179. Tori Amos – ‘Me And A Gun’ (1991)

“Yes I wore, slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread?”

Taken from the album Little Earthquakes

Also released on Tales Of A Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection, A Piano: The Collection and Live At Montreux 1991/1992

In the eighties, Tori Amos gave a man a ride home after one of her shows, and was then raped at knifepoint. Her recounting of the events is as chilling as this song is, as she tells of the threats he made and how the man made her sing hymns during the ordeal. When Tori saw Thelma & Louise years later, she was shaked and inspired to write ‘Me And A Gun’.

When I think of this song I think of one word: brave. How brave Tori had to be to get through the rape and recover from it, and how brave she was to write this song, let alone release it as her very first single. The entirety of ‘Me And A Gun’ is a cappella, completely stripped of instrumentation, giving the song a ghostly quality, as Tori pours her heart out into the microphone.

“It was me and a gun
And a man on my back
And I sang holy, holy
As he buttoned down his pants”

Those lyrics are among the most uncomfortable and emotional I’ve ever heard on record. There’s something about Tori’s simultaneous detatchment and intimate nature, her fear and her will to survive. ‘Me And A Gun’ is not just well written, it is a dramatic listening experience that has yet to be matched.

Live on Later with Jools Holland:

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