After years of being told, “That girl and her piano aren’t going to make it,” and a failed debut record (“Y Kant Tori Read”) that seemed to confirm that theory, a devastated Tori Amos slowly crawled back onto her piano bench to mourn, purge and heal her pain.
It was this failure, and the resulting introspection, that paved the way for the success of her critically acclaimed sophomore effort, “Little Earthquakes,” which went platinum worldwide and gold in the U.S.
The difference this time, she says, boils down to honesty. Prior to “Little Earthquakes,” Amos claims she was always trying to be what “they were looking for.” She said: “But I’ve never been what they were looking for: the love, the babe in the bar or the artist. I’m getting OK about that. I finally discovered who I am, but after you discover it, you have to apply it to your life.”
Her newest Atlantic Records release, “Under the Pink,” released Feb. 1, is just that and more. Musically and lyrically more courageous and bold, Amos arises as far more than the silenced victim that she demonstrated on “Little Earthquakes.”
Although she still reveals her delicate, vulnerable side, this time a multi-dimensional, adept, complex person appears with music and mood ranging from serene melancholy passages to those marked with wild anger, reflecting Amos’ catharsis and transformation from “Little Earthquakes.”
On “Under the Pink,” Amos also handles new subjects. In “Little Earthquakes,” she focused primarily on her relationships with men. “Under the Pink,” however, deals much more with Amos’ relationship with women.
“Women are the ones burning each other at the stake. They’re the ones yelling ‘baby killer’ at the abortion clinics,” she said. “That deep sense of sisterhood isn’t what I dreamed or what I wanted it to be. We’re the race that’s really been subjugated more than anybody, and yet there’s such a viciousness and betrayal among us.”
Amos also confronts Western religion on “Under the Pink.” The single currently being played on alternative radio is titled “God.””(God) has to be held accountable a bit more,” said Amos. “Not God the universal energy force. I’m speaking of God who has been ruling this planet and has wiped out every country saying, ‘love your neighbor as yourself, and if you don’t do it the way we say and believe like we do, we’re going to slaughter your children.’ ”
Is the music industry ready to embrace Amos’ eccentric musical style and honesty? “This business is changing so fast, forced by alternative radio and people who are demanding good music,” Amos said. “People want music that deals with life and feelings because music is where we look for expression, not movies anymore.”
“Most movies are just checking demographics and trying to decide how the story should be according to that,” she continued.
“That stupid movie, ‘Indecent Proposal’ — it’s a crime that the girl went back to her husband. They thought that’s how it should end, but Robert Redford was a better man. In reality, she would go with Robert because she’s not that stupid. Why did we spend seven bucks to see that?”