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Tori Amos|The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper

Tori Amos

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Released in conjunction with Tori Amos: Piece by Piece, a memoir presented as a think piece co-written with music journalist Ann Powers, Tori Amos' eighth studio album, The Beekeeper, is also loosely autobiographical, a song cycle that chronicles emotional journeys through metaphorical gardens all tended by the beekeeper protagonist of the title. Good thing that this concept was sketched out in the pre-release publicity, since The Beekeeper offers nothing close to a discernible concept in the album itself. At first, songs appear to spill forward in some sort of narrative, but the liner notes divide the 19 songs into six different groups -- "gardens," if you will -- that have nothing to do with how they're presented on the album, nor do they seem to have many sonic ties, and their lyrical connections are either tenuous or obtuse. Coming after 2002's Scarlet's Walk, whose title and songs clearly communicated its concept, this willful obtuseness might seem to hearken back to Tori's obstinately difficult albums of the mid-'90s, but The Beekeeper is miles away from the clanging darkness of Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel. This is a bright, gleaming album that retains its sunny disposition even when the tempos grow slow and the melodies turn moody. Amos even occasionally punctuates her trademark elliptical piano ballads with organ-driven lite-funk -- a move that may alienate longtime fans, who may also balk at the album's highly polished sheen, but one that nevertheless fits well into the general feel of the record, lending it some genuine momentum. If the story line or concepts of the album aren't readily apparent, individual songs make their specific points well, and the record does flow with the grace and purpose of a song suite. As a cohesive work, The Beekeeper holds together better than nearly any of Tori's more ambitious albums, but there's a certain artsy distance that keeps this from being as emotionally immediate or as memorable as her first two records. But if Little Earthquakes was an album Amos could only have made in her twenties, The Beekeeper is a record perfectly suited for the singer/songwriter in her forties -- a little studied and deliberate, perhaps a shade too classy and consciously literary for its own good, but it's an ambitious, restless work that builds on her past work without resting on her laurels.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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The Beekeeper

Tori Amos

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1
Parasol (Album Version)
00:03:54

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

2
Sweet the Sting (Album Version)
00:04:14

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Jon Evans, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - London Community Gospel Choir, Background Vocal

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

3
The Power of Orange Knickers (Album Version)
00:03:35

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Tori Amos Featuring Damien Rice, Performer - Jon Evans, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Damien Rice, Vocal - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2005 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Jamaica Inn (Album Version)
00:04:02

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Mac Aladdin, Mandolin - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

5
Barons of Suburbia (Album Version)
00:05:20

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

6
Sleeps With Butterflies (Album Version)
00:03:35

Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Performer - Tori Amos, Lyricist

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

7
General Joy (Album Version)
00:04:12

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

8
Mother Revolution (Album Version)
00:03:58

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Jon Evans, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - London Community Gospel Choir, Background Vocal

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

9
Ribbons Undone (Album Version)
00:04:30

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Jon Evans, Bass - Kelsey Dobyns, Background Vocal - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

10
Cars and Guitars (Album Version)
00:03:44

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

11
Witness (Album Version)
00:06:03

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Jon Evans, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - London Community Gospel Choir, Background Vocal

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

12
Original Sinsuality (Album Version)
00:02:02

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Piano - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Performer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

13
Ireland (Album Version)
00:03:47

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

14
The Beekeeper (Album Version)
00:06:49

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

15
Martha's Foolish Ginger (Album Version)
00:04:21

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

16
Hoochie Woman (Album Version)
00:02:34

Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Jon Evans, Bass - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - London Community Gospel Choir, Background Vocal

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

17
Goodbye Pisces (Album Version)
00:03:36

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

18
Marys of the Sea (Album Version)
00:05:08

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Guitar - Jon Evans, Bass - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Keyboards - Tori Amos, Performer - Matt Chamberlain, Drums - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

19
Toast (Album Version)
00:03:42

Jon Astley, Mastering Engineer - Adam Spry, 2nd Engineer - Mac Aladdin, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Tori Amos, Producer - Tori Amos, Vocal - Tori Amos, Composer - Tori Amos, Lyricist - Tori Amos, Piano - Tori Amos, Performer - Marcel van Limbeek, Recording Engineer - Mark Hawley, Recording Engineer

(P) 2005 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

Album Description

Released in conjunction with Tori Amos: Piece by Piece, a memoir presented as a think piece co-written with music journalist Ann Powers, Tori Amos' eighth studio album, The Beekeeper, is also loosely autobiographical, a song cycle that chronicles emotional journeys through metaphorical gardens all tended by the beekeeper protagonist of the title. Good thing that this concept was sketched out in the pre-release publicity, since The Beekeeper offers nothing close to a discernible concept in the album itself. At first, songs appear to spill forward in some sort of narrative, but the liner notes divide the 19 songs into six different groups -- "gardens," if you will -- that have nothing to do with how they're presented on the album, nor do they seem to have many sonic ties, and their lyrical connections are either tenuous or obtuse. Coming after 2002's Scarlet's Walk, whose title and songs clearly communicated its concept, this willful obtuseness might seem to hearken back to Tori's obstinately difficult albums of the mid-'90s, but The Beekeeper is miles away from the clanging darkness of Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel. This is a bright, gleaming album that retains its sunny disposition even when the tempos grow slow and the melodies turn moody. Amos even occasionally punctuates her trademark elliptical piano ballads with organ-driven lite-funk -- a move that may alienate longtime fans, who may also balk at the album's highly polished sheen, but one that nevertheless fits well into the general feel of the record, lending it some genuine momentum. If the story line or concepts of the album aren't readily apparent, individual songs make their specific points well, and the record does flow with the grace and purpose of a song suite. As a cohesive work, The Beekeeper holds together better than nearly any of Tori's more ambitious albums, but there's a certain artsy distance that keeps this from being as emotionally immediate or as memorable as her first two records. But if Little Earthquakes was an album Amos could only have made in her twenties, The Beekeeper is a record perfectly suited for the singer/songwriter in her forties -- a little studied and deliberate, perhaps a shade too classy and consciously literary for its own good, but it's an ambitious, restless work that builds on her past work without resting on her laurels.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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