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Donau-Kurier (Germany)
Monday, June 6, 1994

No pretty song about the shiny happy world

Tori Amos settles her own past in her songs

Actually she is a gift from heaven: red hair, a deep stare, a voice that just melts you away and songs that destract from hard workaday routine for a moment. All of a sudden life can be so delighting again. Thanks to Tori Amos. "Elf", "angel", "fairy" - synonyms for such a being are found easily. And just as quickly turned down again. Because in no case Tori Amos hums pretty songs about the shiny happy world. She's not even able to - she's too clever.

The hall is too quiet. Even so quiet loud breathing would disturb the atmosphere. Best thing would be not to breathe at all. Anything but to miss a note. Up on the stage Tori Amos sits at the piano and sings melodies, each one of them capable of giving you goose bumps. She throws her red curls in her neck and sings "Me and a Gun".

It is a song about a rape. Her own rape. Tori Amos wasn't crushed by it and admits today: "If I'd been armed at that time I would have killed that guy outright. Now I'm glad I wasn't armed." Her only weapon is music. In her songs the 30 year old settles with her past, sings about unrestrained sex, pregnancy and women's rights, attacks state and church. She just can't hide her anger with deceitful moral conceptions and authority.

Tori Amos was brought up in a orthodox home in North Carolina. She developed to an infant prodigy, strummed tunes on the piano at the age of four already. Her father, a Methodist minister, realized the talent of his daughter and sent her to a conservatory of music in Baltimoore at the age of five. However, she got kicked out as she was eleven years old - Tori didn't feel like playing at sight and also didn't want to grow up in ghetto of musicians.

What followed were her years of apprenticeship as a musician. She played in gay clubs, sent out truckloads of demo tapes and produced an album which bombed completely. That was "because I chummed up to the so-called public taste. I wanted to please everybody and overlooked myself in the process."

But the songwriter also gets the better of it: "Every phase you pass in your life has some sense and you learn something for the future. I think I've gained a great deal of strength through my experiences and only from that I was able to write my recent songs." After her first album wrecked she sent a tape to her record company with songs that came from deep within: Songs she could stand by.

Luckily they realized the quality of her music at the chief offices. On the advice of the company Tori Amos moved to London. The Britons were believed to be more tolerant than the Americans with her somewhat unusual harmonies. A good choice: The CD 'Little Earthquakes' took the pop fans' hearts by storm.

Tori Amos clearly stands out from the mass of shallow pop-fairies and always has been taken notice of in the public. Almost everywhere only hymns of praise. Even in the US: "Music that makes your heart stand still - a voice that stops any traffic for three and a half minutes" 'USA-Today' judged the first single, 'Crucify'.

Tori Amos shows she isn't a day fly with her current album 'Under the Pink'. Once again she succeeded in a most sensitive mixture of songs which describe both the beautiful and the dark sides of life. In the UK the album soared to number one in the charts from scratch.


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