Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Earthquakes to Volcanoes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Earthquakes to Volcanoes

Article excerpt

Ever since her eye-opening 1991 debut, "Little Earthquakes," Tori Amos has stood out as a maverick in a pop music world that is all too prone to lapse into simple, proven formulas.

By playing music largely in a solo piano setting, by exploring melodies and arrangements that don't live by the standard 4/4 time signatures or verse-chorus structures, and by writing words that can be cryptic yet probe deep within her soul, Amos has established herself as a truly original artist.

So it's no surprise that Amos says if listeners want to understand her new CD, "Boys For Pele," they may need to abandon the conventional ways in which they approach listening to a record.

"It's a metaphorical work, so if you use your head, you're kind of in trouble," Amos said. "You have to really go from your senses. It's what things represent more than what a word means. It's association. And if you go through that way, then you're responding from your instincts and tastes and smells, that whole kind of response, instead of analytically. It's a heart record. If you use your brain, you won't get it."

To many fans, "Boy For Pele" will stand as Amos' most challenging work yet. "Little Earthquakes," while original by any normal standard, now stands as Amos' most straightforward work. It had plenty of direct lyrics -- particularly on "Me And A Gun," Amos' chilling first-person tale of rape, and "Silent All These Years," her story of re pressed identity and expression -- and its songs were musically accessible and radio friendly.

But by the time of her second solo outing, the 1994 CD, "Under The Pink," Amos' lyrics had grown more impressionistic and her music more adventurous.

Now on "Boys For Pele," Amos has pushed herself to further extremes, with her most diverse range of musical textures yet and lyrics that are more cryptic than ever. The CD does have a general theme -- it describes a woman's struggle to stop living through the energy of outside forces, be it lovers, friends or work, and instead generate her own sense of self and purpose from within. …

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