The Beekeeper

Studio Album by released in 2005

The Beekeeper review

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 track album, there is no doubt that she is progressing both in her vocal abilities as well as her ability of expression. The Beekeeper chronicles her rather autobiographical protagonist's journey through what seems to be an overgrown labyrinth of the subconscious as she experiences a series of life-altering events and emotions.

The London Community Gospel Choir accompanies the artist on several tracks, heightening the sensual slink of Sweet the Sting and Hoochie Woman. On the latter Tori perfectly captures the personality she sings about and the arrangement is 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 she sang it somewhat romantically, so the song works on more than one level. In Marys of the Sea Amos waxes on the biblical story of Mary Magdelene, a recurring theme in her music, 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. Furthermore, 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. Finally, the CD concludes with Toast, a song sprung out of Tori’s 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.

The Beekeeper returns the quirky singer to the same whimsical terrain of 1992's Little Earthquakes, but with much stronger storylines, and a much more assured and nuanced voice. All in all, this latest CD by Tori Amos 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. 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. Amos has kept the tracks light and airy, enhancing the always-attractive melodies with carefully layered vocal arrangements. There's an overall mood of mystical self-exploration, intertwined with recurring echoes of Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush. 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.