Strange Little Girls
Tori Amos attacks a wide range of material on this collection of covers — punk rockers, rappers, classic rockers — often reinventing the tunes to the point where they’ve become new songs. She isn’t one for complacency and always seeks a challenge. The Velvet Underground’s “New Age” becomes a muffled electric piano ballad that’s kept under wraps until its spiraling climax. Eminem’s “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” turns from a hip-hop fantasy to a whispered singer-songwriter confessional with a sawing string section chasing Amos’ phone booth vocal. Tom Waits’ “Time” retains its downtrodden hope in the face of sorrow. The Beatles’ compact and complex “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” is given a full makeover over ten minutes. Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” is tripped up into the modern era with extra beats and ferocious electric guitar. Both the Beatles and Young are rendered nearly unrecognizable. The Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays” keeps its solid hook with the song’s tragedy becoming more clear as a solemn piano ballad. Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” settles for a piano, strings and Amos’ taunting backing vocals heightening the tension.