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Unrepentant Geraldines

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Unrepentant Geraldines

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke
(this is the day of reckoning)
mamma looks to you for truth
(with the heart of Saint Catherine)
no need to apologize
(for the gypsy madonna )
truth is not always kind
(jesus hosanna )
Peter and Paul they did condemn
(this is the day of reckoning)
women like the Magdalene
(she you said the savior loved best)
now you ask me if I agree
(our patron St. Cecilia )
with the unrepentant geraldines
(jesus hosanna)

chapel of birds
we sing our song revise the word
will you pray
pray for me unrepentant geraldines?

I'm gonna free myself from your opinion
I'm gonna heal myself from your religion
I'm gonna free myself from your aggression
I'm gonna heal myself from your religion

Our Father of Corporate Greed
(this is the day of reckoning)
you absolve corporate thieves
(they will give the Judas kiss)
as our governments relent
(guess who gets them elected)
and turn a blind eye to your sin
(jesus hosanna)

chapel of birds
we sing our song revise the word
will you pray
pray for me unrepentant geraldines?

I'm gonna free myself from your opinion
I'm gonna heal myself from your religion
I'm gonna free myself from your aggression
I'm gonna heal myself from your religion

If you find the Vicar's wife
running through the rain
on her way from St. James
To Mary's in the field

You'll find she plays guitar
Sometimes with her band
But she plays the bass like a Messiah

If you find the Vicar's wife
staring out to sea
Praying for one more soul
We lose one every week
There she will light a flame
Asking why they've gone
What are we not giving
Giving to the young?

You'll find she plays guitar
Sometimes with her band
But she plays the bass like a Messiah

If you find the Vicar's wife
running through the rain
on her way from St. James
To Mary's in the field
On her way from St. James
to Mary's in
Mary's in
in the field



Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), Geraldine


Tori Quotes

That's the Irish connection again. I mean, Ireland has this crazy pull for me. Something happens; I don't even have to go there. I can be, uh, traveling the world, and I can just... I don't know, get called, get called back by the mythology. The mythology does something to me. I think you feel it in "Wedding Day"; it shows itself through the record. Um, it's very much the driving force behind "Unrepentant Geraldines" because I started writing the song there in one day, and then I was there for several days and the song started to shift a bit. Once I began really seeing that it wasn't about just one person called Geraldine; it was that any, any woman can be this person who has to stand by what she believes in at a certain point.

And I was thinking about her story and my mother-in-law and my mother-in-law's older sister who, believe it or not, when you're talking to teenagers about how fortunate they are, it's -- they'll look at you and say "Well, things are really tough for us out there," and they are, they are very tough for them in some ways. But Tash, my thirteen-year-old, was having to hear how women had -- these women are still alive -- didn't have the opportunity she did. Or did for a moment and then they were snatched away. And her great-aunt was telling her she built radios and planes in World War II and went up in the planes without having to be a wife, without having to be a mother... and of course those G.I.s were roaming around, and nobody was talking out of school about what all that was about! And then, of course, when the war ended, um, then these judgments started to happen for the women, and they had to go back to the kitchen. And at the time that wasn't a place of having your own TV show and cooking and being on the cooking channel and all that; it was being relegated to, you don't get to choose what you want to do, this is what you do -- this is your place. And so, some women had to be very apologetic for some of the things that they were doing in the war, the relationships they had, the passions they had; some people had children, then some of those children were taken in by the soldiers that were coming back to save face because it was shameful.

And so when Tash was hearing these stories from her mother-in-law and her aunt, what is was like -- not that there was their personal story, but what it was like -- you begin to see: wow, these women, they're, they're alive! And they are telling me that the world was so different for women -- so different that I started to think about being unrepentant. And turning fifty is a time when, although there might be regrets that you had through your life, how you handled things, there's a certain time with your work and as an artist where you have to stand firmly where you stand. No excuses, and truly be unrepentant and unapologetic as a creative force. [Spotify commentary - 2014]

Geraldine, she was an Irish gal that got into a bit of trouble because, perhaps, she had other ideas about what she wanted to do with her life than her mom and dad had for her. So, she had to repent and these days we're not going to repent for the things we think. [BBC Breakfast - May 12, 2014]

I saw her [the painting] and a story started taking over -- well, the rhythms started coming. [CBS Sunday Morning - August 3, 2014]


Live Versions

"Cruel" / "Sweet Sangria" / "Unrepentant Geraldines"
November 6, 2015 - Basel, Switzerland
Baloise Session




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