Tori Amos (Hachette Australia) 2020, 261pp, Hardback $35.00/eBook $14.99
Singer, songwriter, bestselling author, and social commentator Amos’ follow-up to Tori Amos: Piece By Piece demonstrates that she’s still a formidable force at 56 and after 15 studio albums and a lifetime of, yes it’s true, resistance. An agreeably fractured collection of autobiographical reminisces, descriptions of the genesis of her best-known tracks, arty ruminations and addresses to the ‘Muses’, and cutting political tirades, it serves as a good introduction to Amos’ work and her distinctive – and at times confronting – style.
Beginning with details about her teen years as a pianist in a Washington bar back in the late ‘70s, this goes straight for the jugular as she discusses the election of the Republican Ronald Reagan but also softens when she remembers her religious Dad Edison McKinley Amos. We occasionally stop for lyrics to some of her best-known songs and later veer into how she and her band reeled, shocked and stunned, like the rest of the world in the days after September 11 2001, and how she grappled with the notion of either abandoning a tour or drawing direct reference to her psychological trauma on the stage.
Details of the creation of two of her most celebrated ditties, Silent All These Years and Cornflake Girl (surely her biggest hit outside the US), are enlightening, and she also surprisingly lets her guard down somewhat by sweetly discussing her beloved husband and daughter, something that the angrier Tori might have been loath to do back in the ‘90s.
Indeed, as the lyrics to Cornflake Girl state, “This is not really, this, a-this, this is not really happeneh-hing…”
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