breaking up with tori amos


I have tried. I really have. But I cannot stand Tori Amos. Actually, it’s not her, but that music of hers just isn’t my first, second, or very last pick. I am now deleting her tragic soupy songs from myPod. All these years I’ve tried, now and again. And we’re through. I’m breaking up with her for no other reason than I’ve grown up and have decided to like what I like and not what other people think I should like.

I’ve been keeping certain artists on myPod because somewhere deep down I always wanted to be ready to connect with someone, for them to like me more, if we had this one random musician or band in common. As if by dialing his way through my mp3s he’d somehow be moved to say, "I wasn’t sure about her, but yeah, she listens to the Beastie Boys. She’s all right." I do not like the Beastie Boys, but they, too, have remained on myPod because I thought, once upon a work life ago, that including them in my queue would endear me to my male co-workers. I also thought I was cool because I had a full bar at home stocked with brown spirits. I’ve deleted all but Fight For Your Right To Party and Ch-Check It Out–mostly because I can somehow see Lucas jumping on a bed singing it until it hurts to sing it anymore.

The explicit version of Wanksta by 50 Cent somehow ended up on here. I believe it elbowed its way in due to a 28th birthday party for one of the girls, where myPod would be hooked up to the Soho House sound system. Other artists are for Phil, despite the fact that they annoy the Tabla Beat Science out of me. I’m saying goodbye to a past lived in songs that weren’t played, but were instead used to play the game.



  1. I had an interesting experience with this – about a year ago I sat down and brainstormed my 20 most favorite songs ever. Put them into my play list. Listened to them over and over until I had a startling realization. They are the same song. Over and over. Same soothing chord transitions, same harmonic dissonance and resolution. It is a series of pleasing chords and it transcends generations of music from Gregorian Chant to gospel, from country western to Pink Floyd. And my daughters bring it up now in the music they listen to.


  2. Oooh, I do the same thing, but mostly for different boyfriends. I kept Blood, Sweat & Tears on for my ex-fiance, and I think that it's time I let go :)

  3. Good for you. Yes, getting to that age where you don't care if people love your musical selections or not is a key milepost.

    I, too, tried to like Tori Amos once upon a download. But I can now admit it freely: she sounds like a squirrel being waterboarded.

    The reverse also holds. I once had James Taylor's "Up on the Roof" on my iPod. A wished-for girl saw it, and made a crack about gay guys and JT. You know that guilty pleasure was deleted in a cocaine heartbeat. Now, years later, that sappy pop musterpiece is back in rotation. So is the girl.

  4. Give a listen to Michael Buble's remake of Feeling Good. It's a good one for you to listen to now.

  5. All Beastie Boys? I have to say "She's Crafty" is one of my favorites when I need a pick me up. I should probably be ashamed, but I used to croon "Drop it like it's Hot" to my younger daughter as a newborn while we bounced around the room in a bid to get her to sleep. In the early 90s I introduced a boyfriend of mine to Shawn Colvin. We parted and a couple of years later I saw a newspaper column he'd written all about how he just "discoverd" Shawn Colvin. What an asshole. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised. He slept with me and another girl within a few hours of each other right before heading up his university's initiative against men treating women as objects.

  6. I agree. There's always a good time to throw out all those in-between songs we seem to collect. However my ipod hates me and just deletes things of its own accord so I dont really get a say in the matter.

  7. Unlike other parts of me, I have never bothered about other people's opinions about my music. I play Kate Nash every morning while I try to jumpstart my life with four little kids who, incidentally, can't stomach her and tell me to turn her off. Don't care. She makes me happy. So does Eminem. My mother would turn over in her grave if she heard his lyrics. Love my mom but, again, don't care. My music is for me.

  8. Good for you! I have long ago given up trying to impress people with my music, since I have never known what was the right band to answer when people ask for favorites. Inevitably, I'm too rock-and-roll, or punk, or pop, or country, or mainstream, for whoever I'm talking to. I think the Beatles is probably the safe choice answer, but they're not a personal fave. There- I said it. My name is Eleanor and am I not a fan of the Beatles. God- it does feel good.

  9. Ugh…I've never liked Tori.

    But I do know what you're talking about. A couple of years ago I began to unabashedly embrace my own musical tastes, no matter how "awful" they might be. And I recongise that a lot of my favorite music quantifiably sucks, but I like it, so anyone who wants to get on my case for liking it is pretty much getting the finger.

    Good on you for clearing out some space on your Ipod. Now you can get some new music that you really like!

  10. I'm at the point where I love all of my songs. Sometimes when friends come over, they don't "get" my playlist of rock, hiphop, country, oldies, lounge. But, it's me – and I don't want to change my taste for them!

  11. Funny that you should mention the Beastie Boys. I hate them. With a passion. Frankly, I don't understand how obnoxious noise that sounds like it was created by a couple of middle school boys who snorted too much Ritalin can be considered music. Of course, my guy friends all threaten to disown me when I voice this opinion, but I just don't care.

  12. Me too – always felt like I needed to like Tori and Kate Bush and never really did. DO like the Beasties, though – just can't help it.

  13. I have absolutely done that – put songs on my Ipod in order to impress a certain someone – in the event that he would ask to see my Ipod. Of course, wouldn't you know, he never asked, and now, when I'm listening to it and one of those songs comes on, it pisses me off. How lame of me. I really need to take the time to delete the songs that aren't really "mine".

  14. Old Tori-Little Earthquakes…really good
    New Tori-fingers on a chalkboard

    I understand the post is more than just liking or not liking Tori, but there's my 2 cents.

    Love your take on everything!

  15. Eleanor – you're not alone on the Beatles. Have never particularly like them. Or musicals. That's off topic, and yet people always want to smack me when I say either of those things. :)

    Can I just say that for some reason I had an image of Tori Spelling in my head when I read your title? I'll take Amos over Spelling any day, but good for you for doing a little ipod spring cleaning.

  16. If you're going to listen to Michael Buble, in light of what you've been going through lately, listen to the lyrics of "Everything". Really beautiful. Have a great weekend!

  17. Tori Amos reminds me of college. Pearl Jam's "Black". Flannel. Doc Martens.

    She's not for everyday, but every once in awhile "Little Earthquakes" is a nice way to shake my brain and remind me of the time when the whole world was in front of me.

  18. You cannot even find a spot in your soul to liker Tori's 'Happy Phantom'? That song just makes me want to twirl around the room. I also have taken to 'china'…. but the rest are just plain strange.

  19. I'm one of the few left in the Western Hemisphere who doesn't own an ipod, doesn't care about having an umbilical chord from my ear to any device. Nor do I own or desire a Crackberry or any other hand-held device except a simple flip-open cell phone.

    and i have no idea who Tori Amos and never listened to the Beastie Boys because they sound just beastly….so, am i too old to be reading this site??

    Good luck in dealing with the medical crisis, Steph.

  20. I feel exactly the same way about Ani DiFranco. I tried. I did. But … no.

  21. ech. Stephanie, you are so flat out cute sometimes…and so entertaining! I want to pinch your cheeks, if for no other reason than I am a decade older than you, and I just adore you in a big sister sorta way. You introduced me to Ray LaMontaine, and I flat out love him. Have you ever listened to Snow Patrol? Shut your eyes and sing to me….?

  22. I'm also one of the few along with Bobby Dylan. No iPod, barely heard of Tori, know nothing of the Beastie Boys. I listen to Broadway musicals and I don't hide it anymore! I'm trying to make uncool, cool.

  23. For the most part, I feel like I'm the one with exceptional musical taste; then Abba accidently plays in my shuffle and I'm once again humbled by my 1970s roots.

    God help me – my daughters like that Hanna Montana crap!

  24. Why would someone like you more because you listen to the music they like or drink the whisky they drink, or is that where I was going wrong?! Maybe I should have been playing more games.

  25. Totally get it on the Tori Amos front. I had the exact same over-time experience with Alannis Morrisette. Just couldn't stand it.
    Purging is sometimes a healthy thing. :)
    ps glad to hear the hubby is "better"

  26. Ouch – this one stung a little.

    Reading this post was like finding out that your new boyfriend is a vegan when you ask him to take you to the hottest steakhouse in the city.

    I know we all have our own individual preferences, but for some reason I thought you'd be a Tori fan. I'm just glad you didn't write this about Ani DiFranco or I'd be much more devastated to learn this.

    Oh well :(

  27. Funny…I'm the exact same. I really finally don't care that I have 'no taste' in music; that I'm not interesting enough to like certain cool artists/groups. And the uncool example I always use of that fact is that I LOVE the Beastie Boys (and Billy Joel).

    Interesting how people's perspectives are, right?

  28. I was a Tori fan as a teenager, I have seemed to grow out of her music style but with no animosity. She still has a beautiful voice. But the Boys I will always love. The Beastie Boys are trend setters, path makers, nonconformists. I was just telling my hubby yesterday that they have made a life of doing what they want, what their passion is, and never conformed to the mass or trend. That is the best!

  29. I love Tori Amos — mostly because of her non-conforming style. I happen to think Tori's voice is liquid diamonds; however, some girls like liquid pearls. UNDER THE PINK is a brilliant contribution to music.

  30. The Song Remembers When…Trisha Yearwood. I tried to incorporate her music in my selection based on a friend of mine, but found I just couldn't do it, nor did I want to. But that song, that's a damn good song.

  31. Understood.

    I guess most of us receive our own little loopy stories from music, and Tori's songs are just so specific, and her voice is just mebbe too dark, and maybe the little piggy suckling her breast is too much. I understand. Even though I love her forever and ever and ever.

    One example of someone I thought I would hate at first listen, who I now absolutely love, is Joanna Newsom; ever heard of her? She's got this zippy little witch voice, but goshhhh, her songs are fun.


    On a more serious note, though, what a significant post. I think a lot of people come to realize, far too late, in some cases, what they actually prefer…or even tolerate. My schtick is that maybe this is what happens to little girls who grew up together, thinking all along that they [should] like each other because of their SESes, their moms are great friends, or they are both pretty brunettes or blondes or whatever. Plenty of friendships are based on outer qualities like that; sorority sisters are recruited as pledges because they all represent that certain brand, that certain finesse that the house wants to exude, right? I think nerdy kids are attracted to each other for the same reason; they're looking for acceptance (who isn't), but also for the prestige of belonging to a clan of Big Brains. Sometimes, Big Brains lack kindness. Sometimes, kindness comes from a sorority girl.

    But sooner or later, whether we were sorority princesses or nerdy boys or not, we come to find out what it is we REALLY really, absolutely NEED in a person [or in music]; what's negligible, what's desirable, what's off-limits.

    Honest. With ourselves. About what we really need. :)

  32. I know what you mean. Tori and I used to be best pals, but we've drifted apart in recent years. And that's ok, because I'm a different person now. I can still listen to my old favorites when I'm in a nostalgic mood without feeling obligated to buy everything she comes out with.

  33. "I'm saying goodbye to a past lived in songs that weren't played, but were instead used to play the game."

    I agree completely. It is time to clean house (for me…. that is). However, in my case, it doesn't just mean cleaning out songs, it means cleaning out aspects of my very personality that was used to play the game……

    Thanks for giving perspective.

  34. Having songs you don't like on a playlist only to impress others is pretty lame, good thing you realize that. But I shouldn't be judgemental here, I am guilty of pre-placing certain CDs in my car when I was offering rides to friends, secretly wanting to impress them with my choices.

    I have a male straight colleague who blasts Roy Orbison through his open car windows, even when in front of a red light, totally respect him for his guts :)

  35. I'm glad I'm not alone! In the 90's it was sacrilege to not own Tori's albums. I personally never "got" it. But I did keep Little Earthquakes in my CD rotation just to avoid the whole "OMG you don't like Tori? OMG! You need to listen again, just listen and you'll get it" conversation. For the same reason, I kept an Ani DiFranco album and a Liz Phair album on hand.

  36. My ex-boyfriend (who is a musician)said he knew I was special when he went through my iTunes list and saw everything from Beethoven (complete works) to Broadway showtunes to Metallica to Rilo Kiley. However, his music taste soon infiltrated mine, and I began to listen to whatever he was into at the time…now I can once again blast my Broadway songs and sing along in peace. It's aMAZing to get back to what YOU love.

  37. Lol! I completely understand! I used to be in love with Tori Amos, she spoke to my angst-ridden teenage heart. She and I don't connect anymore. I love her, but I'm not IN love with her. It's always sad when a love affair dies…
    Stephanie, keep your head up in these tough times! I'm thinking about you and your family.

  38. Well, as a Tori devotee, I feel compelled to reiterate other comments by professing my love for her.

    BUT your post did help me realize that I have done the same thing. It is silly, right? I am 30 now and I should not ever take into consideration my ~cool facotr~ when making decisions for myself. I am going to re-examine my playlist!

  39. I love Tori, just have to get that out there. Her music got me out of some really dark places in my life and I've been a huge fan of hers for as long as I can remember. But no worries about not liking her, she's even said of herself that she's an acquired taste. Like anchovies.

    Besides – it was NEVER cool to like Tori Amos. :) She's not exactly in the "cool" club…hasn't been for a while.

    Kate Bush on the other hand…while I am definitely supposed to like her, being a Tori fan and all, I just don't. Go figure!

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