Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SHOWCASE: TORI AMOS

"These tears I've cried, I've cried a thousand oceans. [...] And I would cry a thousand more if that's what it takes to sail you home."


Tori Amos is, if you don't know this yet, a genius. A musical prodigy from a young age, she was the youngest student to enter the Peabody Conservatory of Music - at age 5. She was kicked out at age 11, not because of any lack of skill, but because she preferred rock and popular music instead of the more traditional styles encouraged at the school.

A piano-driven singer-songwriter, Tori Amos has since released nine studio albums, and over the course of her career has explored numerous topics. Suffering a rape and two miscarriages, this is a woman who knows personal pain and tragedy better than most so-called artists of our day and age, and makes our culture's worshipping of Beyonce and Shakira types even more of a sad parody.

Though I can't possibly do this woman justice in a single post, I can post some of her best work and let you be the judge.

Tori Amos - 1000 Oceans
(Sendspace link)
This song, a touching story of a woman lamenting the distance between her and her lover, showcases both Amos' skills with a piano and her gorgeous voice. It's truly stirring, as the song's protagonist expresses the desire to cry 1000 oceans 'if that's what it takes to sail you home', and gives us a beautiful image of Tori, floating in a vast ocean of tears, waiting...

Tori Amos - Strange
(Sendspace link)
Strange examines the idea of leaving everything behind to devote your life to someone, only to discover that, without that love, your world isn't your world after all, but theirs. Once that person is gone, you're stuck in a 'world that I am not a part of, except when I can play it's stranger'. She repeatedly tries to understand why she can't just learn from her mistakes and move on, stop trying to be someone she's not, and finds herself unable to. Possibly my favourite Tori song, as the vocals and instrumentation work together to make a real beautiful song. It ends on a hopeful note, as she decides that all she can do is acknowledge her mistakes and move on to a life she can call her own.

Tori Amos - Me and a Gun (Sendspace link)
Tori Amos wrote this song in the aftermath of her rape at the hands of a man who forced her to sing hymns as he did so, and threatened to 'cut her up' and take her to his friends. This experience is clear in this song, as the thoughts that run through her head run from the desperate ("I haven't seen Barbados, so I must get out of this") to terror ("So I'll just change direction, as they'll soon know where I live, and I wanna live"). This song is painful, and ponly moreso when you learn about the actual event that inspired it. The song is performed a cappella, unadorned by piano like other songs, better to show the raw trauma involved.

Tori Amos - A Sorta Fairytale
(Sendspace link)
This song has Tori recalling a particularly good day, one that, 'like a good book', she can't stop reminiscing about, despite the lack of a 'happy ever after'. That day stays in her memory, a bright light no matter how that relationship continued and was lost, and you can feel her need to hold onto that memory once that love is gone.

Other great Tori tunes that I may post at a later date: Jackie's Strength, Girl Disappearing, Sweet the Sting, Gold Dust, I Can't See New York, Happy Phantom

BUY: Amazon, Amazon Canada, InSound

Just to let you know, Tori is (according to LastFM) by most-listened artist, and I'd have to say I know why. She's gorgeous, as is her music. So, give her a shot! :)

2 comments:

Wendy77 said...

YEAH TORIIIIIII

I love that she got kicked out of music school. I believe Regina Spektor did as well... or one of my other favourite female singers...

vulcanhippy said...

I believe Tori Amos makes Alanis Morisette look rather bad.