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80. Tori's seismic tension
on 13 April 2015
Long overdue, Tori Amos finally reintroduces her first albums, presenting 2 of the most spectacular reissues in recent years, curated by herself. As an artist who cannot be fully experienced only by her A-Side songs, and boasting a back catalogue of superb B-Sides, and unreleased material which often surpasses the value of album tracks, this new deluxe edition of her "Little earthquakes" debut collects the album's original 12 songs, plus an extra disc of 12 B-Side gems, 5 live performances, and her legendary cover of Nirvana's "Smells like teen spirit". A most splendid content, considering the extraordinary quality of the material, most of which previously featured on individual CD singles.
Every track on here is remastered for the first time, enhancing the beautiful arrangements, and allowing the instrumentation to truly shine (the mesmerising "Girl", and the electrifying "Precious things" are 2 tracks greatly benefited from the remastering). Presented with extensive artwork, liner notes, and housed in a beautifully designed gatefold digipack, everything - from the arresting cover images of Tori and her miniature piano, and the phallic mushrooms, on the front/back cover images, to the actual songs - is assembled with detail and care, making this classic album this year's most essential reissue. New listeners should buy this in complete confidence, Toriphiles I am sure have already done so.
"Little earthquakes", is the debut solo record that introduced to a wider audience the fiery, red-blooded redhead, who brought the piano back to the forefront of cutting-edge rock, and went on to become one of the most influential artists of her generation. Ripping her heart open, and bearing her soul for all to see, TA addresses through her unique storytelling an array of issues, such as relationships, femininity, religion, empowerment, sexuality, and family; each song tells a personal story, every story is more intruiging than the other. There is such disarming honesty, and astounding intensity in these songs that is apparent that "Earthquakes" was destined to define an era, and inspire a whole generation of female singer/songwriters.
From the glorious pulsating opener, "Crucify", to the magnificent climactic closing title-track, there is not a single track not dripping with emotion, does not evoke striking images, or fails to engage in some way (a mention is due for the shockingly bruising "Me and a gun", a stark account of Amos' own experience of being raped, performed acapella). Although on subsequent releases TA, admittedly, developed a tendency to over-indulge, her songrwriting genius and emotional clarity are best showcased on this album, which remains among her most accomplished and enduring works. Complexly structured, finely executed, utterly emotional, and deeply confessional, brave, bold, blazing, brutal, these "Little earthquakes" are simply shattering.