The Beekeeper
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81 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2005
With her newest creation, "The Beekeeper," Tori Amos has proven herself an ever-evolving musical force, never content to rest on her laurels or stick to a tried-and-true formula. With the lengthy collection of 19 tracks, separated into six themed 'gardens', the CD runs 80 minutes long and is full of both quality lyrics and intriguing subject matter where the red-haired pianist delves into the biblical history, ancient myths and the relationship between parent and child that transcends death and the passing of time.

The disc begins with one of her sharpest opening tracks, "Parasol," a tale concerning deep shock of betrayal. "The Power of Orange Knickers," which features vocals by singer/songwriter Damien Rice, finds Amos articulating betrayal on a grander scale, likening each human soul to a terrorist in the sense that we obliterate our innermost truths:

"Can somebody tell me now/Who is this terrorist/Those girls that smile kindly/Then rip your life to pieces?/Can somebody tell me now/Who is this terrorist/This little pill in my hand/That keeps the pain laughing?"

In "Marys of the Sea" Amos waxes on the largely unknown biblical story of Mary Magdelene, a recurring theme in her music, chronicling her journey after fleeing Jerusalem to the south of France, while opening herself off to fear in the context of Irish mythology with one of her most luxurious melodies yet, "Jamaica Inn."

Another exemplary track is "Sleeps With Butterflies," the set's lead single which finds the artist outrightly explaining what she needs, addressing the need for give and take between male and female to make a relationship work:

"I don't hold onto the tail of your kite/I'm not like the girls that you've known/But I believe I'm worth coming home to/Kiss away night/This girl only sleeps with butterflies/So go on and fly then boy."

The lyrical highlight of the disc comes with the heart-rendering title track, where Amos confronts her fears of her mother's mortality and the fact that they will one day have to part, mentioning her brother who was killed in a car crash this past November:

"Don't be afraid I/Promise that she will awake/Tomorrow somewhere/Wrap yourself around the tree of life/And the dance of the infinity of the hive/Take this message to Michael."

Furthemore, she reflects on her deep love and appreciation for her daughter in "Ribbons Undone," delivers one of her most savory melodies yet with "Cars and Guitars" and makes commentary on the war effort with the endearing "General Joy." She also adds a dash of humor to infidelity with "Hoochie Woman":

"He called me up and said `she has needs'/I said `you'll find `em on Barney's fourth floor'."

"The Beekeeper" is also available in a limited edition package that includes a bonus DVD with further insight into the album by Amos along with another song, "Garlands." Her newly released book "Piece By Piece," co-written with music journalist Ann Powers, has also been released to coincide with the new album and includes further detail on her creative process.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2005
Maverick = a massive Tori fan; Tori = my no. 1.

I was really looking forward to this album, and I read a few "professional" reviews which suggested that this is Tori returning "back to her roots". I understand artists can't really return back to their roots because obviously they are not the same person as before. I love Tori [full stop]. But this record doesn't really do it for me. One reviewer said she should stop making 'conceptual' records and stop her kooky lyricism. I agree with the latter, her lyricism is indeed individualistic, but these days it does get a bit kooky and indecipherable; though I do remember in "Space Dog" off "Under the Pink" I never knew what she was talking about, yet I managed to feel the emotions it was deliberating. It seems on this CD she doesn't sing with that passion or fire, but instead a dull sort of tone, and sometimes, her voice - though unique and indeed a singer, does get 'annoying' -throaty and dry.

"Parasol" does start off the album in a promising manner, but when she gets to "Barons of Suburbia" -an intriguing title - but indecipherable content; I don't know what she's talking about. I do like her 'conceptual' albums and her concepts, but that is only half of a composition, it's the ability to use that concept and put it into practice. With "Barons of Suburbia" -she accoridng to an interview, seemingly discusses early Christian patriarchal politics with a modern-day Bush-reigning govt; yet the message nor the emotions do not come through. Tori has always been a feminist, I like that, I find it inspiring and quite a turn on. I was very excited by the concept of "The Beekeeper" yet I am perplexed, and I have been a Tori fan for quite awhile, and am also a poet myself. [not a dolly poet]!

The songs are less complicated as that of "To Venus and Back". Yet with that album, more importantly, she used her music/lyrics to produce atmosphere which is lacking on this record. This record almost seems to be very weary. Maybe Tori should take a big break - like Kate Bush - and make another 'debut' album.

If this was your first taste of Tori, I feel sorry for you. This is a hard album to consume. I suggest you go to her back catalogue. "Tales of a Librarian" or any album from "Little Earthquakes", "Under the Pink", "Boys for Pele" and "choirgirl". Those are Tori at her most passionate.

However, I still love Tori and find much inspiration from her. And I understand clearly that artists grow, and I will accept her new work, and judge it accordingly and fairly. And still support her. I wish the other previous Tori fanatics could understand you must support an artist. I know that one day that she will soar with another sort of 'debut'. If not, don't worry, who gives a **** it was good anyway. I LOVE YOU TORI. gIVE THIS album a try if ur a tori fan.
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93 of 118 people found the following review helpful
Tori Amos has again released yet another CD that has beautiful depth, meaning, heart and soul. Although certainly everyone will have their preferences as to which songs they really like on this nineteen (yes, nineteen) track album, there is no doubt that she is progressing both in her vocal abilities as well as her ability of expression. Obviously, her voice was always something special; but what excites me is that she is still progressing and I love to see that in an artist. More proof she's progressing: a Hammond B3 organ has been added into the musical arrangement! Also look for Kelsey Dobyns on background vocals.

Do I have a favorite song on this CD? Actually, I have more than one favorite. I just couldn't set aside only one song as "the" best in my opinion. For one thing, I really liked "Hoochie Woman," Here Tori perfectly captures the personality she sings about and the arrangement is very, very good! "Goodbye Pisces" is an awesome song about the feelings you can have when ending a romance. Tori also does a duet with Damien Rice entitled "The Power of Orange Knickers;" while certainly this is an unusual song title (!) their voices compliment each others' perfectly and it sounds beautiful. "Parasol" is deep with anger yet so typical of the person who's conflicted about letting out the anger. "Sweet the Sting" is sexy but I personally thought she sang it somewhat romantically, so for me personally the song works on more than one level. Finally, the CD concludes with "Toast," a song sprung out of her brother's recent death. Not only does Tori deal with her pain by writing about it she bravely shares her pain with her audience. Anybody who has ever lost a loved one (and that's almost everyone) can identify with this hurt.

All in all, this latest CD by Tori is not only based on her real life experiences and our universal experiences but it is a deeply touching and emotional journey. This proves that Tori is an incredibly accomplished artist. (As if we didn't know that before, right?) The prospect of her continuing to develop is even more exciting. This CD is a must for Tori's fans; and if you're not a fan you should do yourself a favor and try this album out for a very good experience. Even if it doesn't hit you square in the face the first time, give it a chance and you won't have to argue with anyone about listening to it over and over again.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2005
I have always like Tori Amos, but her last few albums have lacked her dark angst and haunting lyrics. They seem to lack inspiration and drive, and this album is really no different. Some of the songs are catchy, but they all sound poppy, almost a hip-hop feel.

The album seems formulaic and Top 40-esque. Most devout fans of Tori have followed her because she was different, intelligent, and dark. Now, she seems to have followed Liz Phair and Jewel. What a disappointment. All you old time Torie fans, stick with her old albums and forget To Venus and Back and The BeeKeeper. Its not worth your time.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2005
I am a Tori Amos fan. And I'm sorry that it has come to this, but I cannot sit back and just accept that this is a great album simply because it is a Tori album. It isn't a great album. It's an okay album at best. Now after 5 full listens through, I want to know where Tori is on this album. Tori albums challenge the listener to open up and deal with her power. Her amazing voice and all it's wonderful inflections. Her piano pushed to the brink. It isn't there. Instead we are given cheesy adult contemporary background drumming and useless guitar "stuff." We have to listen to a bunch of lousy back-up singers drowning out the one voice we all came to hear. And that tiny little sound you might hear in the background over all this nonsense is Tori's piano so neglected on this album it might as well not be there at all. This is a mostly powerless album. There isn't any challenge to the listener and there isn't enough emotion to pull at a single heart string. The two best tracks are the only tracks that are "Tori and the Piano." #12 "Original Sinsuality" at about a minute and a half is the first notice that Tori Amos is actually on this album. The we have to wait until the very end, #19 "Toast" to hear that she didn't just make a cameo appearance in the middle. It is a fantastic finish, but too little, too late. I am a Tori fan. And as such, I hope the new music will get a welcomed makeover when performed live. We all know what she is capable of, so I'm not giving up all hope until after the show. Buy it, it won't hurt you, but it won't inspire you, either.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2005
I've been a big Tori Fan for the last 15 years or so and have loved almost all her music up to Strange Little Girls, which I never really got in to. Maybe it's just me but I'm finding it harder and harder to get in to her newer albums. I stuck with Scarlet Walk until I found my love for it. With this album I literally had to force myself to play it over and over again until the songs became familiar enough to be somewhat enjoyable. Dont get me wrong, theres still some lovely pieces and a couple like "Sweet the Sting" and "Beekeeper" are more instantly enjoyable. I just feel that Tori herself sounds almost bored in most of the tracks ("Parasol" "Ribbons undone" etc) and the other tracks she has adopted a grit in her voice which begins to grate after a minute or so into the track. I'm disappointed to admit that I have to skip through several of the tracks ("cars and guitars", "witness" and a couple others) because I simply can't stand her voice. I hate to think it, but I think she might be running out of steam. After all, she has presented herself with some pretty hard acts to follow in the past.

So I dont hate it (well little bits of it I do), but I can't really recommend it as much as many of her other albums. Sorry.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2005
I've had this cd for six months, so it is time to sum it up. Sadly, not many positive adjectives come to mind. Sub-par. Clunky. Forced. And yes, self-indulgent.

Many of the tunes are snoozers (Ribbons Undone, Sleeps With Butterflies, Jamaica Inn, Martha's Foolish Ginger), some just don't work lyrically or musically (Power of Orange Knickers, Hoochie Woman) and others are downright lame (Ireland, Cars & Guitars). If I were to "create my own Beekeeper" it would amount to an EP:

Parasol

Original Sinsuality

Mother Revolution

The Beekeeper

Marys of the Sea

General Joy

Toast

The songs I have not mentioned at all could be b-sides. A producer needs to be brought in who can keep her on task and do something about these cheesy arrangements! I find it to be a very "ADD" type album; it's all over the place and most of it doesn't gel.

Scarlett's Walk, say what you will about it. It is mellow and it too is a few songs too long, but the wide majority of the songs on SW flow; you can feel the heart behind them. By and large, no one is home on The Beekeeper. The extensive use of the Fender Rhodes on SW did lend itself to a certain repetitive quality, but the use of an organ, well, it has the potential to create tedium.

I'm a long-time Tori fan and will buy her next album, but I hope she has some new places to go with her music. One more album like this and I may relegate myself to the ranks of former Tori fans.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2005
I usually like Tori. A lot. Usually, I don't even need to think twice before buying her new CDs, even if I didn't get to listen to any of it first. But this time, I wish I had.

Sure, even the worst song Tori can give us would be a ton better than the best songs other artists might produce, but as a Tori album, this one is as uninspiring as it can get.

Sure, the melodies are fun, and so are the lyrics. But as a whole, other than a few gems (such as "Goodbye Pisces" or "Original Sinsuality"), I found most of this album to be rather bland and uninteresting.

Maybe its because she seems to be genuinely happy with motherhood and life. Maybe its because she's matured as an artist. I don't really know. What I do know is that after listening to this CD for a few days in a row, I can't find that element in it that would draw me in over and over again (and I tried). It doesn't sound *new* in any way and it lacks the soul her previous albums had in abundance.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2005
I'm really only writing this review as response to the other reviews I've just seen here. I'm beginning to wonder if we were listening to the same album.

While Tori Amos is absolutely my favorite artist, her creativity has taken a nosedive in recent years. This album is by far her most boring, inconsequential, uncreative piece of work I have ever heard from her. This is the kind of thing that you could put on in the background and not even realize it was playing- just tune it out completely.

While this album may sit well with suburban mothers trying to be alternative, the rest of us long for the days where not only did Tori eat like a normal human being, she also made passionate, disarming, honest, not to mention absolutely beautiful music.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2005
I have been a Tori fan since Little Earthquakes. I went through all the stages of Toriphile obsession - bought all the singles, went to all the shows, scoured record shops for bootlegs, etc. It seems like in the last 5 years I haven't enjoyed her new albums. It's not just that her work changes - many great artists (like Bjork) evolve with each album. It's the quality of the music and lyrics that seem to actually be degrading as the years go by. I have been buying her new albums in the hope that she will give us something new that equals the brilliance of Little Earthquakes or Under the Pink - not just adding electronic beats or increasingly vague and kooky lyrics. Obviously, her lyrical style is much more straightforward on The Beekeeper, but this only leaves nothing to the imagination except for some incredibly cliched beats and phrases. Even her lovely piano playing has taken a back seat creatively. I had such a bad taste in my mouth after listening to this album, I had to give LE a play just to wash it away!

"You're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird."
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