5. Dolly Parton, “Jolene.” Amos treated Nashville audiences to a stunning interpretation of Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit “Jolene” earlier this week. Amos’s version is filled with both palpable sorrow and simmering jealousy, the singer’s voice alternately deep and raspy and “soft like summer rain.”
4. The Cure, “Pictures of You.” Amos turns the Cure’s 1990 single “Pictures of You” into a lush ambient ballad and, at the suggestion of one Toriphile, mashes it up with “The Big Picture,” an original song from her pre-fame Y Cant Tori Read days.
3. George Michael, “Careless Whisper.” Amos’s cover of a Wham!-era George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” is unexpectedly haunting, particularly during the understated verses, in which she hopelessly laments, “There’s no comfort in the truth/Pain is all you’ll find.”
2. Madonna, “Frozen.” In the past, Amos’s covers of Madonna’s “Live to Tell” and “Like a Prayer” have underwhelmed, but her recent rendition of “Frozen” breathtakingly reinvented the queen of pop’s icy electro-pop hit from 1998 into a stirring, nuanced keyboard dirge. Where Madonna’s original is filled with hope, Amos sounds like she’s negotiating with a glacier.
1. Radiohead, “Creep.” The term “haunting” could be used to describe more than a few of the above selections, but it applies foremost to Amos’s cover of Radiohead’s alt-rock chestnut “Creep.” The lyric “I want a perfect body,” in particular, is given new weight as delivered by Amos, who faces the realities of being a woman in an increasingly and unforgivingly ageist business. She likewise works herself into a vocal frenzy during the song’s bridge, in which she repeats, “She’s running out the door,” with the fervor of a woman who’s obviously eyed the exit in both her personal and professional life more than a few times.
What have been your favorite Tori covers? Tell us in the comments below!