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The Heights (US)
Boston College paper
April 11, 1994
Tori Amos speaks sans piano
By THOR IVERSON
Special to The Heights
and THERESA REGLI
"Years go by, will I still be waiting For somebody else to understand?" So sang Tori Amos in her breakthrough single "Silent All These Years," but her pessimistic prophecy has gone completely awry. As many fans-showed at her March 31st press conference in Cambridge, there are people who do understand.
The "circle," Amos' name for her devoted admirers, has overcome her sometimes semi-mystical, stream-of-consciousness, verbal approach and realized the deeply personal insights Amos shares in both song and interview, something she describes as "right on your face and crawling in your ear." In the preconcert press conference, Amos went to great lengths to recreate that "circle" for the assembled media representatives.
1991's Little Earthquakes was exercise in musical therapy for Amos, as she dealt with the unresolved emotions stemming from her sexual assault years before; the need to communicate and to be heard dominated the lyrical themes. But on her new album, Under The Pink, most (though not all) of the demons have been exorcised, leaving Amos free to explore relationships—primarily between women.
"I was appalled at the betrayal among women," she said, noting that while she usually expects such behavior from men, "I can't stand it when women don't understand." Especially galling have been the often hostile reactions from female critics and feminist groups that Amos has respectively labeled "lizards" and "fascists."
"I don't like being judged," she asserted. "I've been judged since I was two and a half."
Most of those judgments came during Amos' formative years; from her father, a Methodist minister and from her brief sojourn at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory, from which she was expelled at age eleven for playing by ear. Asked how she felt about playing in Harvard's Sanders Theater, a renovated church, Amos replied that she was "...very excited... I'll probably keep my legs crossed all night."
Religion is still very much a part of Amos' lyrical palette, as she revealed in the song "God": "Will you even tell her if you decide To make the sky fall / Will you even tell her if you decide to make the sky?" This theme is also explored on "Past The Mission," on which Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails provides a surprisingly melodic vocal assist. "Trent's like a past-life husband," Amos mused.
But Amos' actual love interest is her long-time boyfriend and producer Eric Rosse. Along with standard production chores, Rosse is also responsible for capturing the haunting and delicate "Bells For Her" on Under The Pink, a song that Amos improvised both musically and lyrically as it was recorded. Amos and Rosse plan to start a family this year. "I'm throwing away the pills in August," though the child will never be separate from Amos' musical interests.
"He knows his bassinet will be next to the Bosendorfer," she laughs, referring to the world-famous piano of which Amos is the sole nonclassical endorser. But for now, she "still has song babies to take care of, and they have things they want to express." Or, as she put it in "Silent All These Years,"
"Sometimes I hear my voice
And it's been here
Silent all these years."
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