I want so much to like Tori Amos. As a writer, I feel like I should--after all, she has an unusual viewpoint and (generally speaking, at least) meaningful lyrics. But I've never gotten used to her voice (or her strange way of pronouncing certain words, or her willful oddity). There are, however, two songs of hers that I kind of love: "Sleeps with Butterflies" and "Sweet the Sting," both from her album The Beekeeper. Today, I'd like to discuss "Sweet the Sting."
The thing that really grabs me at first is the funky soul. It seems like such a departure from Amos' normal sound that you can't help but stop and listen. What keeps me interested is the lyrics: the man and woman in Amos' story are made identical by asking each other the same questions. Such a level playing field is refreshing; there's no girl power or masculine puffery here--it's all about the coupling, the joining together of equals.
The part of the song I like best, though, is definitely the bridge, in which Amos's voice soars, just this side of breathy but still very strong and, quite frankly, magical; when she asks, "Love, let me breathe, / Breathe you in," it's bewitching, and your defenses crumble. Now THAT'S a good song.
Beyond her music, Amos has done something really spectacular: she was one of the founding members of RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, which provides services to victims of sexual assault and abuse as well as education to communities across the nation. Visit their website here.
On a side note, one of RAINN's most vocal supporters in recent months has been Mick Foley, who apparently is a huge fan of Tori Amos. And I'm a huge fan of Mick Foley, not only for his professional diversity (pro wrestler AND legit author? Yes!) but also for his totally boss appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last November, in which he pledged to protect a 10-year old who stood up for gay rights at his school and was subsequently ridiculed.
So, logically, I should love Tori Amos simply through osmosis. Maybe the day will come. Who knows? In the meantime, I really do recommend "Sweet the Sting."
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Image by krissikes via Wikipedia.