In 1992 I was fifteen. I can barely remember what that was like but I am pretty sure I had the world figured out and knew everything that needed to be known. Of course I had to wait another fifteen years for that really to be true 🙂
From a really early age I had always been ridiculously into music starting off with songs from The Jungle Book and Mary Poppins, then graduating to Chris de Burgh (We’re talking about pre Lady in Red days here folks) and then the ultimate… The Beatles. I would also dabble in and out of the charts buying the odd single or album from whoever the kids were swinging their bits to at the time. But back to 1995, I had a part time job in a shop and for the first time in my life had some cash. I saved up and bought my first CD player, the cheapest one in the whole town. At the time the thing most important to me was if you could record CDs on to tapes as there were very few CDs available and I listened to my walkman all the time. So I bought it in a whirl of excitement and then the next step of course was to purchase some CDs. I bought two the same day (a lot of money for me at the time). They were Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes and Van Morrison’s Moondance. The former because I loved Crucify which was getting a lot of airplay in Ireland, and the later because I always had a thing for the title track. I spent hours and hours in my bedroom listening to Little Earthquakes and pouring over the lyrics in the book. If I could draw I would have been able to reproduce every picture in it by memory from that of Tori in a box to the phallic yoke on the back. This was an album about growing up and change and there was I a fifteen year old fully aware that my path was going to take me down the road less travelled.
That was only the beginning. Tori has continued releasing albums every year or two up until this year’s ninth one American Doll Posse. Her music has basically been the soundtrack to my life. Right there in the background of leaving school, going to university, being away from home for the first time, first girlfriend, first boyfriend, all the highs and lows, deciding to live in The Netherlands and all the difficulties and fun that brought. Tori’s been my constant. Unlike The Beatles, who I also adore, I have had the privilege of that huge excitement on the release day of a new CD of hers. And I have been to a record shop on the very day of release of all the subsequent eight since that day I bought Little Earthquakes. Her latest was far from a disappointment to me. It has everything I love about Tori in it actually. In fact I find it to be the most ‘Tori’ album of all of them. It’s quirky, melodic, surprising, touching, unconventional and challenging. The day I’d listen comfortably to a Tori album would be a disappointing one indeed. I love how some tracks grab you straight off, some you think ‘nah, don’t think so’ and others ‘hhmmmm has potential’. With each listen the songs swap categories and create new ones of their own. Big Wheel is about as fun a Tori song as I know and I can hardly get enough of it. Likewise Bouncing off Clouds is pop genius. As for melodies Father’s Son, Mr. Bad Man and Programmable Soda are among her finest. But get back to me later as the songs bobbing about the end of the CD are sure to raise objections in time to come (especially the final two). I began writing this to talk about seeing her in concert in Amsterdam last month but I leave that for another time because my enthusiasm has fired me up and I’m off to listen to American Doll Posse again.