Welcome to England
Welcome to England
My husband used to think that the hymn said, “No hell! No hell! No hell!”
A nice fanvideo set to my favorite Tori Amos Christmas song. I have no idea what the movie is, though. Anyone know?
I’m pretty sure that being drunk at a Sufjan Steven’s Christmas concert would be pretty freaking awesome and go a long way toward giving almost anyone some Christmas cheer. It’s just that ridiculous. And it’s probably best to be buzzed while listening/watching, too. I dunno. I just like it.
I was listening to this album (Ornamentals) for the first time the other day and kept thinking this was a Madonna song from the 1990s or something. I was kinda tripped out to see it was by Lovespirals and not Madonna at all. My brain has a hard time accepting that. Listen and tell me if you hear 90s Madonna, too. Or am I insane? Wait…don’t answer that! 😉
This is one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful winter songs ever.
Always love her bluesy way.
I’m loving this latest offering from Sinead O’Connor. I’ve listened to is many times today.
In my last Sister Songs post, I talked about two songs that I feel like are the same character at different points in their life. (I actually think Curtain Call is also that character.) But this time, I feel like these are two alternate takes on the same event, like the same character taking the same journey, covering the same exact days, but in one take they are “a sorta fairytale” kind of days and in the other they have a more positive spin.
A Sorta Fairytale
Sometimes I feel like Tori Amos writes songs that are sisters to each other, or possibly they are the same song character showing up at different places and times, aged, changed, morphed. For example, Lady In Blue and 16 Shades of Blue. I’m pretty sure 16 Shades of Blue happened first in the timeline of this character’s life, despite being recorded later, and that Lady In Blue is the same character a few months or years down the line.
16 Shades of Blue
Lady In Blue
Now, some people might call me crazy, and that’s okay, but my characters have their own opinions about music. I almost always have a book-specific playlist for any novel I’m working on, and the songs are picked by the characters themselves. The following is a link to Leith’s playlist. He chose the songs. He was absolutely fixated on The Vitamin String Quartet covers, but was also mad about The Gaslight Anthem’s acoustic stuff, Snow Patrol, and Billy Bragg. He also had a hard-on for a few Ed Sheeran songs, amongst a select few others.
So, for those interested, press play and see what Leith insisted I listen to as I wrote his book.
[spotify id=”spotify:user:12122330928:playlist:3FpF7QdsRE7oTI4JhCfbfu” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
Tori Amos’s catalog, for me, has always been about how safe I feel listening to it. Her albums function equally well as works of art and as practical field guides, sending GPS data every few years from new coordinates in the thicket of self-actualization that she and her listeners have been navigating together for two decades. Tori is our flame-haired, first-name-basis, mezzo-soprano GUIDANCE counselor. “When you gonna love you as much as I do?” she asked as a 28-year-old, ten minutes into her first album. She arrived beckoning toward self-discovery and love. Little Earthquakes was a debut, but there is nothing half-baked or under-developed about it. She sailed to shore on a seashell, fully-formed, and offered a vision of identity that demanded acceptance. Her music was strange, her voice was strange, and her message was clear: “There is room for what I’m doing in the world, even if I’m the only one doing it.” We heard that, we pupils, and took it to mean that there’s room for what we’re all doing in the world. Her unflinching career has paved the way for innumerous other unflinching, glorious marchers to their own beat. —Katie Presley
It has been a dream of mine forever to share my love of Tori with a daughter, and I am lucky enough to say that my little girl loves Tori. We spend time listening to her albums together, talking over lyrics, and just being unusually quiet together appreciating the sounds.
This August my daughter is going to her first Tori Amos concert with me, so we’ve been listening to back catalog stuff so that she’ll be familiar with what might be peformed and not just the newer stuff. The other day in the car we were listening to “Crucify” after a discussion of what it is about (how hard we are on ourselves–something my daughter can relate too all too well, unfortunately) and I looked into the rearview and saw that she was crying. I asked, “Why are you crying, honey?” She said, “I don’t know. The music. The song.”
That’s why Tori Amos connects. My life is enriched by her always and ever.
For the record, my daughter’s favorite song on the new album so far is “Selkie” because it is a retelling of one of my daughter’s all-time favorite fairy tales–The Selkie Bride.
More quotes from the NPR piece:
Tori Amos still loves you. She isn’t fucking around. —T. Cole Rachel
More than 20 years after Little Earthquakes, Amos’s guidance has been disseminated and focused. It’s still Tori singing strength to Tori, and Tori singing strength to the women whose stories she’s telling, and to the wider listening public, but there is another, more specific life she is now shepherding: Her daughter’s. Strange Little Girls was for Natashya, about re-imagining the rock canon so that a girl might grow up and feel a part of it. Night of Hunters featured Tash as the supporting character Annabelle in several songs. And Unrepentant Geraldinesshowcases her as a musical peer; as fully half of the conversation, from her own point of view. Good guidance, particularly of the MATERNAL variety, is subtle enough that it’s not immediately apparent when one has graduated to guiding oneself, and Natashya’s development from inspiration to concept to self-fulfilling musician is the precedent and promise of Tori’s earlier albums made manifest. Every Tori Amos record is about breaking free of the stories we’re told and telling our own, but Unrepentant Geraldines is the first with physical proof of the journey. —Katie Presley
[spotify id=”spotify:track:3ZZS2pYJmjkjyw8VDPowcU” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]
This duet between Tori Amos and her daughter Tash Hawley makes my mother’s heart clench and my eyes get all wet. It might be cheesy, but I dunna care. I love it like so much whoa.
Sure, you can say, “It’s just a stupid ice cream song—quit overreacting.” But that’s exactly the fucking point. It’s the most benign, neutral thing I can think of. And this is part of its history (not even buried particularly deep)
So, this reminds me of a song that I was taught by my grandmother growing up. It was a racist song and I had NO IDEA. In fact, when I’d ask my mother what parts of the song meant, she’d obfuscate to avoid telling me the truth. For example, “Mama, what’s a darkie?” “Oh, honey, that’s just a child who is dirty because they are too poor to have running water.” Or, “Mama, what’s a pickaninny?” “Oh, baby, that’s a child who worked in fields picking cotton.”
Uh-huh. I see.
This all culminated one day in the third grade when our teacher offered us extra credit points to stand up and sing any song we wanted. Oh, yes…oh, yes, I stood up and sang this song. My teacher was HORRIFIED. And when I got to the middle of the chorus and messed up, and asked to start over, she was like, “Uh, no, how about you just sit down now.” I was mortified and thought it was because I can’t sing well (and I can’t). But when I told my mom about it later she just about died of embarrassment. Also, there was a black kid in the front row. LET ME TAKE A BOW NOW.
So, yes, the lesson of this story is, I guess, don’t let your mom teach your kids racist songs because then their teachers are gonna think you’re a racist. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m not teaching this song to my kid, obviously. But I still know every. single. word, and I still wish darkies were just dirty children. But…that’s not what it means and I offer up an apology to everyone offended by my childhood ignorance.
By the way, this is the song I sang, except in the version I learned, we said pickaninny instead of the n-word — apparently my Appalachian family had some limits when it came to racist terminology. POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING! THE N-WORD IS USED!:
Speaking of the n-word…my daughter and I were talking about the book Huckleberry Finn the other day and she was asking why some people wanted to ban it. The subject of the n-word came up and I was like, “Well, there’s this word in there that is very offensive, but it was used really regularly back then. What’s interesting, though, is that the book was one of the most important piece of literature for illustrating that humanity is the same no matter a person’s color, and the use of that word in the book was to help illustrate that lesson.”
“What word, Mom?”
“Uh, it’s, the, uh, n-word.”
“What’s the n-word?”
I looked at her little face and couldn’t bring myself to say it. “I can’t say it. It’s just really never okay to say it.”
“But how will I know what it is?”
“I’ll write it down.” I then looked at a piece of paper and the pencil and couldn’t even do that. “I can’t write it down either,” I said. I couldn’t hand a piece of paper to my beautiful seven year old with that word on it.
“But, Mom, how will I know what the word is?”
I almost answered, “That word should be forgotten.” But finally I realized that it’s still pervasive in different parts of our society and culture, she might hear it and repeat it after listening to some rap, for example. So I explained it by saying, “It sounds like the word bigger but has an ‘n’ on the front.”
She said, “Oh. Okay. I’ll never say it, Mom.”
And I was like, “Cool, because it’s worse than the f-word and it’s so insulting to people that it really just shouldn’t be said, okay?”
So…yeah. I couldn’t look into her beautiful face and say such a hurtful, awful word. It sucks so much that there are kids out there who hear it directed at them or their families. I hope some day that stops forever.
So, Tori Amos has a new album coming out, and at the writing of this post, I have as yet to hear it. I’ve heard from various sources that it’s a good one and seen many comments that Tori Amos is “back”, like maybe she was gone for awhile. I guess that confuses me. Sure, she’s put out albums that I didn’t love every song or feel like it was an album that I needed to listen to over and over and over again, but every album she’s ever released has at least one song that speaks to me and I feel like it makes my life better by having it exist in the world.
For example, my least favorite album as a whole is Abnormally Attracted to Sin, but I love the following songs from it:
1) Fast Horse
2) That Guy
3) Maybe California
4) Welcome to England
And while for some reason Lady In Blue doesn’t move me on the album, when I saw it performed live, it was utterly mesmerizing. There are others from that album that I also enjoy, but it is also my least listened to album of hers.
I guess what I’m trying to say, though, is that every album doesn’t have to be perfect for it to deserve to exist. I guess I just get sad and defensive, what with being a fan and all, at seeing so people being down on her, and even sort of tainting what looks to be a great new album with implications that her brilliance has been missing in action for some time now. Aside from the compilation records of hers, which never work for me, she’s never put out an album that I didn’t find something amazing about. I’m sure this album will be no different in that regard.
1. Come On Home to Me by Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl
One of my favorite songs. Wrote a story about this song once.
2. Car Radio by Spoon
3. Another Mystery – Dar Williams
Preach, Dar. Preach. I’ll c/p something I posted to Facebook the other day about this song.
Man, this song speaks to me more and more as I get older. I was thinking about it in the car this morning because I’d read some Tumblr posts from girls who say they want to be like Laura Palmer (the mysterious, beautiful, girl who is loved/wanted by everyone) and another post about how Laura Palmer was a Mary Sue (which, uh, was the entire point of her! She was impossible! Lynch was clearly critiquing society’s expectations of women with Laura! She couldn’t have existed in reality and her monstrosities were due to her Mary Sue-ness — all things to all people, sex machine, goddess, whore, virgin, daddy’s girl, best friend, volunteer, star student, cheerleader, etc, etc). And the posts about wanting to be like her just gave me the shivers. I was like, “Oh, God, no. I don’t want to be a mystery. Preach Dar.”
4. Who Is Like This One? – Hello Saferide
Damn, I love this song. I titled a story after a lyric from it once.
“But you are the only one I’ve met who’s ‘God Only Knows’
I liked you the first time I met you
and it grows and grows and grows”
5. Witness by Tori Amos
I am a weirdo because I like this one and a lot of folks don’t. *shrug*
The main character from my ’90s Coming of Age Novel has latched onto this song as his personal anthem. That was unexpected but…makes sense.
This song is, for me, Matty at the end of Training Season. I can’t listen to it without thinking of Matty.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I always write to music. The following songs definitely influenced or inspired aspects of Training Season. This first song? Absolutely inspired the meet-cute in the book.
For some reason, “Decimate” by David Ford has always been Rob’s song in my mind. I’m not sure why, but I think this represents how he feels about Matty. I’d listen to this one when I was trying to figure him out. If anyone can figure out what makes this a Rob song, let me know. 😉
In my little series of music posts about my soundtrack while writing Training Season, here are two more of Rob’s songs. Both of them are very much how he thinks about Matty, the situation, and all of his hopes, dreams and fears. “Nights Like These” is the most despairing of the two and the reference to the only boy who ever broke your heart is a Figure Skating reference, but of course. “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson is a bit more upbeat, though I think hopeful resignation is the name of the game with that song.