Tori Amos, despite never having had a number one album or a top ten single in the United States, has amassed quite a dedicated fan following, and it’s not hard to understand why. The combination of her surreally poetic lyrics and amazing work on the piano has captivated people both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, where her first solo album “Little Earthquakes” was first released in 1992.
Since then she has released six more full-length studio albums: Under the Pink in 1994, Boys for Pele in 1996, From the Choirgirl Hotel in 1998, To Venus and Back (which also included a second live CD) in 1999, Scarlet’s Walk in 2002 and the Beekeeper in 2005. She has also released a “best of” compilation called “Tales of a Librarian”, an album of cover songs called “Strange Little Girls” and two dozen EPs. In 2005, Tori Amos began selling authorized bootlegs of live shows on her website.
In the late 80’s, Tori Amos fronted a rock band called Y Kan’t Tori Rede. They released one self-titled album which is now out of print and exceptionally difficult to find. I did not take this album into consideration when choosing her top ten songs. Choosing only ten songs as the best of her fifteen year solo career is challenging, to say the least. After eliminating everything that was released as a single in the United States, it became just a little easier. These songs will not only give you a good idea of the kind of music Tori Amos writes and plays, but a good overview of her evolution as an artist over the past fifteen years.
(Songs are listed in order of album release date, then by track number.)
1. Mother – Little Earthquakes (1992)
Favorite Lyric: “Tuck those ribbons under / your helmet / be a good soldier”.
2. Tear in Your Hand – Little Earthquakes (1992)
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t believe you’re leaving ’cause me and Charles / Manson like the same ice cream”.
3. Cloud on my Tongue – Under the Pink (1994)
Favorite Lyric: “You’re already in there / I’ll be wearing your tattoo”.
4. Father Lucifer – Boys for Pele (1996)
Favorite Lyric: “He says he reckons I’m a watercolor stain / he says I run and then I run from him / and then I run”.
5. Putting the Damage On – Boys for Pele (1996)
Favorite Lyric: “You say you’ve packed your things / and divided what was mine / you’re off to the mountain top / I say her skinny legs could use sun”.
6. Northern Lad – From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)
Favorite Lyric: “Girls you’ve got to know / when it’s time to turn the page / when you’re only wet / because of the rain”.
7. Suede – To Venus and Back
Favorite Lyric: “And I fear / my fear / is greater than my faith”.
8. I Can’t See New York – Scarlet’s Walk (2002)
Favorite Lyric: “I’m circling down / through white clouds / falling out / and I know / his lips are warm”.
9. The Beekeeper – The Beekeeper (2005)
Favorite Lyric: “I know you want / you want my queen / anything but this / can you use me instead”.
10. Goodbye Pisces – The Beekeeper (2005)
Favorite Lyric: “There you / there you go again / breaking / breaking porcelain / is that all I am / just a doll you / got used to”.
Tori Amos’s new 5 disc boxed set, A Piano: the Collection, will be available in stores on Tuesday, September 26th. Official bootlegs from her 2005 Original Sinsuality tour are available at www.toriamos.com.