|Tori Amos — Boys For Pele (January 22, 1996)
Tori Amos — Boys For Pele (January 22, 1996)
ι↓ι Magazín SPIN (březen 1996) měl Tori Amos na obálce a uvnitř od str. 42 do str. 48 (dokončení na str. 125) velkočlánek s neuvěřitelnými snímky od fotografky Corinne Day. Samotný recenzent Erik Davis ji dal tenkrát největší ohodnocení na světě: celou 9. Magazín Rolling Stone věnoval albu velkou pozornost obšírnou recenzí díky EVELYN McDONNELL (8. února 1996), ovšem bez konečného hodnocení. Boys For Pele bylo první album, které si Tori produkovala sama. The album was nominated for a Grammy in 1996 for Best Alternative Album, losing to Beck's Odelay. Soulful R&B vocals, ripping solos, funky low–end, and real hip–hop are phrases that describe Vicious Groove's freshman effort, Vicious Nation.
Album release: January 22, 1996 / 25 February 1996 (Japan)
Recorded: church in County Wicklow, rented house in County Cork, Ireland & New Orleans, Louisiana, June — October 1995
Record Label: East West (UK, Canada) / Atlantic Recording Corp. (USA, Japan) [AMCE–918]
01. Beauty Queen / Horses 6:07
02. Blood Roses 3:56
03. Father Lucifer 3:43
04. Professional Widow 4:32
05. Mr. Zebra 1:07
06. Marianne 4:10
07. Caught A Lite Sneeze 4:26
08. Muhammad My Friend 3:49
09. Hey Jupiter 5:12
10. Way Down 1:13
11. Little Amsterdam 4:31
12. Talula 4:08
13. Not The Red Baron 3:51
14. Agent Orange 1:26
15. Doughnut Song 4:21
16. In The Springtime Of His Voodoo 5:34
17. Putting The Damage On 5:15
18. Twinkle 3:12
19. Toodles Mr. Jim (bonus) 3:09
ι↓ι All songs written and composed by Tori Amos.
Ξ Tori Amos — Vocals, Bösendorfer piano, Harmonium organ, clavichord, Harpsichord
Ξ George Porter, Jr. — Bass
Ξ Steve Caton — Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, swells
Ξ Manu Katché — Drums
Ξ Marcel van Limbeek — Delgany Church Bells
Ξ James Watson — Trumpet, Brass conductor
Ξ The Black Dyke Mills Band — Brass
Ξ The Sinfonia of London — Strings
Ξ Philip Shenale — string arrangement
Ξ Peter Willison — string orchestrator and conductor
Ξ Alan Friedman — drum programming
Ξ Clarence J. Johnson III — Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax
Ξ Mino Cinelu — percussion
Ξ Darrly Lewis — persussion
Ξ Mark Mullins — Trombone, Horns
Ξ Craig Klein — Sousaphone
Ξ Michael Deegan — Bagpipes
Ξ Bernard Quinn — Bagpipes
Ξ Nancy Shanks — Additional vocals
Ξ Tori Amos — record producer
Ξ Mark Hawley — mixer
Ξ Marcel van Limbeek — mixer
Ξ Rob van Tuin — mixer
Ξ Bob Ludwig — mastering
Ξ Cindy Palmano — artwork, photography, art direction
Ξ Paddy Cramsie — graphic design
Ξ Paul Chessell — graphic design
ι↓ι Boys for Pele is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos. Preceded by the first single, "Caught a Lite Sneeze", by three weeks, the album was released on January 22, 1996, in the United Kingdom and on January 23 in the United States. Despite the album being Amos’s least accessible radio material to date, Boys for Pele debuted at # 2 on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Top 40, making it her biggest simultaneous transatlantic debut, her first Billboard top 10 debut, and the highest–charting US debut of her career to date.
ι↓ι 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
ι↓ι Amos had initially planned to record the entire album in the American South because "there's a hiddenness about the South, and I wanted to go back there because it was similar to how I felt in my relationships with men," but the bulk of the record was recorded in a church in County Wicklow, Ireland, as well as in New Orleans, Louisiana. Given her religious upbringing, Amos was drawn to record in a church, not in anger, but "with the intention of wholeness and of bringing a fragmented woman back to freedom." Amos chose to record the album in a church because it was about searching for an energy current, about claiming the passionate aspect of womanhood that the church teaches is wrong, “the idea of speaking my truth, no censorship, in a place that did not honor anyone's truth unless it was the church's truth,” “so I figured if I was going to claim my womanhood, my passion, and sing this record — which, for me, was claiming fragments that I had suppressed for a long time — then I was going to go back to a church, back to the old world, to do it.”
ι↓ι Aside from the symbolic reasons to record in a church, the decision was also a technical one to augment the acoustics of the music. Amos's sound engineer came up with the idea of enclosing Amos and her instruments in a box, along with a makeshift Leslie cabinet. Due to the logistics of the space, Amos stood to perform on the harpsichord and piano. The time it took for her to turn around accounts for the break in music heard in “Caught a Lite Sneeze” when switching between instruments. Amos can be heard entering the box at the beginning of the first track, “Beauty Queen”, and the Leslie effect is made obvious as it is switched on and off during different parts of “Horses”, itself a continuous piano piece, allowing for a clear comparison in the piano's sound with and without the cabinet.
ι↓ι Billboard Top 200 (U.S.) #2
ι↓ι Official UK Album Chart (UK) #2
ι↓ι ARIA Album Chart (Australia) #6
ι↓ι Austrian Album Chart (Austria) #9
ι↓ι Belgian Album Chart #6
ι↓ι Dutch Album Chart (the Netherlands) #6
ι↓ι Finn Album Chart (Finland) #13
ι↓ι New Zealand #15
ι↓ι Norway Album Chart (Norway) #27
ι↓ι Swedish Top 60 #4
ι↓ι Swiss Album Chart (Switzerland) #14
BY EVELYN MCDONNELL ♦ February 8, 1996
ι↓ι The tension between secular desires and spiritual devotion has fueled rock & roll frenzy since Day One, so to speak, when the fundamen–talist–reared Jerry Lee Lewis took the highway to hell on “Great Balls of Fire” and the gospel–trained Little Richard began testifying in ecstatic boogie–woogie whoops. At various times in their lives, Jerry Lee and Little Richard have renounced and denounced rock & roll as “the devil's music.” At other times the musical spirit has caused them to rise up out of their seats and throw themselves into their pianos with the unrepentant passion of possessed souls.
ι↓ι Anyone who has seen Tori Amos live knows that she, too, can writhe on the piano bench like a demon in heat. The daughter of a Methodist minister and a recovering Los Angeles big–haired heavy–metal singer herself, Amos knows what it's like to be stuck between hard rock and holy rolling. But as 1994's mischievous hit single "God" showed, she's more interested in questioning the powers that determine the notions of sin than in castigating herself for guilty pleasures.
ι↓ι "God" was just the opening salvo in the war on religion that Amos wages full–scale on Boys for Pele, her third solo album. This time around she's criticizing not just her own Christian heritage but most of the world's major religions. On various tracks she aims at Mohammed, Lucifer, Jupiter and a voodoo priest. The attack on deities is actually just part of Amos' larger struggle, which she has been detailing in oft–intimate terms since 1992's Little Earthquakes: the struggle against the patriarchy in general, with her own father symbolizing the fatherocracy. To borrow from the sort of mushy–headed New Age feministspeak that is Amos' stock in trade, she's on a mission to reclaim her — and our — inner goddess. “I need a big loan from the girl zone,” she sings on “Caught a Lite Sneeze.” Pele is a Hawaiian volcano goddess; the album's title could be interpreted as either (1) an appreciation of men willing to worship the female spirit or (2) a call for human sacrifice.
ι↓ι Although it's a bit hard to muddle through the enigmatic artifice and fanciful metaphors that Amos wraps around her songs like so much obscuring gauze, the answer's a playful (2). And who could blame her? As Little Earthquakes' a cappella "Me and a Gun" described in harrowing detail, Amos was raped several years ago, and she has been trying to recover her sexual health — already damaged by her strict up–bringing — ever since. Many songs on the new album are about relationships with unappreciative men, culminating in the scary but lovely codependent ballad “Putting the Damage On.” In a demonstration of her bid for independence, Amos produced the 18 songs herself, her relationship with her previous producer and boyfriend, Eric Rosse, having ended.
ι↓ι Boys for Pele begins gently enough and indeed never works itself into a lather, which is one of Amos' failings; she doesn't seem to know how to rage. The first few cuts find the former child prodigy at her Bösendorfer piano and a harpsichord singing atmospheric Kate Bushstyle compositions called “Horses” and “Blood Roses.” While Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard pounded their demons out in big barrelhouse chords, the classically trained Amos painstakingly draws hers out note by tinkling note in dreamy songs that are part show tune, part church music. There's a twisted current running "under the pink," as she titled her last album, but as she trills away in a soprano voice that's 40 percent breath, it's hard to get past the fact that Amos has thanked "the faeries" on all her albums.
ι↓ι Fantasies are the refuge — and sometimes the revenge — of the powerless, who escape in daydreams what they can't escape in reality. Amos gives ethereality substance when she declares, "Nothing's gonna stop me from floating," on "Father Lucifer." Still, as the bass and guitar kick fitfully into the song, you get the feeling that what she would really like to do is bust out. She comes close on "Professional Widow," with its "God"–like churning rhythm and provocative refrain of "star fucker, just like my daddy." But as usual, the lyric's meaning is oblique and unclear; Amos goes for the shock and giggle without going for the throat. She does a good PJ Harvey imitation on "Widow," indicating that she's absorbing some strong influences. I suggest she immerse herself in Babes in Toyland.
ι↓ι Amos clearly is talented, and the harpsichord brings out the medieval in her; at times, Boys for Pele sounds like Hildegard von Bingen meets Elton John. But there's a fine line between precocious and precious, and even when she's "fucking the piano," as one observer put it, Amos has always seemed very conscious of her charms. Left to her own production, Amos takes chances with her songwriting, relying less on endlessly repeated choruses, and experimenting with strings, New Orleans brass and gospel choirs. But at 18 tracks, the album's way too self–indulgent. Amos draws out every line with pretentious portent, but supposedly mystical lyrics like "And if I lose my Cracker Jacks at the/Tidal wave I got a place/In the Pope's rubber robe" are ultimately mystifying and, well, bad. On the final track, after admitting her attraction to a damaging man, Amos, at least, admires a woman who takes a stand as she identifies with a friend who has killed a guy. But that, too, is just a fantasy of someone else's life, a far–off "Twinkle."
|Tori Amos — Boys For Pele (January 22, 1996)