117. Tori Amos – ‘Crucify’ (1992)

“I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Just what God needs
One more victim”

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

UK #15, AUS #83

As the first song on one of the greatest albums of all time, ‘Crucify’ has a lot to say and says it well. Built around the title question of “Why do we crucify ourselves?”, Tori Amos explores within her own mind and her experiences to come up with an intriguing opening statement that would set the tone for much of the female singer-songwriter explosion of the nineties. She may get compared to other artists all the time but this was very her, individual and a mission statement to really take notice of.

‘Crucify’ is a series of explanantions about uncomfortable situations, and includes a conversation with a cat much like the conversation she has with Jesus in ‘Me And A Gun’ from the same album. My favourite line in ‘Crucify’ and possibly my favourite from any Tori Amos song is “Got enough guilt to start my own religion”. Tori’s father was a reverend and religion comes up a lot in her recordings, so it’s fitting that among her first songs would be such a statement.

The single was not a success in the US (but remember that the album famously peaked at 54, despite outselling every single other Tori Amos album), but was a hit overseas and in most parts of the world marked the end of the Little Earthquakes campaign. It would be her first EP release, featuring her incredible cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which has gone on to be one of the most famous interpretations. ‘Crucify’ appears at the start of the album and at the end of the campaign, bookending the era with beautiful lyrical twists, wonderful musicianship and a confessional tone, the defining elements of Little Earthquakes.

Music video:

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