Good thing that this concept was sketched out in the pre-release publicity, since The Beekeeper offers nothing close to a discernible concept in the album itself. At first, songs appear to spill forward in some sort of narrative, but the liner notes divide the 19 songs into six different groups -- "gardens," if you will -- that have nothing to do with how they're presented on the album, nor do they seem to have many sonic ties, and their lyrical connections are either tenuous or obtuse. Coming after 2002's Scarlet's Walk, whose title and songs clearly communicated its concept, this willful obtuseness might seem to hearken back to Tori's obstinately difficult albums of the mid-'90s, but The Beekeeper is miles away from the clanging darkness of Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel. This is a bright, gleaming album that retains its sunny disposition even when the tempos grow slow and the melodies turn moody. Amos even occasionally punctuates her trademark elliptical piano ballads with organ-driven lite-funk -- a move that may alienate longtime fans, who may also balk at the album's highly polished sheen, but one that nevertheless fits well into the general feel of the record, lending it some genuine momentum. If the story line or concepts of the album aren't readily apparent, individual songs make their specific points well, and the record does flow with the grace and purpose of a song suite. As a cohesive work, The Beekeeper holds together better than nearly any of Tori's more ambitious albums, but there's a certain artsy distance that keeps this from being as emotionally immediate or as memorable as her first two records. But if Little Earthquakes was an album Amos could only have made in her twenties, The Beekeeper is a record perfectly suited for the singer/songwriter in her forties -- a little studied and deliberate, perhaps a shade too classy and consciously literary for its own good, but it's an ambitious, restless work that builds on her past work without resting on her laurels.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/08/2008
Label:
Epic Europe
UPC:
5099751942528
catalogNumber:
519425
Rank:
133557

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tori Amos   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Matt Chamberlain   Drums,Hand Clapping
London Community Gospel Choir   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jon Evans   Bass,Hammond Organ,Hand Clapping,Upright Bass
Damien Rice   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Mac Aladdin   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar
Chelsea Laird   Hand Clapping
Alison Evans   Hand Clapping
Kelsey Dobyns   Background Vocals
Hayley West   Voices

Technical Credits

Wayne Hernandez   Arranger
Tori Amos   Composer,Producer
Mark Hawley   Engineer
David Bett   Art Direction
Marcel VanLimbeek   Engineer
Sheri G. Lee   Art Direction
John Witherspoon   Management
Chelsea Laird   Management
Duncan Pickford   Contributor
Hayley West   Office Coordinator
Sheri Lee   Art Direction

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The Beekeeper 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a Tori fan since her album 'Little Earthquakes' and I have seen her style change, adapt and go through many musical as well as emotional phases, and this is what makes her so easy for me to relate to in her music. She delves into her music on a very personal level with 'The Beekeeper' and takes a look into the "gardens" that it is to be human, each one very deep, different and personal. This album varies in sound from her more "traditional" stylings, but then again, each album is a complete rebirth of her style, which makes Tori an artist you can relate to no matter what point in life you are at.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once the angry darling of yesterday's innovative, piano driven alternative rock now strangely belongs with the likes of adult contemporary alumni, John Mayer and Sarah McLachlan. The softer side of Tori began a few years ago with her last album, "Scarlet's Walk," and perhaps it comes with age, too. Despite this, Ms. Amos offers a delicate but delectable album with, "The Beekeeper." The concept may not gel together as well as it did with the travelogue on "Scarlet's Walk," but on lush soundscapes like, "Jamaica Inn," "Martha's Foolish Ginger," "Goodbye Pisces," and "Marys of the Sea," Tori hasn't sounded more stunning since "Under the Pink." A few other gems include, "Mother Revolution," the catchy and fun, "Cars and Guitars", and the title track, a techno tinged, seven minute trip to the underground. And who can resist the typical Tori quirkiness of "The Power of Orange Knickers," a duet with Damien Rice? Overall, the album feels bloated at 19 songs and could have been more effective if pared down to a dozen instead. Most notably, the sentimental, "Ribbons Undone," the light-hearted, "Ireland", and the throwaway bar song, "Hoochie Woman," could have been left as B-sides. With that said, it leaves the album feeling uneven. This is certainly not Tori's best, but it's not her worst either. Lyrically, she hasn't been this direct since "Little Earthquakes" but maintains enough mystery to please die-hard fans. Her fascination with Mary Magdalene continues as she frequently peppers songs with Biblical references, approaching it from her unique feminist viewpoint. No longer the confessional, victimized priestess of dark pop, Tori burns bright with a newfound maturity and contentment that probably can be attributed to her marriage with sound engineer, Mark Hawley, the birth of her now four year old daughter, Natashya, and the fact that she is over 40. Despite this, she is still an acquired and original taste, which brings me to the conclusion that you can't guzzle "The Beekeeper" down in one gulp. You need to sip it and let it simmer inside you before you can fully enjoy it. Bottomline is, you'll want to be stung again and again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good thing Tori is still Tori. There is no doubt in the mind that Tori embellishes her happiness with a little bitterness of the world mixed in on this album. She's still got it, and her metiphorical lyrics have never left her voice. What concerns others is that she is not as "hard core" as she used to be. But I disagree. I believe she has grown up and seen more of the world and herself and had a daughter and this album is just anoter step in her life. Every song is a jewel, and no, it is not over produced, I know what over produced sounds like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have been a tori from way back when..she has always had a way with words and a way to creep in just right,so that it touches you somewere deep inside that you never new you had there in the frist place...if you never have heard tori before give it a shot, you can never go worng..every album is it owns treasure..
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was younger, and I heard some of her tracks before, like Cornflake girl, I liked them. But I always thought Tori's music was a little too alternative for my style. I'm more of a McLachlan girl. But when she came out with Scarlet's Walk, I heard Crazy, and I knew I had to by the album. Now, with The Beekeeper, I can really enjoy Tori's wonderful, unique voice, but in a more conservative tone. The album is awesome, filled with emotion. But personal favorites are Ribbons Undone, and of course, Sleeps With Butterflies. If your a fan of Tori, you can see her in a slightly different light. And if you're a fan of Sarah McLachlan, you're sure to love this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Beekeeper in all is a very well polished work,and that is exactly what smothers The Beekeeper.No doubt of Tori's talent,I just feel this is not her most passionate expression.I am fond of her Pele era,perhaps reflecting the Christian mythology has given the work this Puritan dead flare.In all it is a nice listen,and overdone.Tori is an artist that I do respect;but just like your friends you can still like them without having to like everything they do.I look forward to more music from Tori,and hope she keeps on with her musical journey.On a positive note Garlands & The Beekeeper are gorgeous songs.Wishing Tori the best!
Winnie_Doe More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Tori and will generally buy it if she sings it- but not this. Thank God I heard American Doll Posse before I heard this or i might have thought that she lost her touch. I don't know what it is; The music is fuzzy around the edges. it seems dull. maybe it's bad production; maybe she was trying something different, but I just can't force myself to like this CD (and i really want to!) The songwriting isn't bad. Her vocals aren't bad. If you hear this CD in concert some of the songs sound awesome. Out of 19 songs, I like 2 - the title track and Sleeps with Butterflies, both of which i could live wihout. I can't put my finger on the problem, but this recording just doesn't work for me. Such a disappointment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beginning with 'Venus', Tori has spiraled into boring. Her albums, especially this one, have become monotonus, punchless affairs where most of the songs are indistinguishable and lack tempo, beat and interest--she's practically Sarah McLachlan. The music on 'Beekeeper' is unvaried, soft and uncreative--of course its only purpose is to (barely) let you know you've switched from one song to another. The lyrics, which take up almost every second of every song (no wonder she's not spending any time coming up with interesting music--no one would get to hear it anyway) have become self-absorbed, droning, babble, annoying in that they never go anywhere--she's dropped all effort at being self-revealing, or even just interesting. Convinced of her own brilliance she's content to just roll anything out there. From the genius who mastered confessional songs in the 90's we are now getting elevator music--like Sting, she seems so convinced of her depth and complexity that we're supposed worship her every utterance leaving her free to produce nothing more than unemotional singing of pointless, painlessly forgettable lyrics. The last time she put out anything with any urgency, intensity, feeling, energy (or even variety) was Strange Little Girls--a cover album. Left to her own devices she has become nothing more than a creator of valium on disc.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although different from her first 2, (they all were), The Beekeeper is another point in the journey of Tori's existence, and one that I've enjoyed following for a dozen years. As with all of her creations, they are mostly reflections of what is in her world in the now. She has been through a lot through the last 12 years, and each CD has a different flavor, LE being a musically delicious and raw view into her psyche, BFP, called "the breakup" album, Choirgirl after the tragic miscarriage, et cetera. I've aged with Tori, and this CD certainly has a more grown-up, softer, and polished feel, but she has succeded in rocking my world, as always.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This latest CD is just another chapter in the Tori journey, and for those of us who have been listening to her since the beginning it has been a wonderful and raw evolution of music and artistry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album takes you on a journey with a surprise around every corner. I've been a devoted fan for 12 years and I am not dissapointed at all. I like her first 2 albums, but have really been taken with her since Boys for Pele. Keep up the good work!
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