albums | interviews | photos | tours | boots | lyrics | press releases | timeline | stories


Unrepentant Geraldines

press release / discography / photos / tour


Oysters

Lyrics by Tori Amos

so can these shoes take me to
who I was before
I was stabbing my sticks into
a vulnerable earth
and I can almost out run you
and those stalking memories
did I somehow become you
without realizing
found a little patch of heaven now
so then I'm gonna turn oysters in the sand
'cause I'm working my way back
I'm working my way back to me again
not every girl is a pearl
with these ruby slippers
with these ruby slippers
so then I'm gonna turn oysters in the sand
in the sand
turn
turn
turn
and there are forces of conflict
taking portions of my mind
in whose realm laced with trickery
the fragments I must find
and I can almost out run you
and those stalking memories
did I somehow become you
without realizing
found a little patch of heaven now
so then I'm gonna turn oysters in the sand
'cause I'm working my way back
I'm working my way back to me again
not every girl is a pearl
with these ruby slippers
with these ruby slippers
so then I'm gonna turn oysters in the sand
turn
turn
not every girl is popular
popular
popular
not every girl is a pearl
with these ruby slippers
with these ruby slippers
so then I'm gonna turn oysters in the sand
in the sand
in the sand
turn
turn
turn


Tori Quotes

"Oysters" was in development for quite some time, mainly, I guess, because I had to travel, really travel with that one. And it originated itself first in Ireland again -- a few years ago, perhaps around, right before the Night of Hunters time, but it was somewhat different then -- so it's really taken on a different character, and I'd say to you, a different, um, accompaniment language, which then pushed the melody into different places. Some things were retained, um, from the original idea but it, it needed to grow, and I think it's because at the time, I hadn't captured the sadness, the melancholy that I needed to capture. I was hearing different stories from different women about the idea of, um, not having accomplished certain things, and they were stuck. So they needed to go out and have some kind of communion with nature. Different women explained it to me in different ways but I began to hear this one gal who just said -- and she'd had quite a life; quite a life, many experiences. I mean, been in Hollywood and working there behind the scenes; I mean, she'd been around the world -- and she's a British gal but she was, um, I ran into her in Ireland, and she was going to set up a, a little tackle shop somewhere at the ends of the earth, at the ends of the earth in the Third World.

And I started thinking about turning oysters in the sand; an old Native America idea, the idea of "Chop wood, carry water." The idea of doing something with the land as part of the land, whereby you become out of your problem, so you -- some women, men, will talk about the gardening -- I run into them, where they just had to get their hands in the dirt, really get their hands in the dirt, and to plant in order to stop thinking and reliving something over and over and over again, because they can't push through it. So in their own life, they go back to the same pattern, the same negative patterns. And, um, I started thinking about the idea of turning oysters in the sand. And musically, then, it started to make a sound, what that would sound like. Therefore, the piano melody that you begin to hear is the sonic oysters turning, and then once I heard the oysters turning, then it all came together. [Spotify commentary - 2014]

"Oysters" has taken several years to write. I think that's because, as the song says, "I'm working my way back, I'm working my way back to me again." In order to do that, I had to really live that experience. And the song kept turning on itself and shifting until I could find the pearl of the song itself. I went to Ireland. I went around the world. It really had different variations. It did have to evolve and literally turn on itself in order to become what it became. [Meet the Musician podcast - May 20, 2014]

I hadn't done it this way since Little Earthquakes, when I was writing to survive. I wasn't under contract for a pop record, I didn't know if I'd ever make a pop record again. The workload was heavy, but I was under contract with Deutsche Grammophon for two classical records and then under commission for The Light Princess.

These songs would just come on a personal level, in order for me to figure out what was going on in my other words. Sometimes they would take a while to come. "Oysters" took a few years, because I guess there was a real change: I can look you in the eye and say 50 is an amazing age. The energy is unbelievable. But 49 was hell. Awful, terrible. I was obsessed with Diane Arbus' story and what she went through, and that's what drove this record in the beginning.

It's about the culture of projection. Mark said to me, if you don't think men go through the aging process and those looming thoughts, you're wrong. I said, yeah -- but no. Let's look at this culturally. In Hollywood, some of our big leading men are in their late 40s or 50s. Their love interests rarely are. Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, etc. And they seem to be at the height of their powers sensually and sexually. There's an aphrodisiac that happens, even in the rock business, with a man that knows. Whereas a woman who has knowing and wisdom, it's respected and can be cool, but it's not always sexy. It's not an aphrodisiac.

I would like to think that there are women who will break this. There's a shift that's right now upon us that's happening, that possibly will change things. They're all there -- I never name one, because I have respect for so many of them -- but they're all right there. But will the public be ready? It's supply and demand.

The oyster, through a process, can make the pearl. It fascinated me that the pearl was within and yet it takes us a lot to see that. Accepting that time's moving on -- it's a tricky thing to find power in that, to tap into this divine feminine energy. It's not malevolent or benevolent, it's a force. And when you grab that force... we're back to intention. It's working my way back to being very clear about my intention at all times. [The Quietus - June 19, 2014]


Live Versions

"Oysters"
August 3, 2014 - Minneapolis, Minnesota - 89.3 The Current




t o r i p h o r i a
tori amos digital archive
yessaid.com