The new album by Tori Amos is an experiment whereby challenges listeners with her choice of songs. Running the gamut from Joe Jackson and Tom Waits to Slayer and Depeche Mode, Amos makes unlikely selections that all fall in line after a few listens.
Amos covers twelve songs written by men and takes on the perspective of twelve different women characters. She is made up by Kevyn Aucoin and photographed as each of these twelve women.
Admittedly, some songs work better than others. The sparse, haunting rendition of "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode as portrayed by an aging showgirl is especially terrific. Eminem's "97 Bonnie & Clyde" is difficult to listen to from the perspective of the dead mother and the military drum sounds like a doomed heart beat. The song was reportedly recorded from a car brought into the studio. "I'm Not In Love" is fleshed out with the utter denial of a goth girl. Her version of "Time" shows she and Tom Waits may be kin after all. Lloyd Cole's "Rattlesnakes" possesses breezy confidence while Joe Jackson's "Real Men" is icing on the cake.
The endeavor's success rests on the fact that Amos has made these covers her own. Her characters are "Strange Little Girls" all right.