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Strange Little Girls

Strange Little Girls was a concept album released by singer and songwriter Tori Amos in the year 2001. The album's eleven tracks were cover songs written by men but reinterpreted by Amos from a female's point of view. Amos created twelve female personas (one song featured twins) and sang the songs from those characters' fictional perspective. A synopsis:

  • "New Age" by The Velvet Underground, as performed by a pseudo-intellectual nymphomaniac[?].
  • "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" by Eminem as performed by the female character in the song; a woman with her throat slit, bleeding to death in the trunk of a car.
  • "Strange Little Girl" by The Stranglers as performed by the now-adult daughter of the dying woman in "'97 Bonnie and Clyde."
  • "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode as performed by an aging Vegas showgirl.
  • "I'm Not in Love" by 10CC[?] as peformed by a goth-girl.
  • "Rattlesnakes" by Lloyd Cole[?] as peformed by a female drifter.
  • "Time" by Tom Waits as performed by the female personification of Thanatos, or Death.
  • "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young as performed by a set of seductive twins involved in international espionage.
  • "I Don't Like Mondays" by Bob Geldolf[?] as performed by a female police officer stumbling upon a school shooting crime.
  • "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles as performed by the prostitute visited by John Lennon's killer just hours before the murder.
  • "Raining Blood" by Slayer as performed by a German vaudville performer watching the Gestapo invade her club.
  • "Real Men" by Joe Jackson as performed by an androgynous lesbian.

The album's greatest attention was garnered from Amos' cover of the Eminem track "'97 Bonnie and Clyde". Originally a rap song sung from the point-of-view of a father who disposes of three corpses, his ex-wife, her new husband and his son, all accompanied by his 4 year old daughter. The song was meant to be humorous and was heralded by rap fans and many critics as a work of genius. Amos was so disturbed that she reinterpreted it from the point of view of the dying wife without changing a word.

The album's cover of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was also a standout track; the song was retranslated into a discussion on the right to bear arms, and included soundbytes of both George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, as well as from Tori's own minister father.

By pure coincedence, the album was released the week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and "Raining Blood" became unexpectedly topical, with lines like "raining blood from a lacerated sky, bleeding its horror", "awaiting reprisals", "the sky is turning red" and so on.

Although the album reached multiple-gold status, it was widely ignored by fans, many of whom didn't like the non-original material. It is widely believed that Amos knew she would be leaving her long-time record label Atlantic, and that she recorded this album as a fullfillment of her contractual obligation to them. If so, she put a lot of work into it.

The album also received attention because each female character was represented in photography done by the late make-up and photography genius Kevin Acoin. Short stories accompanying the photos and songs were written by popular novelist Neil Gaiman.



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