24 February 2005

Tori's Gardens

My limited edition copy of Tori Amos' new album, The Beekeeper, arrived last Friday. The music saturates my walls on a daily basis, the floors soaking in sound. As ever, the songs construct a rich, dense tapestry of themes and images that relate to one another in sophisticated ways. Her revamped website elaborates on many of the thoughts behind the album:

For Amos, the problems facing America have less to do with the simplistic duality of "red" and "blue" states than with the ways in which power, faith and relationships have been misunderstood and abused. [...]

No surprise, then, that the story within
The Beekeeper has to do with bringing together disparate pieces and attaining wholeness without deferring to hierarchies or power structures.

Of the six gardens, I find myself visiting the greenhouse the most. In the interview portion of the DVD, she discusses the writing of "The Power of Orange Knickers" and all but quotes Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The obliteration of ideas takes less effort than achieving their negotiation. It is much easier to locate evil in other systems or cultures than to recognize our own propensities:

It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhlemed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.
~ The Gulag Archipelago


molrendiel said...

Just a question, and I figured you probably know the answer: does Tori count Joni Mitchell as one of her influences? The first time I put on Mitchell's "Blue," I said, "Whoa, that sounds like Tori Amos"--but I suppose it would actually be that Tori sounds like Joni!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the gift that keeps giving to me in my car as I drive these latter days...I too find myself most often in the greenhouse...

Ever, Jane

amcorrea said...

Mol, yup. Also Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix (among many, many others).

FYI (from the website):

Tori's Top Twelve Songs
Posted February 03, 2005

1. Livin For The City – Stevie Wonder
2. Drive - REM
3. Ivo – The Cocteau Twins
4. Desire As – Prefab Sprout
5. A Case of You - Joni Mitchell
6. Cissy Strut – The Meters
7. The Last Chance Texaco – Rickie Lee Jones
8. Jerusalem – Sinead O’Connor
9. A Forest - The Cure
10. Fire and Rain - James Taylor
11. Beautiful Feeling - PJ Harvey
12. Feeling Good - Nina Simone

And Jane, we can at least take comfort in the fact that it's warmer in the greenhouse...we bathe in sun without wind.

molrendiel said...

I would also count "A Case of You" as one of my top ten songs.