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Visions (Germany)
September 2001

On men and women

Tori Amos interpretates men's compositions only on her sixth album - with an incredible result.

Just one year after the birth of her first daugther Nathashya Lorien and two years after the release of To Venus And Back the pianist and singer who lives with her husband Mark Hawley in Cornwall brings out a new album at the end of September. You cannot call that a proper "time out". "Of course all that was exhausting", Amos admits. "But that isn't much different for other working mothers, is it? Once I have a project there is no way back. It sucks me in. One part of my life will probably always look like that."

The special thing about the self-produced "Strange Little Girls" album, also recorded in the Martian Engineering studio with Matt Chamberlain (drums), King Crimson legend Adrian Belew (guitar) as well as Beck's bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen is: the twelve titles are all covers, and very different each. There is Tom Wait's beautiful sad song "Time" next to Neil Young's classic "Heart of Gold", Eminem's horror scenario "Bonnie & Clyde", close to Slayer. But apart from that everything just sounds like the woman with the faible for the mystical world of the faeries. The first single is "Strange Little Girl" a rather unknown song by The Stranglers, a song that didn't even make it to a regular studio album.. The choice, the red-haired singer says, wasn't musical, it was all about the lyrics: "I went to some male friends and tried to find out which songs changed their lives. Often I was fascinated by the brutality - for example like in "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode - but sometimes also by the depth of mercy, the beauty." The whole album is about the way men see women and how they say it in their songs.

"Most of the time women understand the complete opposite of what men say" Amos goes on. "Language is not static. You can always interpret. The view changes, depends on which side you are standing. Words can hurt, even when they are not supposed to." To show this Amos changes the sides and tells the stories from the views of different women - accompanied by pictures of Thomas Schenk. The sometimes dark result is able to shock, thanks to their reduction to the minimum, Amos' voice is coming through clearly and private, right in the center of all things. A session on the difference of sexes has never been so promising!

Text by Patrick Grossmann


[translated by Alexandra and Steffi Meyer]


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