After five original albums and the birth of her daughter, Tori Amos has cast off the girlishness that occasionally found its way into her earlier work. This is, by far, her most mature work yet, an album that features songs originally written by men about women.
However, these are not traditional cover songs. The twelve songs in this album may be better defined as interpretations-they sound nothing like the original versions and fittingly so. Amos provides another view and dimension to these songs, forcing the listener to take a step back and re-evaluate what they mean. In several instances, she strips them down to a deceptively simpler version featuring only piano and vocal. She even goes as far as creating a separate character for each song through the photography in the CD booklet, which is worth the price of the CD alone!
Listening to this album is an overwhelming experience. As intimately personal as any of her previous efforts, one can not help but be drawn into the world of Strange Little Girls. From the disturbing violence of “97 Bonnie and Clyde” in which she whispers a tale of a man who murdered his wife. To the tender beauty of Tom Waits’ “Time”, this album covers a broad spectrum of emotions and themes that one needs to listen to numerous times to appreciate.
The album truly begins in “New Age” where she declares “oh, you sick little fucks, yes, it’s the beginning of a new age”, and ends with this contemplative line from “Real Men,” “but now and then we wonder who the real men are…”
Fans of Neil Young or the Beatles may be bewildered to hear her sharp electronic cover of “Heart of Gold” and the ten-minute epic “Happiness is a Warm Gun.”
Considering all this, it may at first be an intimidating listen. I suggest tuning out everything else in your life and allowing yourself to be drawn into Strange Little Girls, an exploration of what it means to be a man (or a woman) and the relationships between the two genders.
Buy it, enjoy it, listen to it repeatedly and regardless of your gender, prepare to be changed.
1. New Age – Originally Performed By The Velvet Underground
2. 97′ Bonnie & Clyde – Originally Performed By Eminem
3. Strange Little Girl – Originally Performed By The Stanglers
4. Enjoy The Silence – Originally Performed By Depeche Mode
5. I’m Not In Love – Originally Performed By 10cc
6. Rattlesnakes – Originally Performed By Lloyd Cole And The Commotions
7. Time – Originally Performed By Tom Waits
8. Heart Of Gold – Originally Performed By Neil Young
9. I Don’t Like Mondays – Originally Performed By The Boomtown Rats
10. Happiness Is A Warm Gun – Originally Performed By The Beatles
11. Raining Blood – Originally Performed By Slayer
12. Real Men – Originally Performed By Joe Jackson