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5.0 out of 5 stars
Give me life/Give me pain/Give me Tori Amos again, 4 April 2008
By far the best Tori Amos album ever.
In fact, by far the best album ever!
Emotional, honest, weird, beautiful, bitter and strangely compelling. "Little Earthquakes" bears none of the over-produced textured strains of some of her more recent work.
I was first introduced to Tori Amos when I read the comparison of Evanescence to Tori Amos. At the time I dismissed it and didn't bother pursuing any of her material. That was until I needed an appropriate piece of music for a drama sketch I'd written. That's when I came across "Little Earthquakes" in my Dad's record collection. I turned it on in search for some background music. But what I got was an initiation into one of the most prolific and innovative artists ever to grace the earth. This album proves that the piano can be just as rock & roll as a guitar.
She has yet to match this level of brilliance. This album is almost untouched and is raw, honest music. Home to many of her finest songs (all are worth a listen), Tori Amos uses "Little Earthquakes" as a vessel to explore a variety of themes including; religion, sex, obsession, love, hate, growing up and splitting up all with a surprising level of maturity both emotionally and musically. And just when you think you've got her sussed she re-invents herself with the next track. One moment she's hypnotising you with mournful piano-induced ballads, then suddenly she plunges you into harsh, bitter and almost gothic passages.
Obviously the catchiest and easily recognised tune is `Crucify', the opening track and one of my personal favourites. It grabs you and makes you pay attention. It's a simple but effective song in which she metaphorically compares herself to Jesus in her everyday life. Loads of clever lines of religious imagery such as "where are those angels when you need them?" and "I gotta have my suffering so that I can have my cross". Pure genius.
The next song is `Girl' and don't turn it off if you're getting bored, hang on because it perks up! (I can't give away the song!)
The other major hit from this album is the fantastic "Silent All These Years" a weird and wonderful ballad about...well actually I'm not all that sure what it's about but it's a great song.
Next it's the brutal and slightly bitter `Precious Things' easily the heaviest song on the album. The metal guitars and rock drum beat are extremely effective.
Fifth is the epic `Winter', a ballad about growing up with some haunting imagery and beautiful piano parts. This is the song that the emotion in her voice is most evident.
Next is the falsely cheerful and cleverly deceiving `Happy Phantom'.
Seventh is another ballad comparing a person to `China' both the country and the stuff you have at posh dinner parties. Very clever. Leaning slightly on the pop-ballad side but it's still good.
`Leather' is possibly one of her most personal songs with a very catchy and skilfully devised piano solo.
Then it's the fantastic `Mother'. Another Tear-jerker. Weird and wonderful. A song about her beliefs (apparently).
Suddenly the pace picks up again for the more rock-based `Tear In Your Hand' that invokes Tori pleading with the love of her life not to leave her yet and begging for another chance.
Another album highlight is the controversial "Me And A Gun" which is about her personal experience of being raped. She sings it without any musical accompaniment and is a testament to her versatility as an artist.
And of course the album ends with the title track `Little Earthquakes' another rock track, full of power and grace, takes some getting used to, but as usual it's worth it.
To me listening to Tori Amos is like going on a journey. A journey through her life and your own. All of the songs are written in first person giving the whole album an intimate approach. She sings like she understands you and it's like as the listener you are a part of the story. The best thing about her music is it's not always set-in-stone exactly what she means. The songs are often open for you to draw whatever touches you most in the song, (with the exception of Me And A Gun).
Yeah she's a little eccentric at times but that's a good thing. Just don't call her boring. Anybody who cannot appreciate the genius and emotion of this album is mad. Stark raving loony. Unless you are deaf or have no heart then there is no logical reason on this earth why you wouldn't like this album. Artists such as Alanis Morissette, Natalie Umbruglia and Avril Lavigne owe a lot to Tori Amos whether they admit it or not. Tori Amos dared to be different in a time when the music business was still reeling from cheesy 80's rock and synthesisers.
So why is it that over a decade after its release "Little Earthquakes" still draws in new fans like moths to the flame? Easy answer, because it rocks. This album literally changed my perspective on...everything...
In some respects this is a very basic album (it's also her first), but that innocent approach to the music is what is often lacking in other albums, however this may irritate some people. It does also have a tendency to become sometimes too honest and confessional but nobody's perfect. She always manages to pick up the pace again. It is also teetering on the repetitive side, but whinge over- this album is fantastic. All in all if you don't have this album then you are seriously missing out on one of the most significant contributions to music in modern times. Well what are you waiting for get it now!