American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer Tori Amos has released a 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Boys for Pele.
By Jane Howkins.
It’s been twenty years since Tori Amos first released her experimental third album Boys For Pele and like her first two releases Little Earthquakes and Under The Pink, it’s been remastered, with a selection of bonus tracks and rarities making up a second disc. Just like her other two remasters, this is the definitive version, for both newcomers and old hands alike.
When first released back in 1996, Boys For Pele came as something of a shock to critics and Amos fans alike. It was a massive departure from her previous work, with a much more eclectic and experimental style featuring throughout the album, with only a few songs being similar to her previous piano based stylings. The pianos were still very much there on tracks like Marianne and Not The Red Baron, but other instruments were added, including a harpsichord and a brass section. However, Pele is one of the best album’s Amos has ever recorded and if you stick with it then you will be rewarded.
The remastered version will also probably be a little easier for new listeners to get into due to the slightly warmer sound it has. The original record was rather quiet in terms of some of the instrumentation, with the bass in particular being almost silent on some tracks. This has all changed, with a lot of the sounds that were once hidden in the background being brought forwards, creating a warm, crisp feel to the songs that sounds just right. Parts of it are subtle, but there’s a noticeable difference and thankfully it’s a difference that sounds perfect, instead of being overproduced as some remasters tend to be.
It’s worth getting for this reason alone, but the extra bonus disc just makes Pele all the more alluring. A lot of tracks here are ones that were previously available in some form or another, and most die-hard Amos fans will have listened to them in the past, but the addition of some unheard recordings is quite astonishing, with To The Fair Motor Maids Of Japan and Sucker in particular making this an album worth purchasing. The former has been the stuff of legend in the Tori Amos community and it’s great to hear that it’s just as good as hoped. New versions of Talula and In The Springtime Of His Voodoo are also present, and it’s pleasing to note that the original versions of those songs are back on the album proper in their respective places, alongside Professional Widow.
Boys For Pele always was a mysterious beast, and whilst this remastered version probably won’t change the mind of anyone who straight up doesn’t like Tori Amos, it’s certainly the definitive version for fans and newcomers alike, featuring a selection of songs presented in their fullest forms. Here’s hoping the trend continues and we get a similar version of From The Choirgirl Hotel in two years time.