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Juarez

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Dropped off the edge again
down in Juarez
don't even bat an eye
if the eagle cries
the Rasta man says, just
cause the desert likes
young girl's flesh and
no angel came
no angel came

I don't think you even know
what you think you just said
so go on and spill your seed
shake your gun to the rasta man's head
'cause the desert - she must be blessed and
no angel came
no angel came
listen, darling
no angel came

there's a time to keep it up
a time to keep it in
the Indian is told
the cowboy is his friend
a time to keep it up, boys
a time to keep it in
the Indian is told
the cowboy is his friend
you know that I can breathe
even when I cheat
should. should've been over for me
listen, darling
no angel came
no angel came
no angel came
listen, darling
no angel came
no angel came
no angel came
no angel came


Additional lyrics from live performances

1999 and 2001:

no angel came
for my little girls
no angel came
for my little one
no angel came
for my little girls
no angel came
for my little love
no angel, I said
no angel
came
came
came


Tori Quotes

I read an article about several hundred women in Juarez, Mexico, who had been taken out to the desert and brutally raped and murdered. When they didn't come home, their brothers would go and look for them, and many times they'd find nothing. Sometimes they'd find a hair barrette or a sock or something they knew was their sister's. The authorities haven't really done anything about it... they get into this serial killer theory. I mean, how much serial can one man indulge in? So, as the song started to develop, I really began taking the voice of the desert, singing in that perspective. [Alternative Press - September 1999]

I was inspired by "Juarez" on the road. We were by the border and I was dragged out of the bunk. The song was grabbing me by the throat, saying you have to sing the song. It was just clear that the voices were calling me; the desert was obviously the only thing that heard her last breath, and everything started coming after that. [Charlotte Observer - September 17, 1999]

On songs like "Juarez" and "Datura," sound seems to be as important as lyric and melody.
Without question... Well, it started to become about how... After working with them, I started to kind of understand, as I was composing, that I had to take into consideration, no different from "does this work on the piano?" or "does this riff come from the left hand?" that part of the characterization was gonna be, "Okay, what's the perspective on this song?" For example, "Juarez" I knew had to come from the voice of the desert. Therefore, sonically, as we started stirring the pot, with everybody in there together, it wasn't working [with] me coming in on the piano. Finally, it was as the two or three hundred women were mutilated, the engineers looked at me, I looked at them, and it was like, "I've got to mutilate the piano." [Drummer] Matt Chamberlain, and Andy [Andy Gray] the programmer, once the mutilating-of-the-piano concept was in, then they wanted the violence, the suppressed violence... I would talk about the picture of what had happened. It was a real thing.
...
An actual history of violent assaults against women in Juarez.
Sure. And everybody would sit there and listen to it, the brutality of it. And yet because it's from the desert's point of view, there's the timelessness of the desert. There's this baking going on, like a kiln. We really wanted this suppressed track. You would hear the music that was coming out of the car of the guys who were gang-raping her. That's what I wanted, and the chanting of the guys.
...
And you accomplish that through electronic techniques that mutilate the sonically assuring element of the piano.
Yeah, but when people talk about this track, they're comparing it to, I don't know, an "electronica" track. But you're confusing your terms here, people. You're just confused, because it's a commentary on the real hardcore misogynistic stuff, done in a way that captures them with their pants down, literally, mutilating her. [All Music zine (www) - October 1999]

"Juarez" was based on the abduction and supposedly the rapes, but finally the murders, of many women in Juarez [Mexico] in the last 10 years. I had read articles about them and then we came close to the border on tour one night, not far from Juarez. I watched as we drove one side of the border, remembering the words of the sisters who had lost their sisters to the desert, and the brothers who have lost their sisters who would go out and find a ribbon or a fragment and know that their sister is buried somewhere in the desert. In that song I sing, "No angel came." [Pulse - November 1999]

Her new album is all about passion. About the power that flows from the passion. Power that you can use for the best or the worse. Like the evil in the song Juarez, which deals with the monsters we turn into when our hearts are broken. It's about the murder of two hundred women in a small town at the border of Mexico. When I was touring through Texas, I was really near it, and the story grabbed me. I immediately wrote the song, on the bus. The song gives you a different look on the things I wrote years ago in Me and a Gun. But both songs are about the things you can do, when your heart thinks there is no other choice. There's a line in "1000 Oceans": "I've cried a thousand oceans and I would cry a thousand more / If that's what it takes to sail you home." If you know you're capable of feeling that for somebody you know that the bodysnatchers don't have you yet. [Aloha - November 1999]

In the song ["1000 Oceans"] there is this ferocious commitment to finding this person. I don't know who the song is singing about -- it's different for different people when they hear it. She has this depth of love for a daughter or whoever it is. I think some of the other songs look to her sometimes for that kind of resilience. "Juarez" [based on a true story of unsolved murders of women on the Mexican border] is the other extreme, when you're so cut off and severed from any kind of humanity that you can mutilate another person. You've got to be pretty close to soul death, to lose your own soul, to do that to another person. And that's happening right now, it's been going on for the last ten years. [VH1.com - 1999]

This song was the first time I'd heard of the female homicides taking place in this Mexican city -- but not the last.

We have extremes happening, don't we? All the girls getting kidnapped in Nigeria. The fact that the world is divided, and religion is a big part of that. And it is men who are in power -- even though you think in the West, women are encouraged to be independent and educated, able to look after themselves and not just marry well -- but women are subjugated in all kinds of places. In Britain, in America as well. I don't know where it's going. [The Quietus - June 19, 2014]


"Juarez"
August 29, 1999 - Saratoga Springs, New York



"Juarez"
November 30, 1999 - Providence, Rhode Island




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