Little Earthquakes

Forewarned is forearmed, which is why you might want to know that singer-songwriter Tori Amos thanks ”the Faeries” in the acknowledgments on Little Earthquakes. Amos’ thrushlike voice is quite pretty, but it’s hard to enjoy it — her songs are too self-consciously weird, like the gnarled wax candles produced in droves by ’70s art students who read too much Tolkien. Some of these tunes do have glossy, polished surfaces: The lush orchestral washes that skim over Amos’ spare piano lines in songs like ”Silent All These Years” are agreeable enough (if sterile), and Amos’ jazzy fern-bar piano inflections dress up ”Happy Phantom” and ”Leather.” But the Faeries themselves might be embarrassed by the chorus of droning voices intoning, ”Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again” on the title track. And when Amos sings (in ”Tear in Your Hand”) that she can’t believe her lover is leaving her just because ”me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream,” you’d be willing to bet that neither Manson nor ice cream has anything to do with it. D

Little Earthquakes
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