XY Magazine
August 1998

Added August 11, 1998

Two Tori articles appear in the August 1998 issue of XY Magazine, which is a magazine for gay youth. Many thanks to Nick Schall and Brian for alerting me to this. The photo you see below was printed with the article. There is a one page article about "from the choirgirl hotel" and also a discussion of her popularity within the gay community.

The first article by Derek Botelho is called "What is it about Tori?" and it reads:

As the lights dimmed at San Francisco's Fillmore Theather May 5, over 1000 voices were shouting "Tori we love you" in almost perfect unison. The diminutive faery goddess traipsed onstage in a tight black top and khaki pants, chunky black-heeled shoews adorning her tiny feet [she is a self confessed shoe horse]. No less than five seconds later the teeming throng was stone silent as she began to play the opening chords to "Black-Dove [January]", from her new fouth album "From the Choirgirl Hotel".

The new album is quite a departure from the sparse piano and vocal arrangements of "Little Earthquakes" and "Under the Pink"' it also lackes the angry-girl theme of her third album "boys for Pele" which she has said was about "stealing the fire from boys in my life". "Hotel" is a lush soundscape awash with intricate drum beats and various electronica elements that were absent in her previous efforts. And on her current tour, she has a live band backing her for the first time ever.

"Hotel" begins with the current single "saprk" which is apparently an autobiographical song about her recent miscarriage. With lyrics like "She's convinced she could hold back a glacier, but she couldn't keep baby alive" and "If the Divine Master's plan is perfection, maybe next I'll give Judas a try", she has given us her torment with no-hold-barred honesty, blood flying.

Tori has again made an amazing record. All Toriphiles-and you know who you are-are sure to eat this one up. As for her new converts, this record is perphas her most accessible. Musically, however, it is the most adventurous of them all. Her voluptuous soprano is in full wail on songs like "She's your Cocaine" and "Cruel" as she twists her voice into knots of pain and passion.

True, Amos' music may be a little left of center but it is a delicious trip that I would whole-heartedly recommend to anyone. As for Tori's image, she has cultivated a trippy, other worldy girl persona that's kept many at bay and her avid fans howling for more. In the late '80's she was the quintessential rock chick heading the now defunct band "Y Kant Tori Read" [btw, used copies of this record go for hundreds of dollars now]. Yet when record companies told her the girl-and-a-piano thing wouldn't work, she refused to listen. After the failure of "Y Kant Tori Read" she took up piano again and thus "Little Earthquakes" was born. With the chutzpah and verve of any Wall Street tycoon she took the record company by the balls and refused to be ignored. And they listened indeed.

It is, I believe, this refusal to be anyone but her own girl that has amassed Tori her enormous cult-like following. She's like a modern day "Pied piper of Hamlin" leading her fans to another place in themselves. It's probably her glaring honesty and guts that have grabbed so many young gay men-she screams "look, you are who you are, just accpet that and you will be fine, you have to love yourself before anybody else will and if nobody loves you beause of it, well fuck 'em!" And it doesn't hurt either that she is an amazing musician who's played the piano since age two, who has a voice that can be either motherly and soothing or bitingly harsh at the blink of an eye.

All things said, don't hesitate to pick up a copy of "From the Choirgirl Hotel" and enjoy the ride. Visit each room with curious eyes and ears to fully appreciate this stunningly beautiful record.

The next article is called "tori album: addictive and amazing" by Doug S m e a t h and it says:

Believe it or not, when meeting new people in the gay community, I Have actually be asked-more than once- "So, are you a Tori Amos or an Erasure fag?"

While I reject these kinds of sterotypes, one thing is certains: Tori Amos has a big presence in our community. She began her musical career at age 13, performing in gay bars that her Dad brought her to. Her first solo album, Little Earthquakes, documented in diary for a girl's prgoress in coming to terms with herself, a struggle that gay youth can understand all too-well. The following two albumws, which complete what Tori calls her trilogy, continued to deal with emotional, dangerous, sometimes painful issues in a blunt way, just a girl and her piano exposing their soulds. In this way Tori kept her soothing grasp on her fans, who were missing something in thier lives and found it in her.

Her newest album, From the Choirgil Hotel, was released in May. The new album differs from Trilogy Tori in some very obvious ways. Bust she continues to deal with issues no one else dares deal with, and continues to be the spokeswoman for just about everyone who has some form of a soul. It's her personalized universality that allows Tori to remain a vital life force to her fans, and it is as present as ever in Choirgirl.

Perhaps the most obvious difference in this album is, for the first time since her 1980's band Y Kant Tori Read, Tori has released an album backed by a full band, including drums, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. Tori says she and her piano had a deal that they would work together to bring the power of the piano to new heights, and, feeling that they acheieved it, she says shea nd her piano decided to get some company onstage. But the piano motif is still as dominant as ever, seven when covered by the sounds of the other talented musicians.

Another difference is that, for the fist time since Little Earthquakes, Tori's struggle with religion finally appears to be over. Raised by a Methodist minister, she's always had a hard time identifying herself without religious opression getting in the way. She has sung about crucifying herself, about God's need for a woman's help, about masturbating instead of singing prayers. But Choirgirl contains only a few, insignificant references to religion. The most outstanding is one solitary line in the song "Raspberry Swirl": "In the garden I did no crime".

If Little Earthquakes was the rape album {and in many ways, the "coming out" album, though Tori is straight}, Under the Pink the girls vs. girls album, and Boys for Pele the relationship vampirism album, From the Choirgirl Hotel is the miscarriage album. After her 1996 tour, Tori became pregnant by the man she later married, but three months later, she miscarried. The emotional, spiritual, and physical pain of these experiences is overwhelming in such songs as "Spark" and "Playboy Mommy". But like the other three albums, which onctained far more than just their main themes, Choirgirl covers not just miscarriage but also everything from our own shocking ability to inflict pain ["I can be cruel, I don't know why"] to the pressure to perform well sexually ["If you want inside her world, boy you'd better make her raspberry swirl"].

It even makes reference to a couple of aspects of gay life. In "Raspberry Swirl", she sings "Everybody knows I'm her friend, everboyd knows I'm her man." and in "She's Your Cocaine", she sings "Put on your make-up boy, you're your favorite stranger."

Tori has become perhaps the first artist to successfully become more of a pop star without going mainstream and without selling out. This album is addictive and amazing.

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at mikewhy@iglou.com