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Strong Black Vine

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Shut your mouth
I'm spinnin' it tight down south
I'm on raid
tie you down cause boy I can
save you from that evil faith
Eagles serve yeah uhhuh Mother first
they turn you predator but boy I can
save you from that evil faith
Arms sold in Balmy cities that may not be with us for long
save you from that evil faith
lay back
Strong Black Vine
Is my mission for a
Strong Black Vine
you just might see that
sweet jesus
Strong Black Vine
is my mission for a
Strong Black Vine
your mission
Blown to bits her innocent flesh to dust
all for a dark god
all for the love of some evil faith
Swollen stream
every drip serpents bless
you rape Earth knowledge
still she would save you from your evil faith
Bodies bathe is black gold your pleasure
Arms sold in Balmy cities that may not be with us for long
save you from that evil faith

Tori Quotes

"Strong Black Vine" is about religious intolerance, and sees Amos repeatedly sing of an "evil faith."

All of them can be evil, right? When you're brought up a certain way and you're exposed to the church, some people want to be compassionate and be understanding of other peoples' paths. But then other people believe that if others don't believe what they believe, why should they exist? But that's not just Christianity. That's Islam as well. Judaism. It's all over the place." [BBC News - May 8, 2009]

Amos has been observing the way power is used, the many ways in which people are subjugated, and the secret impulses that drive them into these situations.

It's quite a seduction. Years ago, walking in Hong Kong -- I had a similar experience in Taipei in Taiwan -- I was walking through the markets, and they were draining the live snakes. They were writhing and they were draining the blood and the men would drink it to try and feel virile. And I saw the snakes just being tortured, clearly in pain, [with what looked] almost like clothespins on their necks.

To Amos, the drive to feel virile or accepted is an oppression akin to that carried out by large-scale institutions such as the Christian church or national government. On "Strong Black Vine," she says, "Every drip serpents bless/ You rape Earth knowledge/ Still she would save you from your evil faith," turning, as she often does, to the creative forces attributed to the Earth itself and femininity. [Venuszine - May 26, 2009]

What is the biggest sin?

Intolerance! Judging and influencing choices made by other people. Those religious zealots who decide what others should do in their private lives. "Strong Black Vine" is about those extremists in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Their urge to conquer the world and impose their ideas on everyone. [Veronica - September 5, 2009]

Her parents still come to her shows. They come along and my Dad still has certain issues with what I do. He has a big issue with a rendition of "Strong Black Vine" right now. He's a little cold on it, but that's okay. If he were to embrace it then I would know I got it really wrong. [Southern Star - November 4, 2009]

Live Versions

"Strong Black Vine"
August 1, 2009 - Washington, D.C.

"Strong Black Vine"
August 15, 2009 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Strong Black Vine"
September 25, 2009 - Vienna, Austria

"Strong Black Vine"
October 1, 2009 - Milan, Italy

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