Tori Amos

The early ’90s brought a wealth of change to pop music, and while the spoils of the dynamic shifts may have gone to the flannel-clad misanthropes of Seattle, the longevity and distinction of Tori Amos’ influence is a story almost as unique as her lyrics. Much of the criticism directed at Amos has concerned the very topic of her lyrics and the fantastical whimsy unabashedly embraced by the singer/songwriter since her solo debut, 1992′s Little Earthquakes. And though it’s fair to say the ’00s were not especially compelling in terms of Amos’ creative output, the whole of her career has offered much more in the way of what can be accomplished when an artist or musician is able to distance themselves from distraction. Eccentricity is a tricky thing, especially when placed in the context of a culture that prides itself on that very attribute. When everything is quirky, nothing is.

But for Tori Amos, the imaginative landscapes and abstractions have continually been the vehicle for something absolutely grounded in reality. While many busied themselves with genuine worry over who would replace Kurt Cobain atop the grunge throne in 1994, Amos released her second album, which in retrospect is one of the most outstanding sophomore releases by any artist of the era, especially considering that it came just two years after her masterpiece debut. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Amos’ music is that her compositions always seem to find their way outside categorization, largely without losing accessibility. It’s not so much that Amos was and is an enigmatic presence in pop music. It’s that she has almost always retained and evolved that quality.

From the first few notes of her debut, Amos has readily betrayed a bold sense of compositional style and perspective, with her most successful songs and albums dealing a steady but no less forceful blow to what might otherwise be considered an exercise in needless abstraction. Even with the missteps, the years since have proved no less fruitful for the singer/songwriter’s ambitions, with the same deceptively fragile voice and music quickly spiraling into an utterly commanding sense of melodic presence. For Amos, that sense of the song as story and the potency it provides when coiled around an equally narrative orchestration is precisely what will continue to place her music in a remarkably profound place for listeners old and new. Now 22 years removed from Little Earthquakes and on the cusp of her 14th full-length release, Unrepentant Geraldines, Amos’ full impact on popular music resembles the expansive nature of her compositions — gorgeously intricate and unapologetically daring.

10. “Professional Widow” (from Boys For Pele, 1996)

With a harpsichord underscore and the song’s almost industrial (yes, industrial) atmospherics, “Professional Widow” is an anomalous song even by Amos’ standards. The song still holds to the characteristically ethereal tone of her other work, but “Professional Widow” also bears a distinctive dirge-like musical pace in methodical contrast to a vocal delivery that shows Amos as improvisational as she’s ever been. Yes, there was a dance remix that reached No. 1 on the UK charts, and it is catchy as hell, but it loses the original version’s subtlety of movement. Coming three albums into her solo career, Boys For Pele brought a more serrated edge to Amos’ already razor-sharp compositional prowess, and “Professional Widow” serves as the album’s most seething example of the singer/songwriter being just as willing to bite as she is to bark. Amos may have written the song for a particular person — a topic of speculation upon its initial release — but the words and music here are applicable to any person who’s endured betrayal. While Amos never names her subject, the song is firmly brought to eye level, offering a vivid picture of those inevitabilities that so often come with fame, something Amos was no doubt fully realizing by the time of this release. While still unmistakable as a Tori Amos song, “Professional Widow” is a reflection on the present rather than retrospection. Interestingly, the rarity of that perspective is served with less of a gripping narrative and more of a searing invective that’s as catchy as it is rancorous.

9. “Job’s Coffin” (from Night Of Hunters, 2011)

From an album that saw Amos come full circle and fully embrace the darkly fanciful lyrics and lush orchestrations that had, at her very beginnings, given the singer/songwriter all the ammunition she would need, “Job’s Coffin” is a distinctively moving new pathway for Amos, who employed the outstandingly impressive vocalizations of her daughter, Natashya Hawley, for the song. Melodically straightforward, the song pairs the subtle use of woodwinds against Amos’ trademark hiccuped piano playing, with Hawley taking the lion’s share of vocal duties and Amos contributing those lines that ground the abstract imagery of Hawley’s biblical Job into the context of those self-destructive tendencies she sees too often being embraced by women. Where another song might quickly veer into preachy territory, “Job’s Coffin” is Amos fully capitalizing on her greatest strength of posing those questions both to herself, as the song’s creator, and the listener, whose experiences will obviously be wholly unique to their own context of experience. Buried deep in the fantastic Night Of Hunters, “Job’s Coffin” is a deceptively unassuming song — a characteristic that, with repeated listens, reveals the layered perspective that has continually shown itself to be the heart and soul of Amos’ most effective work.

8. “Precious Things” (from Little Earthquakes, 1992)

From her breakthrough solo debut Little Earthquakes, “Precious Things” perfectly captures Amos’ trademark characteristic of balancing contrasts both musically and lyrically. Beginning with an echoing treble-clef series of chords played with a kind of loose fragility, Amos quickly pairs the deliberate melodic hesitation with a commanding chord in the bass clef, establishing a kind of ominous but constant foundation that remains throughout the song’s nearly four-and-a-half minutes. The pendulum of lyrical themes sway in the same rhythmic balance, cutting open those wounds old and new for Amos’ narrator, giving equal measure to the memories of a woman and the experiences of a young girl. Amos’ voice crashes through the chorus along with intermittent percussion working to push the machinery of the song to the very threshold of collapse before abruptly dropping back into the second hushed verse. Amos has a way of evoking an absolute seething rage without ever lifting her voice above even so much as a shout. That subdued delivery is a powerful vocal weapon here because it places value in suggestion over distinction, with Amos suggesting that the most precious of things, for all their presumed fragility, oftentimes end up being the catalyst for our greatest strengths.

7. “Silent All These Years” (from Little Earthquakes, 1992)

The third track on Amos’ solo debut fully displays the singer’s orchestral sense of songwriting, opening the song with a few seconds of a minor-key broken chord that suddenly shifts into one of her most memorable and profound melodies. The song’s lyrics are some of her most straightforward and, at least for this record, most hopeful. Following both the outstanding but incredibly visceral and dark tracks “Crucify” and “Girl,” where the lyrics maintain a mostly abstract if not vague sense of narrator, “Silent All These Years” feels personal without resorting to sentimentality. Perhaps most remarkable is the bridge, an immediate swell of beautiful orchestration courtesy of Nick Caro, which moves in unison with the speaker’s unanswered question of what lies ahead with the possibility of having a voice when all she’s known so far is the complicit silence and quiet strength. Amos is a master of imagery, yes, but where the landing might prove shaky or sometimes even nonexistent for other songs, on “Silent All These Years” the reference point and reality is strikingly and powerfully clear, with the song capturing all manner of apprehension toward the unknown future, and hope for the voice it will provide.

6. “Jackie’s Strength” (from From The Choirgirl Hotel, 1998)

A song whose lyrics center on the late Jackie Kennedy-Onassis might prove a groan-inducing exercise in topical posturing for most other artists, yet Amos does her subject justice on this track that, though six years removed from Amos’ debut, still carries the weight of that nameless narrator shifting through various stages and perceptions of her/his own identity. Melodically, it is one of Amos’ most gorgeous pieces, with a muted yet lush refrain that fully capitalizes on the push/pull dynamic of harmony and dissonance, major and minor. Amos executes this conflicting sound alongside a lyrical thread that runs parallel to the image, if not necessarily the person, of Jackie Kennedy. The line “So I turn myself inside out/ in hope someone will see” immediately follows the pointed yet almost flippant “You’re only popular with anorexia” — a pairing that gives the song thematic clout rather than a topical glossing-over of a seriously devastating and very real disorder. Amos can oftentimes be too ham-fisted in her lyrics, preaching a message that gets lost in the method of its delivery without landing gear. “Jackie’s Strength” is successful because the narrator of the song offers more in the way of questions than summative answers to what’s obviously a very personal glimpse into heartache and doubt. Here Amos displays an empowering sense of vulnerability — while she’s still fiercely independent, she now takes a kind of cautious comfort in being unable to provide an answer to the question of who she is in that moment or what she may become with her next step.

5. “A Sorta Fairytale” (from Scarlet’s Walk, 2002)

A fairly straightforward pop song, “A Sorta Fairytale” still showcases the full breadth of Amos’ diversity as a songwriter. Though the majority of the 2000s saw Amos struggling to find the balance between the abstract notions of her more ethereal work and the hook-laden songs at which she’d proven herself more than adept at writing, “A Sorta Fairytale” strikes a perfect balance between lyrical depth and a radio-ready refrain. In the 10 years since her debut, Amos still shrouds her lyrics in a mystique that, for many critics, had worn thin, but “A Sorta Fairytale” encapsulates the essence of perspective change for the singer/songwriter or, at the very least, the narrators of her songs. The lyrics here find Amos again in a state of retrospection, glancing at the experiences of her past with the cruel futility of hindsight. It’s especially interesting to see Amos less in the state of accusation or embittered rejection and seemingly more comfortable in a kind of objective dissent. Amos’ voice softens just slightly enough to suggest a more contemplative but no less forceful songwriter, who’s now satisfied with seeing those fractures in her past both at their point of origin and where they’ve taken her (and where they will continue to take her).

4. “Pretty Good Year” (from Under The Pink, 1994)

In stark contrast to the damning and ominous weight of “Crucify,” the opening track from her debut two years prior, Amos’ Under The Pink begins with the almost completely subdued “Pretty Good Year” — a song whose strength lies solely in the delivery of its singer, rather than in the combination of a good melody paired with good lyrics. Amos hangs on these words, darting from a near-spoken reading of some diary to a conversation taking place either in her own head or, more likely, between herself and the listener. The song’s deliberately open-ended narration conjures a commonality between the passing of time (by now an a hard and fast theme for Amos) and the vast expanse that lies between what we remember, what we forget, and the little choice we often have in discerning between the two. Amos’ narrator is distracted in the song, given to brief descriptions of the seemingly menial behavioral nuances of the characters named in the song, then quickly pairing them with a personal perspective, allowing the music to swell alongside the conversational duality of her music.

3. “God” (from Under The Pink, 1994)

In a year where Ace Of Base dominated the Billboard charts alongside a Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting collaboration (read that again), and R. Kelly was offering the world a little bump ’n’ grind, Amos released Under The Pink, and with that release, one of the year’s most unequivocally powerful songs. While the indie world mourned the tragic death of (one of) its supplemental messiahs, Amos laid bare the patriarchal impasse of American culture with her signature melodic and lyrical gauntlet. Obvious metaphors aside, “God” is strikingly focused, given the sometimes lyrically winding nature of Amos’ other work, with the repeated phrase “God sometimes you just don’t come through” falling into a near prayerful lockstep with the mid-tempo pace of the music. The subject of Amos’ “God” is her narrator’s perspective on men and their role in society, yes, but it’s also a gripping portrayal of just how powerful religious imagery can be when employed in the context of gender issues. The empowerment in the line “Do you need a woman to look after you?” is so incredibly effective because Amos’ lyrical medium is inherently patriarchal, oppressive, and utterly American. For all her popularity in the UK, much of Amos’ earlier work honed in on challenging the core ideologies not only of her own personal experiences with religion but the larger implications of those beliefs and their often entrenched misogynistic notions within her native America. With “God,” Amos momentarily steps away from offering questions, instead providing a singular answer to what is valued by religion and, by extension, the culture it inhabits.

2. “Winter” (from Little Earthquakes, 1992)

Just shy of six minutes, “Winter” is widely considered Amos’ masterpiece, and for good reason. Again from her near-perfect debut, the song immediately evokes a sense of longing from the lightly played chord sequence at the beginning, quickly but subtly joined by Amos’ lilting voice. Especially noteworthy is the song’s placement in Amos’ career, as it bears all the weight of a song one might expect from a songwriter looking back at a life’s worth of experience, yet its imagery and all-too-real lyrics come by way of someone not yet even 30. The song is yet another confirmation that Amos has always seemed to exist in a state of adulthood, despite her lyrics often deceptively and deliberately suggesting a fantastical childishness. Though the majority of Amos’ work reflects a narrative personal and grounded in her relationship experiences, no song captures the absolute realism of that connectivity as masterfully haunting as does “Winter.” Suggestions that Amos wrote the song in direct reference to her relationship with her own father, a minister, are not without merit, but the song’s value is derived from a much broader place of change and transition — a commonality shared with both the experiences of the woman who wrote the song and the millions of listeners who’ve now heard it and felt a kind of striking familiarity in its theme. “Winter” is musical storytelling at its best, subdued in the manner of the song’s orchestration and lyrics but firmly rooted in the tandem heartache and hope that comes with change.

1. “Cornflake Girl” (from Under The Pink, 1994)

Amos has indicated that “Cornflake Girl” took direct inspiration from Alice Walker’s gut-wrenching Possessing The Secret Of Joy — a novel whose narrative revolves around the horrifically real practice of female genital mutilation. Never one to shy away from the topical, Amos succeeds again on what’s likely her most recognizable song by allowing the gravity of the music to carry the enormous weight of the topics discussed in the lyrics. It is the seminal Tori Amos rock song with the music pulsing in a kind of fevered turmoil that runs parallel to the singer/songwriter at her most commanding, both at the helm of her vocals and that of the keys. Thematically, the lyrics are an extended metaphor that’s deliberately vague in its references to sexual oppression, female adolescence, and the perils invariably tied to denying the cruel realities that exist in both contexts. Amos employs some of her most forceful vocal work for the anthemic chorus, with her voice as quick to soar to a near-shout as it is to collapse into a hushed sneer. The song lyrically begs for a sort of reckoning, both for its speaker and for the listener with whom it connects. The satisfaction of closure never comes, though, and it’s precisely the thing that provides the song’s most unforgiving punch. Adding yet another formidable component to an already evocative song is the guest vocals appearance of Merry Clayton, the revered soul/gospel singer whose same unquestionable vocal authority on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is brought front and center to the climactic surge here. Clayton’s contribution to the song is downright chilling, especially intertwined with that of Amos, who counters the harrowing depth of Clayton’s “Man with the golden gun” refrain with her own signature airy cadence. The genius behind “Cornflake Girl” is the same familiar sense of balance that Amos has seemingly had on lock from the very beginning, with music and lyrics doing battle for the listener’s attention by delivering a troubling glimpse of humanity’s utter cruelty and malice against the backdrop of an outstanding and radio-ready rock ’n’ roll song.

Comments (81)
  1. I’m not the world’s biggest Tori Amos fan but I think I’d have found room for “Playboy Mommy” and “Me and a Gun”.

  2. I’d have a list where ‘Space Dog’ was somewhere on it.

  3. I would have had Crucify in there, maybe at number one.

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  5. Spark should be on that list. Job’s Coffin should not.

  6. Songs wich are missing in this list:

    Hey Jupiter
    Me and a gun
    Liquid Diamonds
    Baker Baker

  7. Personal fav is Gold dust :)

  8. I am a Tori addict.
    For me : Trough the looking glass ( Ruby)
    Cool on your island
    Douhgnut song
    and so many ,many more <3

  9. Job’s Coffin? Really? If you were going to pick a song from Night Of Hunters, it should have either been the stupendous “Star Whisperer” or the sweeping, urgent “Fearlessness”. Those two songs are worthy of anything at the top of her cannon. Job’s Coffin is a nice, cute song, but hardly anything to write home about.

  10. China
    Me and a Gun

    • This sounds bitchy. Sorry. I should have said, “This is a nice list, thank you for taking the time to put it together, and for the thoughtful commentary. Here are a few I may have included.”

  11. For any hardcore Tori Amos fans, how do you rank the albums (worst to best)?

  12. Nah, the only one I’d leave in my top10 is Winter. The others are good but there are better ones. Doughnut song, Horses, Tear in my hand, Wednesday, Carbon, Gold Dust, Bliss, Lust, a 1000 oceans, Spark…

  13. Cooling has always been my favorite

    Sleeps with Butterflies

    Siren (from the Soundtrack of Great Expectations)

    Oddly, these favorites became favorites during a time were internet was not that available here… so it was just cassette tapes, the radio and movie soundtracks.

    Tori Amos harkens to a kind of otherworldy, fierce power that Laura Nyro had. I enjoyed Tori Amos’ songwriting more though Laura Nyro’s poetry seemed more raw—more New York.

  14. Oil Spill?

  15. My Tori top 10?

    Yes, Anastasia
    Space Dog
    Mohammed My Friend
    Way Down
    Liquid Diamonds
    Caught a Lite Sneeze
    A Sorta Fairytale
    Hey Jupiter

  16. I get that Tori is an acquired taste and she has one horrible song for every 200 good ones but nobody can argue that she isn’t he fiercest pianist in pop culture. All that praise goes to Elton John and Billy Joel for some strange reason when they don’t have 1/16th the chops that she has..probably because they’re men. But Tori, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright and Harry Connick Jr are continually way too underrated as pianists go.

  17. I would definetly go with Spacedog or Yes, Anastasia or even Cloud over God for Pink. For Pele, including Widow and not Talula or Sneeze is a straight up crime. Earthquakes,-I know everyone goes for Precious Things, but I prefer Tear in Your Hand or Leather over it, though Silent should be on this list, and probably Crucify too. From Scarlet- I like Fairytale, but I also think Mrs. Jesus just is an incredibly perfect pop song and the lyrics are so clever. I also adore the more organ based songs on that album , like I would have probably picked Strange. Also- Liquid Diamonds is an absolute must for me, and I prefer Cruel as well to Jackie’s Strength or even 1000 Oceans & Spark.

  18. Is Cornflake Girl really her best track? You bet your life it is!

  19. The omission of ‘Silent All These Years’ invalidates this list.

  20. Beauty Queen + Horses YO

    • Didn’t think too hard, but here’s my top 10. And 5 extras. I’m a diehard who sort of stopped after Scarlet’s Walk. Might try Night of Hunters or the new one, but Tori exists in a certain time and place for me. Under the Pink and Boys for Pele are essential, and they exist together, just like Bjork’s Homogenic and Vespertine.

      Winter, Little Earthquakes
      Precious Things, Little Earthquakes
      Cornflake Girl, Under the Pink
      Yes, Anastasia, Under the Pink
      Bells for Her, Under the Pink
      Blood Roses, Boys for Pele
      Muhammad My Friend, Boys for Pele
      Black-Dove (January), From the Choirgirl Hotel
      Liquid Diamonds, From the Choirgirl Hotel
      Lust, To Venus and Back

      Beauty Queen/Horses, Boys for Pele
      Hey Jupiter, Boys for Pele
      Twinkle, Boys for Pele
      Time, Strange Little Girls
      Your Cloud, Scarlet’s Walk

  21. Who the fuck wrote this? There are 10 better than what was posted. “Blood Roses” “Father Lucifer” Where the fuck are “Spark” or “Raspberry Swirl”? “Suede” “Bouncing Off Clouds”???

  22. Have you ever listened to ‘From A Choirgirl Hotel’? Apparently not. Never heard of ‘To Venus And Back”, I guess not. Only her two best albums, in my opinion. This is the most ridiculous list I have ever seen.

  23. This is a really accessible list the general public might be able to wrap their heads around, but to Tori fans, the best songs you need to sit down and have a coffee with, peel back the layers and get to know, For years I used to skip over the song Baker, Baker, until one day it hit me at the right moment and brought me to tears. And some songs need to be experienced live, because she presents them at totally different angles, and nothing is better than a live Tori concert… If I ever really need to explain Tori to someone, I show them the three song sound check dvd from Tales of a Librarian with Pretty Good Year, Honey, Northern Lad, and show the Sugar performance from Welcome To Sunny Florida.

  24. Where is “Crucify” on this list? It’s such a huge classic!!!

  25. No one will ever agree with a “top 10″ list based on an artist like Tori Amos… The other comments indicate that quite effectively. I would suggest that “Me and a Gun” “Putting the Damage On” ” Yes, Anastasia” and “Toast” should all be on a top 10 list, but those are my choices for my own reason. What bothers me about this list and the the pedantic descriptions of the songs themselves is the author makes a terrific effort to seem knowledgeable about music but fails to use even the most basic correct terminology when trying to describe the works. I would expect this sort of description from a C grade student taking a Jazz to Rock class for the first time and trying (unsuccessfully) to impress the teacher by throwing around descriptive words, but I would expect better from a website that makes such an effort to write “smart” pieces about the current commercial music scene. Really quite disappointing Mr. Dick…

  26. Tori always felt like “Honey” should have made it onto Under The Pink, and I agree. It’s a favorite of mine and I would have included it on my top ten list.

  27. This is kind of a safe list, but it’s good for new Tori fans.
    It’s nearly impossible to pick only ten tracks, but here are ten that are some of my all-time favorites:
    - Liquid Diamonds
    - Marianne
    - Yes Anastasia
    - Cooling
    - Talula
    - Datura
    - In The Springtime of His Voodoo
    - Abnormally Attracted to Sin (wanted to include one from one of her more recent albums too)
    - Pandora’s Aquarium
    - Mother
    These are just ten, but I have a lot more favorites. Favorite album is obviously Boys for Pele. :P

  28. I Agree on most of the list…but c’mon, ‘Horses’ should be at #1

  29. Job’s Coffin??!! Really? what are you talking about..

  30. I know Cooling was never released on a studio album (only Bootlegs) but it should get some special recognition.

    Others I’d love to see
    Cool On Your Island
    BELLS FOR HER (come on!)
    Father Lucifer
    I Can’t See New York
    Purple People

    But they are all my favorites so it’s tough to pick my favorite “girls”.

  31. Terrible list.

    This one is correct:

    Purple People
    Playboy Mommy
    Putting the damage on
    Caught a lite sneeze
    Pandora’a Aquarium
    Spring Haze
    Cloud on my tongue

    By the way – I think Tori seriously jumped the shark after the Beekeeper. Nothing since that album has stuck with me at all…

    Little Earthquakes through to Choirgirl is all essential – then Venus through to Beekeeper is good. After that – meh…

    • i would say i completely agree on your ranking of the albums but actually i never listen to the later albums, i just couldn’t get into them but the first 6 or 7 are still strong albums that have stayed with me

  32. Do not tell me that Job’s Coffin is better than Spark, Bliss, Yes Anastasia, or Honey. Really now.

  33. The 10 songs in this list are all great songs. However, I feel the the shoice is somewhat populist and obvious. After all, nine of the ten songs were released as singles. As Tori Amos is an artist whose album tracks and B-sides are equally, of often *more*, loved than her singles the selection of the songs chosen seems very narrow. My alternative top ten would be as follows;

    Take to the Sky
    Doughnut Song
    Yes, Anastasia [Gold Dust version]
    Upside Down
    Blood Roses
    Space Dog

    If nothing else, this is a much more diverse selection and contains a number of die-hard Toriphile faves. Thanks for reading.


  35. 10 Tallulah
    9 Siren
    8 I Can’t See New York
    7 The Beekeeper
    6 Your Cloud
    5 Little Amsterdam
    4 Yes Anastasia
    3 Putting the Damage On
    2 Pretty Good Year
    1 Liquid Diamonds

    Honorable mention: Wild Way from the new album might make the list depending on live performances.

  36. I do not think I have ever seen a more crappy “best songs” list in my life. Whoever compiled this list surely can’t represent us actual Tori fans…. Dumbfounded.

  37. The Waitress, Talula, In the Springtime of His Voodoo, 1000 Oceans, Big wheel, Black-Dove , Blood Roses, Caught A Lite Sneeze, Horses, Cruel, Marianne, Muhammad My Friend, Spark, Concertina; Yes, Anastasia… It’s just too difficult to choose. She has a lot of great songs! <3

  38. I’m including B-Sides and a proper cover here:

    1. Flying Dutchman
    2. Here In My Head
    3.Doughnut Song
    4. Peeping Tommi
    5. Pretty Good Year
    6. Mrs. Jesus
    7. New Age
    8. Honey
    9. Putting the Damage On
    10. Garlands

  39. These lists are fun. Some artists you are allowed to pick all the hits, some you are not.

    That said, my favorites as basically only a Tori Amos on the radio kind of person:

    1. Cornflake Girl is an amazing, amazing song.

    2. The first 27 seconds of Talula (Tornado Mix)

    3. Raspberry Swirl

    4. God

    5. Caught a Lite Sneeze

  40. Yes, Anastasia. Hands down.

  41. To pick only 10 is certainly a challenge. My list would be:

    Baker, Baker
    Past The Mission
    Playboy Mommy
    Space Dog
    Precious Things
    Cornflake Girl

  42. The bridge of “Silent All These Years” is the best Tori Amos song on its own, let alone in combination with the rest of the tune.

  43. disagree!
    1- Father Lucifer
    2- Past the Mission
    3- Leather
    4- Winer
    5-Cornflake girl
    6- Silent all these years
    7- Leather
    8- Happy Phantom
    9- Raspberry Swirl
    10- A Sorta Fairytale

  44. Father Lucifer
    Gold Dust
    Silent All These Years
    Jackie’s Strength
    Playboy Mommy
    Pretty Good Years

  45. I was one of “those” Tori Amos fans around the time of Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink. She could do no wrong in my eyes. I bought every single in every format and just kind of thought she was the best thing since sliced bread. But most of Boys For Pele just didn’t hit me the same way and I was never able to muster the same passion for her new music afterwards. That being the case, its hard for me to create an objective list. Like, for me, there can’t be a ten best Tori Amos songs list without including ‘Sugar’. In fact, I’m kind of shocked its received so little mention. I still love Tori’s music (I mean, come on, she writes about Neil Gaiman and his creations) and I still check out everything she releases. But for me, even though I enjoy some of it quite a bit, nothing she’s released since has ever touched that magical period at the beginning of her career.

  46. Thank you for this list, as populist leaning as it is…

    I was compelled to go home last night and take out the good stuff, the 90s stuff. Most notable of everyone’s personal lists- they’re all mostly great songs! How can you even have a top 10 that everyone could agree on, let alone a top 20…? I saw Father Lucifer on someone’s list and said YES! How could I forget that gem?

    She’s an amazing artist. Even if I couldn’t get into Beekeeper and gave up, those early albums are amazing pieces of music. She moved my soul as a lost teenager, and I let it happen again last night. I’ve seen her over a dozen times in concert, and have mostly abandoned her.

    Please forgive me Tori. You meant the world to me, and after listening last night, you still do. I’ll never forget you again like I did!

    (Oh and Boys for Pele is her masterpiece. Closely followed by Under the Pink)

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