“Doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces”
Taken from the album Little Earthquakes
The image of Tori Amos most widely known in pop culture is sort of like an American Bjork, a modern Kate Bush, a feminist icon, a screeching, red-haired banshee who flails wildly at the piano and sings all sorts of man-hatin’ anthems for her throngs of similarly screeching, red-haired fans. Whilst that is somewhat true, she does screech on occasion and has been known to flail, she also does an epic job of the quiet moments, which get little attention, dwarfed by the ‘Cornflake Girl’s and ‘Professional Widow’s of the world. The slow-burners in her catalogue are among her most powerful songs, and the title track from her breakthrough album is one of the very best.
Little Earthquakes is a perfect album from start to finish, as I think I’ve said before and will no doubt say again. The title track seems to sum up all the themes of the album, and strikes a balance between the noisy ‘Crucify’ and the a capella ‘Me And A Gun’. ‘Little Earthquakes’ is the final song on the album, a concluding statement, a last goodbye. At nearly seven minutes it takes it time but goes through quite a few emotions and sounds before it makes it’s point.
“These little earthquakes… doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces.” That line is a reflection on all the things that have been sung about in the album – things that have taken a mental toll on Tori and that she finally got to speak out about with this album. By magnifying their importance, calling them “little earthquakes”, and then playing down their importance, by saying “doesn’t take much”, we’re never really sure whether Tori has actually worked through and dealt with the little earthquakes. The chant at the end of the song is a fitting end for the themes explored in this emotional landmark of an album:
“Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again.”