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It's hard to think of a solo female recording artist who has been as revered or as reviled over the course of her career as Tori Amos. Amy Gentry argues that these violent aesthetic responses to Amos's performance, both positive and negative, are organized around disgust-the disgust that women are taught to feel, not only for their own bodies, but for their taste in music. Released in 1996, Amos's third album, Boys for Pele, represents the height of Amos's willingness to explore the ugly qualities that make all of her music, even her more conventionally beautiful albums, so uncomfortably, and so wonderfully, strange. Using a blend of memoir, criticism, and aesthetic theory, Gentry argues that the aesthetics of disgust are useful for thinking in a broader way about women's experience of all art forms.
This is a book on Tori Amos's 1996 album Boys for Pele. Her third solo album, the one where she's suckling a pig and holding a shotgun on the cover. The one that enticed her to go off to the Amazon rainforest, take the hallucinogen ayahuasca with some shamans, and come back to us with the crucial information that the devil is really a woman in a white Chanel suit driving an ice cream truck: a bit of insight which ultimately gave root to the song "Father Lucifer." Boys for Pele is rich in mythology and texture. It is also her fans' favorite. (The fans have scientifically proven this on the internet. They love the polls.) On Boys for Pele, Amos bangs the hell out of a harpsichord and paints a sonic landscape that every woman knows but had honestly (I know this sounds weird now, but it was true then) barely heard spoken before. Is she really saying that? She gets the texture down of your most self-hating one-night-stands and obsessions-without being obvious, and by tying it in to much bigger-mythological-stories. These stories, these nooks and crannies of women's hearts, find a shape that makes them matter, makes them mythological, sexual (not just sexy), smart, angry, broken, vulnerable, complex, powerful in a way that is not some kind of cheesy go-girl catchphrase or shoulder-pad business suit. Before Boys for Pele, in the culture at large, going near any of this stuff as content seemed more like a trite Cosmo article on the dangers of cutting or of anorexia, a cheap warning against being too Sylvia Plath. (The album's biggest predecessor, somehow, is Joni Mitchell's Blue.) This is the landscape that Alanis and Fiona Apple try to get to, but Boys for Pele does it with adequate depth and drawing on such rich mythology that the album becomes a transformative work, a key to its listeners' inner worlds, in many cases. Amos has often mentioned Persephone's journey to the underworld in context of this album, and it does in fact take you down through the unconscious realms-and back up again-that are hard to get to otherwise.
A book of lyrics and music by Tori Amos.
From the concert stage to the dressing room, from the recording studio to the digital realm, SPIN surveys the modern musical landscape and the culture around it with authoritative reporting, provocative interviews, and a discerning critical ear. With dynamic photography, bold graphic design, and informed irreverence, the pages of SPIN pulsate with the energy of today's most innovative sounds. Whether covering what's new or what's next, SPIN is your monthly VIP pass to all that rocks.
I choose to fight my battles through my music . . . I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my strict Christian grandmother punished me, I realized, I’m not penetrating here. I’m just pissing people off. So I had to find another way to penetrate. I had to redefine what that word means. That word now is really about an opening, an entering into a separate space. And after the first phase of my life, I realized that it was okay to enter that space without having to be invaded . . . I like the idea of just being able to be inside. Not using penetration as a violent word. The idea of being able to find keys . . . music, using keys to get into a space that we couldn’t before . . . Now, backstage at an undisclosed arena where the sweat of athletes is still perfuming my makeshift dressing room, my many conversations with Ann Powers have begun . . . “You come from the journalist side. I come from the artist side. It can become offensive. I’m sure from your side as well as from mine.” “Well, it’s true everyone expects us to be enemies. And in some ways we are. My job is interpretation. Yours is art, which often benefits from mystery . . .” Ann and I decided to strip our roles back to basics. We are both women born feminists in the 1960s. We are both married. We are both mothers. We are both in the music industry. Traditionally we are enemies. But for this project to be effective, I had to allow Ann to expose Tori Amos. And Tori Amos’s inner circle. And me.”– from the Introduction BUY TORI AMOS’S LATEST RECORDING, THE BEEKEEPER, ON EPIC RECORDS An intimate, eye-opening look inside the life of one of the most unique and adored performers of contemporary rock musicFrom her critically acclaimed 1992 debut, Little Earthquakes, to the recent hit, Scarlet’s Walk, Tori Amos has been a formidable force in contemporary music, with one of the most dedicated fan bases in the industry. In Tori Amos: Piece by Piece, the singer herself takes readers beyond the mere facts, explaining the specifics of her creative process—how her songs go from ideas and melodies to recordings and passionately performed concert pieces. Written with acclaimed music journalist Ann Powers, Tori Amos: Piece by Piece is a firsthand account of the most intricate and intimate details of Amos’s life as both a private individual and a very public performing musician. In passionate and informative prose, Amos explains how her songs come to her and how she records and then performs them for audiences everywhere, all the while connecting with listeners across the world and maintaining her own family life (which includes raising a young daughter). But it is also much more, a verbal collage made by two strong female voices – and the voices of those closest to Amos—that calls upon genealogy, myth, and folklore to express Amos’s unique and fascinating personal history. In short, we see the pieces that make up – as Amos herself puts it—“the woman we call Tori.” With photos taken especially for this book by the photographer Loren Haynes, Tori Amos: Piece by Piece is a rare treat for both Tori listeners and newcomers alike, a look into the heart and mind of an extraordinary musician.
Part intimate profile, part detailed discography, this music compilation explores the life and work of Tori Amos, one of the most prolific alternative rock artists of the past few decades. Known for her piano-driven music and emotional, intense lyrics that delve into such topics as sexuality, religion, and personal tragedy, Amos has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide. The artistic process behind the creation of these albums is revealed through exclusive interviews with people who worked alongside her in the studioone of her producers, sound engineers, and backing band membersand included is an analysis of her choice to break away from the traditional rules of the recording industry and forge her own path and musical identity. From her days as a young piano prodigy and her first band to her many years as a solo artist and her extensive touring and recording, the in-depth research into the personal influence behind Amoss music complements the chronicle of her professional career.

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