Boys For Pele review by Tori Amos

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  • Released: Jan 23, 1996
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.2 (12 votes)
Tori Amos: Boys For Pele

Sound — 10
Tori Amos is an exceptionally talented pianist (yes I know this is a guitar site but Tori is a great musician and an inspiration to others, regardless of the instrument in question). Tori was a child prodigy and received classical training. She uses her classical abilities to great effect on Boys For Pele, playing both piano and harpsichord, which she manages to make sound deep and meaty, with none of the "skeletons copulating on a tin roof" plinkiness often associated with the harpsichord. The harpsichord is an instrument that lacks dynamic range (usually). In fact, the piano was invented to overcome the dynamic short-comings of the hapsichord. Pianoforte literally means soft and loud. Tori plays huge rolling arpeggios combined with subtle changes in tempo to make each arpeggio snappy and dynamic. It is a testament to her mastery of keyboard instruments that she can make a harpsichord sound the way it does on Blood Roses (track 3). If you are the sort of person who is bored by bland chord progressions, then this is an album you should buy. There is nothing predictable about any of the tracks on Boys For Pele. It's a unique and inovative masterpiece. Tori pours her heart and soul into every song and there are some truly beautiful moments if you are the sort of person who likes a bit of dark melancholy in your music. This is a real musicians album. A genuine artist exploring the limits of her own musical ingenuity, and not pandering to the mass market. I've had this album for 10 years and it never gathers dust!

Lyrics — 10
Tori Amos is excellent at vocalising her emotions, and it never sounds fake. As for the lyrics, who knows! With lyrics like: "When chickens get a taste of your meat boy". A mixture of vegetarianism and feminism maybe. The "Pele" in the album title refers to the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess rather than the Brazilian football God. I think it's safe to say there's a bit of matriarchy in there. I just love the dark imagery and the passion.

Overall Impression — 10
I truly love this album. I think it's a real work of art. My favourite songs include: Blood Roses, Professional Widow, Mr Zebra, Muhammad My Friend, Hey Jupiter, Talula and Putting the Damage On but there isn't a weak point on this album if you give it a chance to blossom. You could write this album off if you skipped through the tracks looking for something instantly catchy, it just ain't one of those instantly likeable but after a couple of months you never want to hear it again type albums, it's a real grower. If my house were burgled and my albums were stolen, this, along with Tom Waits' Rain Dogs, would be at the top of the list of stuff that must be replaced.

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    I did work experience at her studio while she as recording her next album... nearly blocked her toilet