Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes: #776 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes

Why is Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

It’s gorgeous and piercing and moving all at once.

What does Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

There’s a moment while I’m listening to “Crucify,” the first track on Little Earthquakes. It’s a moment when I’m already in but all of the sudden I’m all in.

Up until that moment, “Crucify” is a beautiful song and Tori Amos’ voice is emotional, vulnerable, and yet fiery and strong at the same time. The lyrics are filled with strong symbols, evoking religion and sex and desire and pain and betrayal.

Bowling ball in my stomach, desert in my mouth. Dirty streets and dirty sheets. Drive another nail in. It’s heavy.

But then there’s that moment. It’s in the chorus. Amos’ voice extends the word chains in the line, “I said my heart is sick of being in chains.” And it’s gorgeous and piercing and moving all at once. It gives you chills.

Which is to say, “Crucify” is good. Really good.

“Happy Phantom” allows Amos to again show off her vocal skills, but this time with largely just piano backing her and relatively spare production. There’s a near Broadway musical quality to this song, but it’s a lot better than your average Broadway tune in my humble opinion.

I really dig “Leather” for many of the same reasons, with its subtle, staccato strings that help drive the song’s narrative. In puzzling over the lyrics in a way that proved to myself how interested I am in the song (as someone who cares enough to embark on a ridiculously arduous undertaking as a 1,000 best albums ever project and who has written a million words or two in my day, it might surprise you that song lyrics are decently far down the list of things I pay attention to when it comes to music), I found this Rolling Stone piece, which has great quotes such as this one:

“Coming out of beating myself up about the choices I had made, I just rolled up my sleeves and grasped at all of the poetry that had ever meant anything to me,” Amos says. 

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes

It was my old friend Lou who compelled me to pay attention to Tori Amos back in the day. This, from a guy who worships at the altar of Alice in Chains and AC/DC and, as aside, was nicknamed GWAR on our college rugby team. And, as with so many things, he was completely correct to do so.

Completely different topic: on the day that I wrote this entry, a random conversation on my work Slack provoked a colleague to suggest that “Ghost Drop Zone would make a great emo band name.” Without having any direct connection to the song “Happy Phantom” at that moment, I responded with, “Debut single: Sad Phantom.” So there you go.

Some stats & info about Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Indie Rock, Pop Music, Alternative Pop, Singer Songwriter
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Little Earthquakes released? 1992
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #776 out of 1,000

Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.