Home Read Classic Album Review: Tori Amos | Strange Little Girls

Classic Album Review: Tori Amos | Strange Little Girls

The singer-pianist beats the boys at their own game on this empowered covers set.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


She might be queen of the Lilith Fairies, but Tori Amos has always seemed fascinated by the rock boys.

As far back as ’92, she was putting covers of Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones on the B-sides of her singles. Now, a decade later, she’s finally brought her obsession to the forefront. On Strange Little Girls, the quirky piano goddess covers a dozen testosterone-fuelled tunes by the likes of Lou Reed (New Age), The Beatles (a 10-minute freaky, hypnotically rocking Happiness is a Warm Gun), Boomtown Rats (I Don’t Like Mondays), The Stranglers (a dreamy pop take on Strange Little Girl), Tom Waits (Time) and even Slayer (a suitably funereal Raining Blood). Bloodiest of all, though, is her remake of ’97 Bonnie & Clyde, Eminem’s twisted tale of taking his daughter for a car ride with his wife’s body in the trunk. Drily narrating the rap lyrics atop a lush bed of psycho-thriller strings, Amos makes an already unsettling tune downright bloodcurdling, bringing its misogyny even more sharply into focus. It’s then you realize Strangle Little Girls isn’t just some gimmicky cover album; it’s also an exercise in gender politics and female self-empowerment through role reversal. Looks like Tori’s beat the boys at their own game.