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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2001
I might be a bit prejudiced when it comes to Tori Amos's music, but this album definately will increase the amount if respect I have for her. The whole concept of the album is rather unique: Tori asked 12 men in her life to pick 12 songs written solely by men about women for her to interpret. She looked behind the songs trying to filter out the women trapped inside of them. But without essentially altering the lyrics, this album shows how songs can have different layers. And each woman is a character, with a face, shown by Amos dressing up as them.
This is not a feminist album. It is an album that shows just another facet of each song. 'I'm Not In Love' may sound as a cliché choice but Amos rips it off its romantic meaning and makes it haunting and chilling it its nakedness and simplicity. 'Time' and 'Real Men' just shows Tori's unqiue pianostyle and respect for the orginals. 'Heart of Gold' is a distorting unearthy raw track sung by twins. 'Rattlesnakes' and 'I Don't Like Mondays' allow Tori to introduce a new toy: a Fender Rhodes. The songs sound like lullabies but ones with a deeper meaning. 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' is a 10 minute protest to guns and violence (a central theme on the record) and what it can do, like words 'they can only do harm' to quote Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy the Silence'.
The title track, orginally by the Stranglers, is the most catchy tune of the album that shows Amos's musical diversity and creativeness. MOst haunting however is Eminem's ''96 Bonnie & Clyde'. It tells the story of a man murdering his wife and trying to explain this to his child. Amos places herself in the position of the woman lying in the trunk hearing the way her husband speaks to her child. It's better than the original.
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on 16 October 2004
This album is seriously, subtly, sexily, desolately ferocious.
Amos' vast talents as a songwriter & performer can lead to her skills as a producer being overlooked. Have a listen to this to find out what i mean. So much anger at the violence and cruelty of the way we let the world be run is crammed in to some of the softest, most intimate moments of the record.
It's a shame that people might dismiss it as "just a covers album". It couldn't be further from that, it's a masterpiece.
(You may have guessed I'm a fan... Still, I would certainly put this in my top 3 Tori albums, and I'm not just saying that!)
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on 26 June 2002
I really like Tori Amos, so I was excited that she was releasing a new album. It sounded like an interesting idea too, even though I'm not big on cover versions.
Anyway, there's some good tracks on here, and mostly it is a pretty good album to listen to. Some tracks however, such as '97 Bonnie and Clyde, are very effective the first couple of times but don't really warrant repeat listenings. Still, it's better than actually listening to Eminem. Other tracks don't really stand out, and the 9-minute cover of Hapiness Is A Warm Gun, with news excerpts about John Lennon's shooting, is overlong and way too obvious. I will admit that I haven't heard the original versions of a lot of these songs, but surely the album should still stand up in its own right? I found that, rather than being able to admire Tori's songwriting, all there was to admire was what style she had chosen to perform each song in. I was also especially intruiged to see what she would do with Raining Blood (a Slayer cover), but she's turned it into a tuneless mess of slow piano chords and mumbled singing.
As for the meaning behind the songs, the idea was that she would get people to suggest songs for her to cover that were written by men about women. In the booklet we get pictures of Tori dressed up like the characters in each song, with a sentence about them like "Whenever it rains you think of her" and "She wonders what her daughter will do". It's difficult to know what some of these are supposed to mean, and indeed if it's worth making the effort to interpret them when the most important messages seem to be in the lyrics of the songs anyway (Real Men for example). That's pretty mch how the album goes, some of the ideas may be clever, but so what if the album isn't that great to listen to in itself?
I do feel kind of bad giving this album 2 stars, because I do like Tori Amos lots, but this CD isn't exactly fantastic. For someone not already into Tori Amos, I would reccomend Little Earthquakes and Under The Pink as first choices.
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on 26 September 2001
"Songs by men about men, sung by Tori from the point of view of that songs female character..."
I think it's safe to assume that the majority of Toriphiles out there had to sit back and take a long hard think about the details of the latest long-player from Tori Amos. After all, it's hardly the easiest thing to pull of. But before any of us had even heard this album, we all probably took into consideration all of the magnificant covers that Tori has done previously. ("Smells like teen spirit", "Imagine", "If 6 were 9" etc, etc...) and each one of them ended up as brilliant (if not better!) than the original. So really we probably all should have expected a project like this to emerge eventually. But this is much much more than an album of covers; For if Tori's last album "To Venus and Back" was the sound of Tori's inner spirits and moods, then "Strange Little Girls" is the sound of Tori possessed by her audio/lyrical (anti?)heroines. This album finally puts right all those 'male' songs by finally giving their women a voice. Previously over-produced numbers such as Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the silence" are treated to the classic 'Tori & Piano' treatment, with haunting results. Eminem is finally puts in his place by Tori letting Bonnie highlight Clydes actions so he realises what he is doing to their daughter, which is sure to make even the strongest of wills tremble and shudder. The Beatles and Neil Young also don't get of so lightly. But highlights of the album most certainly come in the shape of the beautiful renditions of "Rattlesnakes", "Time" and "I don't like Mondays" which all finally revive the classic Tori "Simplicity=Gorgeousness" fomula that made her first three albums so special. Thankfully, this album isn't a mass feminism statemant; it's simply one of the most talented, magnificant and unique female artists of the past 20 years finally putting turning the tables of her male predecessors so we can all sit back and see her point. After all, Tori is most likely the only artist capable of this without seeming pretentious or above-her-station. Tori is simply an artist music couldn't do without... Buy "Strange Little Girls" and you'll see my point too!
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on 2 August 2013
New Age opens this album of covers perfectly, Tori adding a sense of gentle menace to the song. Her whimsical cover of Eminems' 97 Bonnie and Clyde makes the disturbing lyrics sound deceptively sweet, delicious just for that. I love her versions of "Strange Little Girl" and "I Don't Like Mondays", Happiness is a warm gun moves too. The rest of the tracks are all excellent but the tracks above excel . This album was meant to be songs written by men sung from a woman's point of view. Job Done Well Miss Amos
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on 19 September 2001
Don't let the fact that the songs on this album aren't written by Tori put you off buying it - her talent and creativity still shine through as brightly as ever. Most cover songs these days are just photocopies of the originals, but this is definately not the case here. Put it this way, Eminen does nothing for me, but Tori's version of "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" really sent shivers down my spine.
Other faves? "Strange Little Girl", and "Real Men".
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on 12 September 2003
Unlike most of the people who’ve written reviews for this album, I’m not a die hard Tori fan. This is the first album of hers that I’ve ever bought. Having listened to it I have to say I think it’s a very clever and accomplished piece of work. On every single one of these tracks, Amos has managed to make the song her own, completely transforming the original sentiment. This doesn’t always work, as ‘Raining Blood’ is messy, and ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ carries on for far too long, but I think it’s a real testament to her musical talent that she can take a song like ‘Enjoy The Silence’ and transform it into a strange and beautiful ballad, and turn ‘Rattlesnakes’ into a kind of Country and Western stomper. It’s a moody, downbeat album, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Most of these songs really grew on me, and this has been one of the best things I’ve bought recently.
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on 15 September 2001
Tori has come up with a great album yet again. Her covers of Rattlesnake and Strange Little Girl are my favourites from the album. Also I Don't Like Mondays which is also one of my all-time favourite songs is complimented by Tori's voice. I recommend this album!
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on 17 June 2002
This album on first listen is really difficult to get into but after a few plays it really grew on me.Bonnie and Clyde is definately a stand out track; its incredibly haunting but there some other greats there too for example Enjoy the Silence which gets the simplicfication treatment.I didnt know all the original songs from the album but the concept is a great idea and anyone who can re-work Slayers 'raining blood' and make it sound so different to the original has gotta be good.To be fair i only bought this because it's a tori album but it's what doing covers should be about;the artists interpretation of a song they like, not a carbon copy by some new young 'talent'.
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on 23 September 2001
I thought there wasn't an album of Toris that I wouldn't like (and I was wetting my pants waiting for this one to arrive) but I don't like this one at all. After listening to it I thought 'yeah, I know what you're saying, but I don't really want to hear it again thanks' - with the exception of Strange Little Girl. It's not that I don't get it, it's more that it did nothing for me. I think the photos of Tori are stunning.
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