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