Beekeeper

Beekeeper

4.2 12
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… See more details below

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?

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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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/08/2008
Label:
Epic Europe
UPC:
5099751942528
catalogNumber:
519425
Rank:
13883

Related Subjects

Tracks

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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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