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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2003
"Extra Tracks" is not true - it's actually REPLACEMENT track. And it's the worst possible replacement. Some marketing fool thought that the remix version of Professional Widow should be added after this was a dance hit. It's totally at odds with the rest of the album. Worse still, they removed In the Springtime of His Voodoo to fit the PW remix on.
This is a wonderful, 5-star album, but don't waste your money on this particular version of it. Get the real thing.
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on 17 April 2003
This is a masterpiece. For so long, it was the only Tori album that I couldn't connect with. In fact, I never used to get more than half way with it. But one day, it just clicked with me, and now it's one of my favourite albums ever. It has touches of genius throughout, and although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, I fail to see how you couldn't love the beautiful Putting the Damage On or Marianne, or my favourite Doughnut Song.
Tori plays the harspichord with brilliance and emotion, which, believe me, is extremely hard. The experimentation with the harpsichord and also with a brass band on Putting the Damage On, work a dream.
If you have never heard Tori's work before, I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point. Her other albums are nothing like this, and it may put you off. The other danger is that you may go into this thinking that the dreadful remix of Professional Widow is the album version. Thank God this isn't the case. I think about 2 phrases of the original version were used in the remix. I don't know what possessed Tori to allow it (money I suppose!!).
Don't believe the people who say that this is a difficult album. It's genius, and well worth every hour you invest in it. It pays dividends!!
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It is very difficult to write a review for this album. It is so dark, mysterious, and complicated that I can't pretend to understand all of the songs, but I have no problem hailing it as an original work of musical genius. Tori opens up her heart in so many ways that you can gain new insights each time you listen. This is, for the most part, a somber collection of songs. While I, as a man, love this CD, there are some places in which Tori seems to release some negativity toward men and failed relationships. I believe there is a strong female empowerment theme in these songs; even the unusual cover portrays a woman more than capable to rise above any man who approaches. More universally, though, Tori encourages every individual to strengthen himself/herself.
This album starts out slowly and quietly, as "Beauty Queen" begins with one note on the piano repeating itself; the song soon melds into "Horses," a more intensive yet relatively quiet song. Then the waves crash on the heavy, harpsichord-accompanied "Blood Roses," which seems to echo the bad end of a relationship and categorizes at least some men as "nothing but meat." "Father Lucifer" has a slow, easy melody that climaxes with a slight pandemonium of lyrics. Tori rocks the harpsichord with "Professional Widow," in which soft, lilting lines bridge emotional, intensive lyrical episodes. I love this song, but I imagine the message better relates to women than it does men. "Mr. Zebra" is a short track marking a transition back to soft, lilting music. "Marianne" is a somber song that seems to deal with the suicide of a friend. With "Caught A Lite Sneeze," Tori makes her own hate machine from memories of a failed relationship; this first single from the album is an infectious, masterful song. "Hey Jupiter" is a very slow, serious song which must be listened to closely in order to be truly appreciated--this one really hits you and grows on you over time. I was a little surprised when it was released as a single because it is so serious and slow, but there is no denying the song is incredible. "Talula" rocks, but it is slightly different from the version on the "Twister" movie soundtrack. The second half of the album is filled with slow, delicate singing and minimal accompaniment. Wondrous songs such as "Not the Red Baron," "Doughnut Song," and "Twinkle" do not tend to stay in my head too well because of their fragile composition, but they are more than worthy of a listen. "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" and "Putting the Damage On" form a nice yet sympathetic contrast to their more ethereal immediate counterparts.
This is indisputably a unique, eclectic album with almost 70 minutes of music. The real gems are "Caught A Lite Sneeze," "Talula," and "Hey Jupiter." The first two of these songs have a strong beat and a rock feel to them, but the beat-driven songs on here make up a significant minority. While much of the music is piano-based, Tori brings in all sorts of unusual instruments to her songs--the harpsichord and Bosendorfer piano are used extensively, whereas bass and drums make a forceful impression on select tracks such as "Talula" and "Merry Widow." This album is so unique and unusual that I can understand some people, maybe even a few Tori Amos fans, disliking it. This isn't music to pop in the stereo and start dancing to. Tori puts a lot into these songs, and she demands a lot from her audience in return because only the listener's attention can secure his/her comprehension and enjoyment. Finally, I will just say that you should not toss this CD aside if you do not like it initially; I myself had to listen to it several times before its magic really became clear to me.
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on 5 August 2003
this message couldn't be stressed enough: get the regular version. this so-called "extra tracks" version replaces the wonderful, funky "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" with the atrocious dance remix of "Professional Widow"... you've heard it.
if you liked that remix, don't get this album. get the remix single. this album is musically sparse, lyrically abstract, dark, impressionistic pop.
the remix here sticks out like a heap of fresh elephant dung in a field of beautiful poppies.
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on 7 September 2002
I have listened to all of Tori Amos' albums (bar 'Y Kant Tori Read' and the forthcoming 'Scarlet's Walk') and 1996's 'Boys For Pele' was the third Tori album I encountered.
Well, yes, it does take a bit of getting used to after her 1992 debut 'Little Earthquakes' was so accessible and 1994's 'Under The Pink' so mysterious it drew you in. 'Boys For Pele' is unlike anything we have heard before from anyone. Truly original and in places breathtakingly beautiful, the album very much represents the fire in the creator's personality.
I first heard the album at the beginning of 2002 and eight months later it may well be better on my ears than in January. Kicking off with "Beauty Queen" and the delightful ballad "Horses", the album begins rather quietly and mysteriously. When it kicks into the sublime "Blood Roses", an energetic rant, you are completely gobsmacked. Tori includes harpsichord here and on many of the other tracks including several hits.
The lyrical side to Miss Amos travels down unexplored avenues for madness! Her lyrics can be hard to penetrate, but the music more than makes up for it. Tori includes church bells, harpsichord, bagpipes, brass bands - the lot. And to great effect.
'Boys For Pele' is also Tori's first self-produced affair and this is another factor to its brilliance. The odd "Professional Widow" was made into a chart-topping club hit in 1997, but the original is without doubt the better, making for possibly the most raw sounding song on the album.
'Boys For Pele' is quirky, gorgeous, odd, extreme, eccentric, beautiful, head-turning and magical all at once. It is so far Tori's most challenging and ambitious listen, but with a few good plays it will become a favourite.
"Cooling", a song meant to have been on this album, would have made 'Boys For Pele' even better but it is so special that maybe it is better left played live. You can hear that song on the live disc of 1999's 'To Venus And Back' album.
Tori would expand her muse on later albums, but 'Boys For Pele' is just fabulous. Buy it.
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on 22 September 2001
An album containing a real mixture of mood, mainly of anger and frustration coming to the surface, intertwined with strange humour, sexual flirtation and sweet meloncholy! Positively 'schizophrenic' in musical style, thus creating an unusual yet captivating atmosphere that grows more and more heavily on the ever loving Tori fan. This album is, other than Under the Pink, especially sacred to me! From the moment I very first ever played it from beginning to end, I was hooked! Normally, music has to grow on me, but as ever, she always manages to leave me in awe. BFP is a journey or better still, a dream! The majority of her best ever songs are on this album, such as the painful, passion fuelled Doghnut Song, the beautiful Marianne, and Caught a Lite Sneeze, which marks a point were Tori gradually moves away from piano, making the harpsichord sound really 'cool!' From this album on, Tori gradually veers away from piano only, further expanding her musical style and paving the way for future albums. I personally feel that Tori comes out of herself a lot more in BFP vocally, telling stories with real expression and dynamic feeling! She portrays her moods in such a way that even the most veteran actress could only wish to achieve, in sending shivers down the spines of her audience. There are no limits as far as this album is concerned! Without meaning to sound really corny, buy this album, listen to it, you may not be touched by all of the songs at first, but I assure you, you'll be struck by at least four, the rest will gradually warm to you! Take the outstanding, with the maybe not so preferable tracks, and within all of that, you could find yourself a firm companion.
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on 18 January 2007
This album endlessly amazes me. I've had it for a number of years now and overplayed it dreadfully, but everytime I listen I hear something new. Tori goes from the sublime to the profane, from nightmarescapes to dreamscapes, effortlessly. The poems start off slowly, softly, gradually getting faster as we are led into the dark world of pele by the horses of the title. Pele is difficult to describe as it's such a mix of styles and styles that it sounds almost primeval. Tori herself says it was a musical journey to the 'dark place' and a way of battling a lot of her demons. It was recorded in an old church in Ireland and there is no doubt the sense of history and 'otherworldliness' comes shining through throughout the album. Don't expect it to instantly click with you, because it won't. I didn't like it when I first heard it but I perservered, and now its one of my favourite albums of all time. This is music when it become more than music and becomes an art form.
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on 13 February 2002
This is tori's "difficult" album. it takes the longest to get into, but the rewards are worth it. having listened to tori for a long time, this is the album i come back to again and again.
listened to in the right mood the first 4 tracks are like making love to the lady herself, climaxing with tori screaming "peace, love..." - then just lie back to be carressed by the dreamlike beauty that follows.
features george porter jr. of the meters fame - one of the finest bass players ever (listen to their record "Rejuvenation" if you don't believe me) and some fat and funky beats on songs like talula and professional widow and beatifully understated arrangements on hey jupiter and little amsterdam.
check out the remix of hey jupiter on the EP release, even more moving than the album version, and whatever you do - don't buy the version of this album with the professional widow remix, it;s a crappy track and forces "in the springtime of his voodoo" off the disc for some reason.
recorded in a old church in ireland, i believe, the album sounds at once huge and desolate and fragile and intimate. this is one of the most delicately beautiful albums i've ever listened to and brings me to my knees every time i hear it.
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on 22 February 2000
Well, I like this album becasue of its very odd approach. It is very self indulgent, and some of it doesn't quite work, but the treatments are diverse and quirky, and it's an enjoyable album because you don't quite know where it's coming from. If you are not a Tori fan, this isn't the record to start with; if you want imagination and a demonstration of her finding a way to find a new way to present her material, then this is a turning point.
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on 1 December 2016
Originally released on January 22, 1996, despite being Amos' least accessible record to date, "Boys for Pele" debuted at No. 2 on both the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. Featuring 18 songs that incorporate harpsichord, clavichord, harmonium, gospel choirs, brass bands and full orchestras, the album was more experimental, and a step into a different direction in terms of singing, songwriting and recording, marking a departure from the relative commercial accessibility of her previous work. Amos wrote all of the tracks, and for the first time she served as sole producer for her own album. Her aggressive rubbing into pain to make pleasure, through each discrete note plucked on the harpsichord, is simultaneously terrifying and cathartic, like walking through fire and coming out the other end smiling, while still bleeding. By tearing herself open, she became the very embodiment of beauty, sexuality, and sensuality. It is no wonder she retreated and hid behind characters. Unequivocally the work of a brave artist unafraid of taking risks throughout her storied 25-year career, "Boys for Pele" is arguably the most personal, powerful musical statement she has ever made.

Deluxe 2-disc edition features a newly-remastered version of the original 18-track album, along with 21 bonus tracks that include a selection of B-Sides, rare recordings, and 4 previously unreleased tracks. Presented as an 8-panel digipack (just like previous 2 reissues), and featuring all Cindy Palmano's photographs that accompanied the original album, plus additional ones, as well as lyrics, and track commentary by Tori herself on every song, the new package feels more complete that the first time around, enhancing the notion that the album is like a road map of survival. The extra material is fantastic (much sought-after B-Side "To the motormaids of Japan" is perfection - if only "Samurai" was included, too), and the sharp, more detailed audio quality is superb (particularly when listened to with headphones). My only gripe are the slightly zoomed-in front and back cover pictures. Those who will go after the vinyl 2LP edition, bear in mind that it only contains the original 18 tracks. Delicate, powerful, spooky, joyful, and ecstatic, this is a heavy, not pleasant album, one that almost threatens its listener. "Hey Jupiter / Nothing's been the same…So are you gay? Are you blue...?
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