Tori Amos

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.

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Rachel Devitt