Five steps toward becoming Tori Amos:
Step 1: Be the kid of a preacher man and drop out of music school.
Step 2: Release two elegantly, ridiculously intimate solo albums, and inspire millions of girls to don fairy wings and take up the piano. Tour around humping your piano bench; pronounce lyrics in your own made-up dialect.
Step 3: Release several more albums that don't measure up to the first two.
Step 4: Co-write an autobiography that isn't completely nauseating (especially considering your woo-woo tendencies). Put it out with an album, The Beekeeper, that blends your earlier predilections for Gothic storytelling and honey-drenched vocals with gospel, R&B and even reggae, all of which comes together to sound sort of adult contemporary? Whaaaaa? Save the album from the clutches of mediocrity (see: the song about "driving in my SAAB"?! Yikes!) with a spooky, atmospheric title track, an exploration of Asian modalities and rock virtuosity ("Goodbye Pisces"), and "Hoochie Woman," a brilliant, smoky piece of dark sass that uses the blues and girl group doo-wopping miraculously well.
Step 5: Remind yourself that genius doesn't always find its way onto all 19 tracks -- or eight albums, for that matter.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.