Single Review: Tori Amos “1000 Oceans”

1000 Oceans
Year: 1999
Album: To Venus and Back

Tori Amos’ hardcore fans, or Ears With Feet as they are called, inhabit a space on the Internet called thedent.com . Next to Micheal Jackson’s mug shot posted on the smokinggun.com, it’s one of the scariest places people will ever visit. So-called devoted fans will rage against Amos’ use of an apparent spliced live song, her new sound, and the shade of her hair. Any disagreement that Amos is not really speaking to them through her music will make the everyday fan public enemy number one.

Hardcore Amos fans did not take ‘To Venus and Back’ well. “1000 Oceans,” the closest single to her first album in nearly six years, was slammed for being literal. The Ears With Feet have lost their hearing. “1000 Oceans” is as excellent as her earlier work.

My interpretation of the lyrics are Amos is trying to be strong for significant other, but is having a difficult time dealing herself. Like most of her songs, the beauty is in the piano playing. She can effectively use as little instruments as possible and have rich sound. Amos’ voice does take some getting used to, though. It can be scratchy or slurred, making some lyrics indecipherable. While she falls into those vocal habits here, it’s mostly to convey the disappointment and wanting to make things right.

It’s a relief to hear a Tori Amos song and appreciate it on the first listen. Unusually straightforward, she only inserts a few surreal lyrics (“Will you still remember/playing at trains/or does this little blue ball just fade away.”) She seems to have learned brevity is a virtue. She is still able to get her pain across without hiding behind metaphor after metaphor. While this may be crushing for the diehard fans who want to analyze every word, it means accessibility for the casual fan.

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