1992. The year that changed everything.
The music from that year will forever be a part of my DNA, my memory recall, my life soundtrack.
Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos came out in 1992. It hit the record stores days before my daughter was born, but it was actually the CD Single/EP for “Crucify” that I got my hands (and ears) on first. I’d caught Tori’s cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on KROQ about two weeks after my daughter was born. I remember going with one of my best friends to Tower Records to get it, cracking it open in the car, and playing it on repeat together.
He and I would later see Tori play together many times (I’ve lost track of how many times, I think). We considered her one of our mutual musical loves.
It didn’t take long for me to grab a copy of Little Earthquakes. I played it over and over, finding myself in so many of the songs. Tori’s sung-stories resonated deeply with me – the struggles, the pain, and the pleasures within them. As an ex-parochial school girl, a survivor of childhood abuse, and a rape that had happened two years prior; something I was struggling with. Half the time trying to get over it, the other half of the time trying to deny it ever happened.
Tori sang like a grown-up girl who was questioning religion, and who was full of confusion and silences that she was singing her way out of. I felt like the album was written just for me. I clung to it, sang-a-long to it, memorized it and found strength in it – strength enough to leave a bad relationship and take a hold of my life as a single mother, and as a twenty-something woman who was going to stay silent no longer.
Tori and I would go on to do many things together. Her music would continue to be part of the soundtrack of my life. I sang-a-long to her songs while I tried to give it a go with my daughter’s father more than a few times. Her music held my hand through our eventual divorce and stayed there steadfast when I fell in love again. Two of her albums would come with me cross-country as I followed my heart and a man who I’d end up marrying, and have two children with – my other daughter, and son.
Tori would accompany me through long, sleepless nights while I dealt with his illness and his addictions, and eventual suicide. Her music would grieve with me through a miscarriage, through mistakes, and through moves from state-to-state. She was there singing while I battled my insecurities, my broken self-esteem, to continue to survive.
Tori and I would always survive.
Tori was there filling up the good spaces, too, as well as the mundane. The trips to the grocery store, the late-night talks with good friends, and through those days that bled into nights when I couldn’t stop writing.
It all started with an EP full of covers.
Tori Amos and her musical magic in my life
The magic of her music is still with me. I think it always will be.
Right now, in these quarantine times, I need her music a whole lot. Some days are harder, some are easier. Music helps. Tori helps. Maybe her music helps you, too.
Here is a playlist of my favorite Tori Amos songs to help us through. Stay home and stay safe – and hopefully, sooner rather than later, we can turn this Playlist up while meeting up with friends, or driving towards a new adventure.
What are your favorites?
Silent All These Years: My Favorite Tori Amos
“Hey Jupiter” (The Dakota Version)
“Silent All These Years”
“Pretty Good Year”
“Putting The Damage On”
“Caught a Light Sneeze”
“A Sorta Fairytale”
“Bells For Her”
“Frog On My Toe”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”