Home > Teddy Bear Diary > [January, 1993] Tori Amos and Really Deep Thoughts

[January, 1993] Tori Amos and Really Deep Thoughts

“What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts?”

Monday, January 25, 1993

Dear Journal,

I got some new tapes from this Columbia House deal and they are free as long as I promise to buy 8 more within the next 3 years. Right now I am listening to Tori Amos and it is a great tape. She is a poet and most of this stuff is real deep. I don’t get a lot of it but I understand it even though I don’t exactly get the symbolic meaning.

Anyway, I found out Chris Drewski likes me last week. Sigh. It feels good to have somebody like you but, you know, if it was only… Oh I don’t know. It’s kind of bugging me though.

Hahn thinks that I like Leon. I don’t (not really), I just love to flirt with him. Not that I would mind if it was more.

I think I’m pretty much over Will. Moving on. Gotta go.

1993 and still loyal to cassettes

I remember seeing the video for “Silent All These Years” late one night on MTV. I was utterly intrigued with this strange, full-mouthed redhead tumbling across the screen in a wooden box, singing about being a mermaid (as I’ve hinted at before, I have a soft spot for mermaids). I was struck by lyrics like,

“i got something to say
you know but NOTHING comes
yes i know what you think of me
you never shut up”

(come on, that’s lyric heroin for an angsty teen)

Who was this Tori Amos woman?

I had the chance to find out when my parents let me join Columbia House. For those too young to remember (*sob*), there was a time when you couldn’t pick up a magazine without seeing full page ads for this music club. The ads would be dotted with album covers on perforated paper, so you could tear out the gratis albums you wanted and affix them to the membership form. The lure of all that free music was great and I eventually succumbed, though over time my relationship with Columbia House grew more sinister, until I eventually felt like I was being stalked, manipulated, and extorted through my mailbox. But the early days were sweet, and they did bring me and Tori together.

When I first listened to her debut album, Little Earthquakes, I felt a bit the way I did at my initial listening of U2’s Achtung Baby. It wasn’t immediately catchy and I didn’t understand it entirely, but there was something compelling about it. I respected that it took a numerous listens to find rich nuances in the music and lyrics. Tori Amos was confusing, confrontational, crazy, and other adjectives not beginning with “c” (I like alliteration; sue me). She sang about relationships and sex and female identity in a way I had never come across before (it would be a while before I discovered Kate Bush). I also loved that nobody else I knew was familiar with Tori at the time, and took pride in my musical discovery. Her second album, Under the Pink, would be the one to get her the mainstream attention, which I had mixed feelings about. I wanted others to love her as much as I did, but I also wanted her to be something of a secret to share with a select few. And for a little while, it was. In early 1993, finding Little Earthquakes was like unearthing musical buried treasure.

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  1. Ann
    August 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I was a BMG girl, myself. Created new accounts every time we moved so I could get the sign-up deals.

    Every time I hear “Winter” it makes me think of that night we walked home through the Back Bay (from Fuel, maybe? I forget) singing to distract ourselves from the cold.

    • August 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      That’s right, I forgot about BMG! I think my HS best friend was a member of that one.

      However, I *do* remember the freezing weather sing-a-long (namely singing “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea” at the top of our lungs). Good times.

  2. August 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I loved Little Earthquakes. Loved! I almost used “But what if I’m a mermaid in these jeans of his with her name still on it” as my yearbook quote, but ended up going with some Grateful Dead hooey instead. Regret!

    I somehow managed to avoid the lure of Columbia House, but I still enjoyed tearing out the perforated album covers and dreaming about what free tapes I’d choose. Oh yeah I did.

    • August 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      I need to see if I had a Tori quote in my yearbook (we had half a page to do anything we wanted, and mine was quote-a-riffic). And I tore those perforated albums out over and over again, but I guess I must have worn my parents down and convinced them to let me sign up. To this day I don’t think I ever bought all the albums I was supposed to. Oh well.

  3. bridget
    August 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    little earthquakes is such a great album and it just entirely reminds me of being an angsty preteen/teen/post-teen.

    it totally frustrated me when she became super popular, because yeah i felt like she was my little secret for the longest time. then she became incredibly weird and i just feel bad now…she’s a billboard for awfulplasticsurgery.com

    • August 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      It also frustrated me because I felt like she got more and more popular for albums that were not as great as the earlier material.

      As for the plastic surgery, it’s sad, but she was in her late 20’s/early 30’s when she became popular, which is a bit later than most pop singers. There’s always pressure in show business to be youthful, and considering that young women were her main demographic, I could see that pressure motivating her to go under the knife. Still a bummer, though.

  4. bridget
    September 2, 2010 at 12:02 am

    i would respect good plastic surgery, but WTF did she do? it’s just terrible. i’m always fascinated by celebs with really shitty plastic surgery because one would assume they’d have their pick of doctors…though i guess it’s also an issue of overdoing it.

    and yeah overall the quality of her music lessened as time went by…though i was talking to a musician about it and they said “well yeah you have your whole life to make your first album…then you just have pressure” though that doesn’t excuse the 800000000000 remixes of songs from the choirgirl hotel

  1. December 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm
  2. January 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm
  3. June 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm
  4. April 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

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