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February 6, 2005
Female myth is Tori Amos' music
Tori Amos is the "deep one" in the world of pop. She is constantly researching myths, religion and "the feminine". The results become albums instead of dissertations. Her new album is called "The Beekeeper".
Tori Amos is less ego-tripped now than ten years ago, even though she still likes to be associated with elves and esotheric things. Now she's got a daughter, who's probably one of the reasons for it. The interview, conducted in a hotel suite in Stockholms went very smooth.
As an artist, she's something of pop music's answer to the Anita Goldman of literature - the same research in female myths and religious symbols. Her courage lies in not being a 13-of-a-dozen pop princess. He who gives in to her music, and especially her lyrics, will have to count on chew resistance.
Before the creation of her 8th album since her debut 15 years ago, Tori Amos spent three years searching intensively in early writings of the three big religions.
"I went to the library back home in North Cornwall and borrowed books about the philosophical teachings of Christianity, Islam and Judaism," says Tori, daughter of a methodist minister who not at all talks as "short" as she writes. She lets every question become a button for an exhaustive answer where the winds can be hard to follow.
In other words, she's got volubility.
Which was the most important insight ("revelation" is the word Amos wants to use herself) after this study?
"That not only men, but women wrote, or were written into evangelions. They became erased from history since it simply didn't suit the men in power at that time, and still does not. Women like Mary Magdalene and god's mother Sofia."
"It's like someone would go in and change in Jimi Hendrix's catalog.. "Let's take away those guitars".
Musically, Tori Amos will always have to stand being compared to Kate Bush, but Tori sings without the abrupt pitches and her piano is the foundation to the pop-chansons. The problem with lyrics as difficult as academic essays is that they need some kind of cipher manual. Meaning, you don't instantly hear what the lyrics are said to be... but then again it's not that common for artists to study holy scripts before going into the studio.
The new album (released on February 23) is an allegory of the "storm" that is said to be coming. A myth researcher as the USA-born Tori Amos would never venture into singing outspoken political songs, but admits they're definitely about our time. About the "political manipulation that's shaped the American cultural landscape".
"You can bomb women and children in the name of Christianity. Our leaders are exploiting Christian principles."
But Tori doesn't want to spend time on this level.
"You can spill a lot of time by looking at the outside," she says, "but instead we should be looking at what's happening on the inside, in our own garden. That's what we should take care of. Men and women should look at their relations."
She doesn't give much for people like Madonna who reads kabbalah and practises yoga and after the courses come out "total unethic".
"That's what I call 'champagne spirituality'. Meditation is something they do an hour a day before they get into their greedy lives of just wanting and wanting."
[translated from Swedish by Mikael Jergefelt]
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