Thursday, November 06, 2008

727. Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes (1992)

Track Listing

1. Crucify
2. Girl
3. Silent All These Years
4. Precious Things
5. Winter
6. Happy Phantom
7. China
8. Leather
9. Mother
10. Tear In Your Hand
11. Me And A Gun
12. Little Earthquakes


Although I haven't heard this album in a while, it was probably one of the most frequent albums I listened to in the second half of the 90s, to the level that I know all the lyrics forwards and backwards even some 8 years later. So yes, I really like Tori Amos.

That said this is not Tori's best album, and definitely not the only album by her that belongs on this list. Even if she hasn't done anything great since
From the Choirgirl Hotel a decade ago, she did produce a number of classic albums from 92 to 98. Albums that belonged here but aren't here are: Boys For Pele, her best, most original, multi-layered, underrated and challenging album, From The Choirgirl Hotel and even, possibly, Under The Pink.

This does not however, remove the credit that must be given to this album. Amos was one of the most effective lyricists of her generation, lyrics that at first seem non-sensical or loopy gain meaning with repeated listenings, meaning that is actually more confessional than that of any other singer around in the 90s. Then the music is also full of little complexities, whether in her piano playing or simply in her atypical song-structures. There are a couple of duds here, China grates while Winter is a bit too twee for its own good. Amos is better when uncompromising, and there is plenty of that here. A near-perfect album which is unfortunately the only Tori album I'll get to review here.

Track Highlights

1. Silent All These Years
2. Precious Things
3. Happy Phantom
4. Tear In Your Hand

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The album was released to rapturous acclaim and is recognized as one of the important albums that kick-started the female singer-songwriter movement of the 1990s. A heavily confessional and journalistic work, it is often considered the most accessible of her musical catalogue.

When the album was finally released in the UK in January 1992, it reached #14 and remained on the Top 75 charts (UK Albums Chart) for 23 weeks. A month later, it was released in the USA to breakthrough critical success and also announced itself as a chart mainstay, despite peaking outside the Top 50 on the Billboard 200. The accompanying singles (along with "Me and a Gun" and "Silent All These Years") were "China" (January 1992 UK), "Winter" (March 1992 UK/November 1992 US) and "Crucify" (May 1992 US/June 1992 UK), the US EP version of which featured covers of songs by artists including The Rolling Stones and Nirvana. During this time, Amos recorded the song "The Happy Worker" for the Toys movie soundtrack. A remix of the song is also included on the soundtrack, titled "Workers".

In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Little Earthquakes the 66th greatest album of all time.

The song "Me and a Gun" was released in the UK as the first single, with a b-side of "Silent All These Years". "Me and a Gun" is an a cappella song about rape. It was inspired by a sexual assault that happened to her in LA when she was 21. The single was not a commercial success (likely due to its nature), even though it was critically praised for its bravery. Radio stations did pick up "Silent All These Years", though, putting it into heavy rotation and making it Tori's first hit single (and what many consider her signature song). It was even re-released in 1997 where it once again became a radio hit.

Silent All These Years:

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