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Word (UK)
April 2005

The Beekeeper is a career best for Amos

From the opening of "Parasol," with its chiming piano and chunky, throbbing bassline, Tori Amos fans know they're in safe hands with The Beekeeper. The album as a whole sounds like a woman at the top of her game. Take, for example, "Hoochie Woman," which is sexy and swaggering, complete with a rollicking piano motif and a grittier vocal than we are used to from the pure-voiced Amos. On the fabulously named "The Power of Orange Knickers" she duets with Damien Rice, and the effect is soft, calm and serene. "Sleeps with Butterflies" is vintage Amos, a sexily lazy tune with a lovely acoustic guitar and tender piano. "Witness" supplies both organ and piano, choir and terrifically funky bass and drums. You want variety? You got it. You want a garden-themed concept? You have that also. A career best.

Word of Mouth - The people we like and the things they like.

Music: Stevie Wonder's Innvervisions. When I first heard "Living In the City" it changed my world. I was young; I was little. I remember the kids talking about it in the conservatory. The whole album affected me, the things he could do with the piano keyboard. At home it was my dad pushing religious music into the computer tape recorder in my brain and me switching it off; my brother, who's ten years older than me, playing me The Beatles, The Doors, The Byrds... but nothing like this. The mark of a great record is hearing it that young and letting the musician in you latch onto its melody, its chords, its beauty, without really knowing why it's doing it to you. Same with Joni Mitchell's Blue. It's a blueprint for what songwriting can achieve. I remember saying when I was five, "this is the greatest record ever and it will hold up". I feel the same about Rickie Lee Jones's first album. God, that rasp in her voice, the sexiness!

Books: As a performer I'm drawn to mysticism, the stories, the secrets that conventional religion leaves out. Like The Gospel Of Mary Magdalene, translated by Jean-Yves Leloup. It showed me that Jesus was a feminist. It's about how central women were to Christianity before the bishop set took over the show and forced us out. My mother's a minister's wife, and she said she'd wished she'd found this book years ago. After I'd finished my new album, an author called Simon Buxton from Cornwall - my part of the world - sent me his book, The Shamanic Way of the Bee. It's an account about him becoming a bee-master, about the traditions of beekeeping, the paths of pollen. It's like Native American medicine and mythology. It's bee-shamanism!

Film/DVD: Since I've become a mom, my film habits have changed so much. Rather than hitting the motorway on the tour bus, watching something I love like Fargo or The Usual Suspects, I'm sitting at home with Natahsa watching Harry Potter for the 37th time. In the old days, I used to love Tarantino. I get so many shocks from Tash these days that I'd rather curl up with something light. Something like 50 First Dates or Sleepless in Seattle. The charm of them, the dialogue, the subtleties they show about what you go trhough with somebody; when relationships grow and fall apart. My husband falls asleep in front of them on purpose."

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