Good luck trying to figure out what Tori Amos's latest concept album is about. Even after reading a two-page press release about it, I'm still not quite sure (although apparently it has something to do with a beekeeper, six gardens and some kind of imminent storm). Like 2002's meandering Scarlet's Walk, The Beekeeper lacks real sting. With its confounding concept and often oblique lyrics—some of which feature religious references—it can be a difficult listen and, at almost 80 minutes long, a draining one. Still, Amos achieves an ethereal beauty on songs like the airy first single, "Sleeps with Butterflies," the gently lilting "The Power of Orange Knickers" (with guest vocals by Damien Rice) and the lovely "Ribbons Undone," an ode to her 4-year-old daughter Natashya. The London Community Gospel Choir helps uplift four tracks, including the sexy, bluesy "Sweet the Sting," on which Amos switches from her trademark piano to organ.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Sleeps with Butterflies"