|Grade: B- | Genre:
Summary: If you are patient, there is certainly an ample supple of gems burrowed in the Beekeeper, but it’s frustrating to see Tori not fully tapping into her potential that we know lies smoldering beneath.
It’s been a year and a half since Tori released the astounding Scarlet’s Walk. Scarlet’s Walk marked Tori’s return to brilliance after many years spent wandering in the musical desert.
Although it proved a long-winded effort, it was classic Tori. It focused on her intimate relationship with the piano as she chronicled from the road the country’s jumble of emotions that unraveled in the months following 9/11. Tracks like “Taxi Ride”, “Strange” and “A Sorta Fairytale” equaled the best in her impeccable catalog. Scarlet’s Walk, on the whole, was as good as anything we’ve heard since Under the Pink.
Tori’s renaissance seems to have taken a detour as we are introduced to her lukewarm effort The Beekeeper. It’s not that the material is bad per se. It just seems very complacent and lacking of emotion and soul. She is nice when she should bite into us like Reznor. She’s careful when she needs to be daring. In other words, where the heck is Tori buried in this album?
The chances that she does take are a mixed bag. “Witness”, a gospel soaked tune, is over reaching and dull. “Hoochie Woman” surfs on a similar vein though settles in much easier with its rolling pianos and slick rhythm. The over the top punctuation of “hoo, hoo, hoo” even seem to strangely work. The one commonality it shares with Scarlet’s Walk is an inability to figure out where to cut the fat.
This album spans an eye-opening 19 songs clocking in at 60 minutes. It is littered with empty, forgettable tracks. Take your pick from “Mother Revolution”, “Ireland”, “Barons of Suburbia” or “Ribbons Undone”. Culling this set to around 10 tracks and allocating the remaining as b-sides would have been extremely helpful to add a focus to this album.
She does seek redemption with standout tracks like “Sleeps with Butterflies”, “Martha’s Foolish Ginger” and “Original Sinsuality” that echo a more traditional Tori. “Cars and Guitars” is also a very nice piece pegged completely on her full-bodied voice. Her only saving grace is that she is Tori, goddess of music, and even her tepid efforts sound better than most artists’ best.
If you are patient, there are certainly an ample supple of gems burrowed in the Beekeeper, but it’s frustrating to see Tori not fully tapping into her potential that we know lies smoldering beneath.
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