Single Review: Tori Amos “Spark”

Spark
Album: From the Choirgirl Hotel
Year: 1998

A miscarriage in 1996 led the questioning, sorrowful tone of lead single, “Spark.” In the single, Tori Amos is searching for the belief in herself which went missing after the miscarriage.

She’s tries to fill her void with nicotine and is scared to trust things which are meant to help her.(“she’s addicted to nicotine patches/she’s afraid of the light in the dark”). The fear hints at perhaps the doctor telling her everything is going fine and not to worry. She notes the time and asks her husband if he’s certain he has sign any the person she once was. (“6:58/are you sure where my spark is/here, here, here”).

Before her miscarriage, she felt she could work through anything and still be a strong person. However, she thinks of her womanhood as undeserved if she cannot do what her body is supposed to do. (“she’s convinced she could hold back a glacier/but she couldn’t keep baby alive/doubting if there’s a woman in there somewhere”).

In the chorus, she and her husband are mourning the baby’s death. Her husband has been dealing with it by telling her it wasn’t the right time and they weren’t ready yet. But she doesn’t believe her husband. She knew her husband wanted the baby as she much as she did, despite the heartache it’s causing the both of them. (“you say you don’t want it/this circus we’re in/but you don’t you don’t really mean it you don’t really mean it”).

She starts thinking, ‘maybe God didn’t think my baby was good enough for this world.’ Believing God betrayed her, she chooses to sympathize with Judas instead. She sees Judas as human and understands why the Judas deceived by God since she has been also. (“if the divine master plan is perfection/maybe next i’ll give judas a try/trusting my soul to the ice cream assassin”). According to Tori Amos, the ice cream assassin symbolizes God.

She did believe miracles could happen. She thought the baby could live and had a chance after being told by the doctor everything was fine. She and her husband thought she was a wonderful woman for being able to carry life. (“how many fates turn around in the overtime/ballerinas that have fins that you’ll never find/you thought that you were the bomb yeah well so did I”).

Amos doesn’t find the part of herself she’s looking for. She won’t ever find it. The part of herself died with the baby. She is not only grieving for a child she will never get a chance to know or see but for herself. The death of herself was unexpected and shocking as the miscarriage. It’s the part she has relied on throughout her life and which is why she’s desperately needing it now.

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