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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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The Beekeeper CD Cover
Image © Epic Records 2005

More Tori Amos:
Welcome to Sunny Florida (CD/DVD)
Review and Interview
  (05 March 2005) It's been over a decade now since Little Earthquakes was released through Atlantic Records. On February 22, 2005, eight more albums and a new record label later, Epic has released Tori Amos latest project entitled The Beekeeper. The album creates another mile marker on the path paved by her previous works, which have gotten steadily less edgy. And whomever is painting the title on this one might be tempted to label the project "adult contemporary."

Don't take that the wrong way. Amos' music hasn't changed, per se. Her unorthodox lyrics, unique way of pronouncing words, familiar style of stroking the keys, and distinctive, haunting harmonies are still present. But gone are the striking emotional ballads, bold fierceness and shocking dynamic changes and that were once so present in her songs. That doesn't make it any less good or artistic, though. Tori is just in a different place now as a mother and wife instead of a fiery woman who had recently suffered horribly tragic events in her young life.

All of her albums have a kind of theme or concept to them, and The Beekeeper is no different. Loosely autobiographical, it is comprised of six different "gardens" which represent each of the kinds of relationships that a woman can have. It is also told from the perspective of a Christian woman--which Tori is not--something thathaving a preacher for a father may have helped her accomplish. That might also be responsible for the rock Gospel-ish sound resonating in the second track, "Sweet the Sting." But then again, it might be the organ she's playing, too.

Other highlights include a track featuring Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice called "The Power of Orange Knickers,"the first single "Sleeps with Butterflies" and "Goodbye Pisces," reminiscent of "China" with its oriental feel. However, the real beauty of this collection shines after the disc has been spun a good three or four times and the songs become familiar. Only with repeated listens do subtle touches of genius come out. But they are only the shades of magnificence to be expected from Tori Amos.Let this one grow on you.--Kristen Kissenger in Boston, MA

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