January Artist – Tori Amos (Part 1)

This post is part of my Deep Dive Music Project. This month I’m listening to some music by Tori Amos. Be sure to check out the Tori Amos playlist I have on Spotify. This post has all my thoughts about the music I’ve listened to this month, and is broken up into three parts including this one. Click on a link below if you’d like to read another section.
Part 2
Part 3

This month I’m going to be getting into the music of singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos.

There’s a website called Inflooenz that I like to browse from time to time. It’s a fun way to discover artists/bands you might like. How it works is you put in a music artist or band in the search bar. Then the website will show you some of the artist’s/bands’ musical influences, and other artists/bands that they’ve influenced (called followers). Despite knowing very few Tori Amos songs (see the next section) when I type Tori Amos into Inflooenz I see several artists whose music I fucking love. Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell (influences), Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Alanis Morrissette (followers). These are just a few of the artists mentioned on Tori Amos’s Inflooenz page who I love listening to; there were several more.

So let me say this unequivocally and for the record that me listening to more than 3 Tori Amos songs is long overdue. Like I should have gotten into Tori Amos 15 years ago. I don’t say this in an “I should do this but I don’t want to” kind of way. No, I say this in a, “I know I’m going to love Tori Amos’s music” kind of way. I mean if Kate Bush is one of your musical influences then I’m gonna give your stuff a shot (and probably really enjoy it). There are some artists I’ve picked for this project where I can’t say for sure if I’ll like their music or really get into their albums. But I know I’m going to go down the rabbit-hole with Tori Amos’s music, and I’ll be kicking myself for not listening to her songs earlier. When I decided to start this project Prince was the first artist I knew I’d be listening to, but Tori Amos was the second.

The Tori Amos Songs I Kind Of Know

There are only three songs by Tori Amos that I kind of know. They are

  • Cornflake Girl
  • Me and a Gun
  • Black Dove January

My understanding is that “Cornflake Girl” is probably her most well-known song for mainstream audiences (and it’s not a song about breakfast cereal). “Me and a Gun” is a powerful and heartbreaking song (see the Wikipedia page for this song for more information – trigger warning for mentions of violence and rape). “Black Dove January” was a song I put on an old playlist I had with months of the year in the song title. Very random, but sometimes that’s how I roll. “Black Dove January” was the first Tori Amos song I listened to, which then got me to check out “Cornflake Girl” and “Me and a Gun.” Even though I enjoyed the three songs of hers I listened to (for different reasons) I just didn’t listen to anything else by Tori Amos. Again, I can’t explain why because like I said I can tell that I’m gonna love the music I listen to this month.

Impressions

Before I start diving into the discography for the artists I’ve chosen I want to give a rundown of the impression I get of their music and their work. This may or may not be accurate. The point of this isn’t for me to tell you, “this is definitely what this artist’s music is/will be like” but for me to see if these impressions are correct as I go along. They may or may not be.

Tori Amos to me seems like a classic singer-songwriter, or at least a 90s Lilith Fair crowd singer-songwriter. I believe some of her songs focus on broad topics like feminism, politics, and religion. I know she has songs written about or inspired by her life experiences as well, including some fairly traumatic ones (see “Me and a Gun”). But I don’t think all of her songs are going to be heavy in the subject matter. I could be wrong about that.

Despite being familiar with a very limited number of songs by Tori Amos she’s a music artist that I greatly admire. I know she’s a classically trained musician and that she plays the piano. As someone who took piano lessons as a kid (can’t say I can play the piano well now) I always love when a musician incorporates piano in songs. Listening to a song that has a major piano element to it (like “Cornflake Girl” for example) always makes me happy and in awe (because damn I wish I could play that way, but piano was never my forte). Hope one of you out there appreciated that bad music joke.

When I was living in Dublin I found out that Tori Amos was scheduled to perform a concert, and if I hadn’t been broke I would have got a ticket. I don’t go to concerts ever, and I never go to concerts for artists/bands I don’t know well, but Tori Amos seems like an exception to this rule I have. When the world reopens again if I get the chance to see Tori Amos live I will, because I think she’d be fantastic to see live

The Tori Amos Albums I’m Listening To This Month

Tori Amos has released several albums and as much as I’d love to listen to all of them I likely won’t get to each one this month. But this is what I am planning to listen to.

  • Little Earthquakes (Deluxe) (1992)
  • Under The Pink (1994)
  • Boys For Pele (Deluxe) (1996)
  • From The Choir Girl Hotel (1998)
  • To Venus and Back (1999)
  • Scarlet’s Walk (2002)
  • Abnormally Attracted to Sin (2009)

Honestly out of the 15 studio albums she has it was hard for me to know which 7 to choose, so I ended up consolidating this from several “Best of” lists and browsing the Tori Amos thread on Reddit. Trust me I know I’ll be listening to her entire discography at some point. Just likely not all this month.

So welcome to the first Deep Dive Music artist of 2021, Tori Amos. Let’s do this.

What’s your favourite album or song by Tori Amos?

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