Why Tori Amos Still Rules 20 Years Later.
Last month, Rhino Records released remastered versions of 90s piano rock Goddess, Tori Amos’ first 2 albums, Little Earthquakes (1992) & Under the PInk (1994), respectively. While the exciting endeavor didn’t go off without a hitch with sound quality not coherent on gems like The Wrong Band, it was, in a sense, a very clever way for Rhino to also get the word out that they will be working hard to ensure no snafu’s occur come 2016; when we’re treated to re-releases of 1996’s Boys for Pele & 1998’s masterpiece, From the Choirgirl Hotel.
As probably most of you know by now: I am a huge Ears with Feet. AKA, Tori Amos fan. Shes without a doubt my favorite musician & just all around awesome in my record books. I’ve encountered some who have rolled their eyes a bit at these remastered beauties, “Tori Amos? Still?” “That chick from the 90s?! Lilith Fair is dead!” & other mis-guided quotes from folks who just do not get it. Especially, in where we are at in the music scene & world itself. It’s truly quite simple: We need performance artist like Tori. Maybe more than ever.
When Tori’s debut, Little Earthquakes, made its way into the world, it became a sleeper hit among the dominated grunge empire, many didn’t know what to make of her: A preachers daughter from North Carolina, singing about breaking free of her christian up-bringing (Precious Things), telling a flame he’d best pray she get her period (Silent All These Years) & even sharing the story of her own sexual assault upon her move to Los Angeles (Me and a Gun). Her songs became 4 minutes of blissful escapes for tormented listeners, looking to pave their own way in the world. Little did Amos know that she would soon begin to meet young women who only felt safe when playing Earthquakes, or attending her shows, which continue to be 2 hours of the now 52-year-old red-head devoting her performances completely to YOU, even if you are in a venue of 5,000 other people.
When I saw her in San Diego last summer, a highlight was finally hearing the not played often, Earthquakes classic, Mother; I have been thinking a lot of this track with Mothers Day having just passed. A heartbreaking tale of a child entering adulthood, it always breaks my heart when Amos whispers, “He’s gonna change my name/Maybe he’ll leave the light on”. All the emotion & passion continues to be there on the remastered edition; maybe it’s because I soak in the words to its core, but I swear its become even more powerful when she sings, “I escape into your escape/into our very favorite fear scape/it’s across the sky and i cross my heart/and i cross my legs oh my god/first my left foot/then my right behind the other/breadcrumbs lost under the snow.”
When she returned in 1994 with Under the Pink, the stakes were high following the multi-million selling Little Earthquakes. Could Tori handle the anticipation? Would she have the dreaded ‘Sophomore flop”? When you decide to examine how females are most hateful towards each other (Bells for Her, Cornflake Girl), recall masturbating while your family is downstairs studying the Bible (Icicle) & get Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor on board (Past the Mission), its doubtful people will turn their heads, & that they did not. Under the Pink was in no way a sequel to Earthquakes, & I think that’s what saved Tori. She proved her place in the world that she’s more than a girl in crisis. Ever vulnerable, she shifted that energy to explore so much more, both on record & in interviews & within her shows.
Artists like Tori are so vital, pivotal, in the music world. While most are checking out what Kanye will do next or how many hits Taylor Swift has on YouTube, it can be daunting for the kids of our generation to know just who to trust & where to turn to. Music like Tori’s shows them that its ok to feel insecure, its ok to want to smash things, to feel hurt. That we need to break away from crucifying ones self. And, while you’re discovering just who you are & want to be, it’s a pretty safe bet Amos will be there if you need a hug. Throughout her entire career, she is known for infamous meet & greets at each stop on her tours. She will listen to you; she’s even quick to say you might even inspire a song.
And, for the record: Tori was never associated or apart of Lilith Fair. Some need to get their ladies correct 😉
Check out the associaite links below to get your copies of the new remasters, & learn more! xo
(Featured image: Eva Crowder.)