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Boys for Pele

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Audio CD, January 23, 1996
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Boys for Pele + Little Earthquakes (Deluxe Edition)(2CD) + Under The Pink (Deluxe Edition)(2CD)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Soulful R&B vocals, ripping solos, funky low-end, and real hip-hop are phrases that describe Vicious Groove's freshman effort, Vicious Nation.


Boys for Pele, the title of Tori Amos's epic third album, is as awkward and confusing as the music inside. Though it sounds like a recruitment slogan for Little League soccer, the name actually refers to the lost temples of feminine divinity. Pele, you see, is the Hawaiian volcano goddess; the boys, well, they're the sacrifices that quell the rumbling lady's rage. Attempting to regain fires stolen long ago, Pele rewrites the crucifixion to star a girl Jesus and in doing so conjures a forgotten matriarchal mythology. While Amos's characters--Jupiter, Muhammad, Lucifer--are male by name, the aural landscape into which they're thrown is as symbolically and expressionistically female as Georgia O'Keeffe's skull-and-roses paintings. Pele is a complex and formless--and often impenetrable--work of gothic-pop chamber music, both beautiful and ghostly in its nearly complete reliance on Amos's rolling Bosendorfer grand piano, chilling harpsichord (which she bangs like a courtly punk rocker), and acrobatic voice (as earthy as Joni Mitchell's and as otherworldly as Bjork's). Unfortunately, she takes us only halfway: her songs engage and challenge us to understand, but the imagery offers few clues to help us crack their frustrating opacity. Pele ends up as much a pretentious and self-indulgent trip as it is a synthesis of talent, imagination, and skewed vision. Still, there's reason to celebrate that an album as formalistically and thematically alien to pop audiences as Pele would win such quick success upon its original release. --Roni Sarig

1. Beauty Queen/Horses
2. Blood Roses
3. Father Lucifer
4. Professional Widow
5. Mr Zebra
6. Marianne
7. Caught A Lite Sneeze
8. Muhammad My Friend
9. Hey Jupiter
10. Way Down
11. Little Amsterdam
12. Talula
13. Not The Red Baron
14. Agent Orange
15. Doughnut Song
16. In The Springtime Of His Voodoo
17. Putting The Damage On
18. Twinkle

Product Details

  • Audio CD: 1 page (January 23, 1996)
  • 1 page
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002J88
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (360 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,736 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Tori Amos Store


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Tori Amos: The making of Unrepentant Geraldines


Tori Amos has an extraordinary fan base. It’s not unusual to hear her listeners explain how a song changed their life, through its ability to alter perspective and heal. Or even that a song might have saved their life. Since the release of her debut Little Earthquakes 20 years ago in 1992, where she smashed apart boundaries with her piano rock and raw, confessional poetry, Amos continues ... Read more in Amazon's Tori Amos Store

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Customer Reviews

BOYS FOR PELE is my all-time favourite Tori Amos album.
Tori's most brilliant work-to-date, I highly recommend this album to all Tori fans, someone going through a tough time, or someone thirsting for something new.
Other mentionable songs, the beautiful Horses, Blood Roses, Muhammed My Friend, Talua, Twinkle, Put The Damage On, and a fun one like Mr. Zebra.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By The Wingchair Critic on May 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
With the hopeful words 'And if there's a way to find you, I will find you/For threads that are golden don't break easily,' from its brooding first song, 'Horses,' it is clear that, on 'Boys For Pele,' Amos is off questing. There is an implied invitation to follow, but Amos is increasingly an artist's artist, her songs musically and lyrically hieroglyphical and untranslated. In the next song, 'Blood Roses,' one of the most visceral break-up ever songs committed to record, she confronts the Minotaur head on, and it becomes clear that the path she's on is the dark one leading into the labyrinth. Not an easy quest to take up, or follow down.

The album seethes with honest passion, ungainly, ugly, and destructive, in a more overt way than did the already aggressive 'Under The Pink' (with its repetitive choruses of 'I want to kill this waitress/but I believe in peace, ...,' 'this can't be happening/you bet your life it is,' 'can't stop what's coming, can't stop what is on it's way,' the off-hand 'a few witches burning, gets a little toasty,' and the murderous 'Past The Mission')--in fact 'Professional Widow,' teeth bared, Medusa-head held high, scorches like nothing since Marianne Faithfull's 'Broken English' (1979). Since the album's title refers to men and boys sacrificed to the capricious Hawaiian goddess of the volcano, Tori's emotions (and untamed vocals throughout), as expressed, are appropriate. Loneliness, spiritual isolation, suicide, murder, death, masochism, and rapacity all make appearances, but, if one looks closely, only in passing: it is Amos's individualistic, spiritual striving that is the theme and real key to the record.

Fans and critics who accuse Amos of a direct and willful adversarial relationship with God (or 'God') are wrong.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Collins on January 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Its true that this is Amos's must challanging work. Only "Caught a Lite Sneeze" lacks depth, and its still a pretty difficult song. This is not for the lazy listener. It is my personal favorite Tori Amos album, but if you're new to her, buy Under the Pink, or From the Choirgirl Hotel, first.
I can understand why some people dislike this- the melodies are quite classical in style (and look how much mainstream popularity classical music has!), and Tori's unique voice does get a little whiney at times- notably on Professional Widow. However, each song, if you let it, will take up residence in your head or heart (or somewhere inbetween), and take on a special meaning to you. So very few artists can do this; its a magical thing.
As for the person who said, because of the song "Father Lucifer" (don't let the title scare you) that Tori Amos is, to paraphrase, 'sugar-coated evil', I seriously quesiton if he or she read the lyrics or listened to the song at all. "Father Lucifer" is a beautiful piano song about the dark side of human nature- not some satanic rant! If it's wrong to sing about humanity's dark side, well then it's a sad world! I prefer my music to be honest, thank you very much.
The synopsis? If you're a Tori fan, its a must have. If you find it too dense/annoying, just give it time to grow on you. If you don't know Tori Amos, this isn't the best place to start (although ti was my first Tori album). Save Pele for when you've become accustomed to Tori's delightful eccentricities!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
It is very difficult to write a review for this album. It is so dark, mysterious, and complicated that I can't pretend to understand all of the songs, but I have no problem hailing it as an original work of musical genius. Tori opens up her heart in so many ways that you can gain new insights each time you listen. This is, for the most part, a somber collection of songs. While I, as a man, love this CD, there are some places in which Tori seems to release some negativity toward men and failed relationships. I believe there is a strong female empowerment theme in these songs; even the unusual cover portrays a woman more than capable to rise above any man who approaches. More universally, though, Tori encourages every individual to strengthen himself/herself.
This album starts out slowly and quietly, as "Beauty Queen" begins with one note on the piano repeating itself; the song soon melds into "Horses," a more intensive yet relatively quiet song. Then the waves crash on the heavy, harpsichord-accompanied "Blood Roses," which seems to echo the bad end of a relationship and categorizes at least some men as "nothing but meat." "Father Lucifer" has a slow, easy melody that climaxes with a slight pandemonium of lyrics. Tori rocks the harpsichord with "Professional Widow," in which soft, lilting lines bridge emotional, intensive lyrical episodes. I love this song, but I imagine the message better relates to women than it does men. "Mr. Zebra" is a short track marking a transition back to soft, lilting music. "Marianne" is a somber song that seems to deal with the suicide of a friend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
BFP with original version of Talula

I just bought a used copy of "BFP" issued by the BMG label. It has the original version of "Talula."

I suggest you read the individual descriptions of each used copy of "BFP" right here on Amazon. A few of them say that their copy was released on the BMG... Read More
Jan 11, 2010 by W.H. |  See all 2 posts
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