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Amos Makes Old Covers Seem New

I have to confess that the last Tori Amos CD I bought was Little Earthquakes, released in 1992. While for a short period I knew all the words from start to finish, my interest in Amos didn't resurface until recently. Her newest album, Strange Little Girls, is by no means an upbeat, cheerful hour of music. Rather, all of the songs are variations of male artists' creations.

Covers include Neil Young's "Heart of Gold," which she transforms into an angry, somewhat dizzy and strange version of the originally mellow classic. Other songs such as the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "New Age," written by Lou Reed round out the album. Eminem's "Bonnie & Clyde" is a frightening rendition of Eminem's wife-killing fantasy song, as Amos sings, or rather whispers, the part of his dead wife in the trunk of a car throughout the track.

The extremely offbeat and eclectic nature of Amos' album appeals to many listeners, and the somewhat depressing yet passionate songs are no doubt intriguing. The CD lost me on overly emotional or redundant tracks. Yet the concept of an album featuring Amos' fresh variations is an achievement in itself.

The album is available in four different covers, each of which shows a seperate Amos alter-ego. Clearly, she assumes many musical personas in this expansive effort, making the exploitive marketing ploy somewhat appropriate. Although I would not recommend Strange Little Girls as a fitting introduction to Amos' music, it is definitely a necessity for established Tori fans.

--Christina Mestre

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