It's enough to take your breath away.
Tori Amos is a strange one, but she now lives in Cornwall and that makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, Tori Amos living in the land of Pixies? That sounds about right. Her new album,The Beekeeper, is a beautiful piece of work. A bit long, it has to be said (19 tracks) but never boring. It's also an album that you can approach from different angles.
First of all, you can just let it all wash over you and hum along to the lush melodies and enjoy the masterly piano playing. Alternatively you can actually listen to what she's saying and try to decipher it, wherein you'll discover that she's been researching into a lot of ancient folklore, looking into different 'queen bees' as she puts them, Queen Maeve, Freya and even Mary Magdalene and the extended role she plays in the Gnostic Gospels. The Beekeeper is supposedly about a woman standing on the edge of a storm, waiting for it to hit and then fighting her way through it. The storm is political, emotional and, well I can tell you're losing interest already.
Actually, the songs are about all sorts of things. There's a song about reclaiming the Genesis story, re-writing the Adam and Eve story as womankind's greatest achievement, rather than their biggest downfall. There's even a song about driving around Ireland in a Saab. (A Saab!?!) There's a fabulous track, Jamaica Inn, where she incorporates a bit of local folklore (when shipwrecks occured, people would rush down to the coast and loot everything they could find of value) and applies that to a relationship, but as told to Tori by a woman/spirit called Jamaica Inn who just happened to climb into her car beside her one windy day. Well, you wouldn't expect something simple from Tori would you? You probably won't pick any of that up when you listen to it, but it's there all the same.
My other favourite track is called The Power Of Orange Knickers, upon which Tori is accompanied by Damien Rice. The song is about a woman coming to realize that her husband/partner has been playing away, as it were. It's not a happy song and it's a tale of a broken relationship, but damn if it isn't the sexiest song I've heard in bloody ages! It starts slow and gentle but builds up into a tune of immense passion and power. It's enough to take your breath away. It also deserves praise for beginning a song with the line "the power of orange knickers" and not making it a titter fest. It also contains the world's best pronunciation of the word "petticoat', so bonus points aplenty.
Tori occasionally falls into the 'reminds me of Kate Bush' category that I have stashed in my brain accompanied by a big red warning sign, but that's my problem, not yours. If I'm completely honest with myself, I can't praise this album enough really. It's the best album Tori's written in years and it is absolutely gorgeous. Vivid, bright and far too intelligent for a pleb like me to do justice to in a few paragraphs, The Beekeeper is simply an album to cherish. Buy it, take it home, fall in love with the packaging, which is absolutely beautiful and listen to it all the way into summer. After listening to this, you'll want to go and live with the Pixies too.