TORI AMOS -- Boys For Pele (Atlantic)

Tori Amos' new CD, Boys For Pele, is one of those CDs that require several listens before you can really begin to appreciate it. When you first hear it, its not an easy listen. But if you keep listening to it - you'll be rewarded with one of the most riveting and intense albums released so far this year.

Boys for Pele was named after the Hawaiian goddess of destruction. The songs on the CD run the gamut from tender and compassionate to invigorating to alarming and just plain angry. There's a wide range of emotions flying here.

Most of the songs on the new CD deal with the men in her life. On the first single, "Caught a Lite Sneeze", Amos sings about her "pretty hate machine". She makes some not so kind remarks toward her father in "Professional Widow". Sandman creator, Neil Gaiman gets mentioned in "Horses".

Musically, Tori and her Bosendorfer have never sounded better. There's a lot more harpsichord on the new CD than on her previous efforts (Amos learned to play the instrument specifically for the new album). It really adds to the feel of the new songs. Boys For Pele marks Tori's producing debut, giving her the freedom to really push the limits and do things the way she wanted. The result is a compelling piece of work from one of today's most creative artists.

© 1996 Steve Marshall