When I first heard material from Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes album, I was just starting out in college. While the material on the album was about two or three years old already by that point, there was just something about Tori’s music and vocal delivery that resonated with me at that point in my life.
Little Earthquakes primarily features Tori playing the piano, with some other instrumentation to help flesh out the sound. The only exception to this is the song “Me and a Gun,” which is Tori singing a cappella. This is a song about a woman who has been raped, and having this song done in a cappella adds a haunting sound to it that instruments just wouldn’t be able to achieve.
Admittedly, some of the imagery in the lyrics can be a little “out there” at times, but you can still understand what it is that Tori is trying to convey with the songs. In the song, “Crucify,” there’s a lot of religious imagery; examples include “raising up my hands, drive another nail in” and “a cat named Easter.” The song “Girl” is obviously about a young woman who has lived for other people’s expectations, instead of being who she wants to be. However, some of the imagery in the song doesn’t entirely make sense.
“Silent All These Years” is a favorite of mine on the album. Again, while some of the imagery doesn’t entirely make sense, I can understand the emotion and some of the thoughts of the lyrics and imagery. I can also feel it in the music of the song. “Precious Things” is one of the “harder” songs on the album, but it still fits in with the rest of the material.
“Winter” is another one of my personal favorites. I love the imagery with the white horses, especially how for most of the song, the white horses “are still in bed,” but right at the end of the song, the white horses “have gone ahead.” “Winter,” which is a song about change and growing up, probably has some of the easiest imagery to understand in it. “Happy Phantom” is one of the more “fun” and “upbeat” sounding songs on the album.
The remaining songs on Little Earthquakes are “China,” “Leather,” “Mother,” “Tear in Your Hand,” and “Little Earthquakes.” While these songs aren’t bad, they’ve never stood out as much to me as the other songs on the album. Little Earthquakes is definitely one of Tori Amos’ best albums, and it deserves to be recognized as an alternative music classic.