George Starostin's Reviews



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JM and Angel <> (29.08.2002)

I haven't actually heard this album [Little Earthquakes - G.S.], but I own a few other Tori discs and I like at least one of them quite a bit. I think Tori is at her best when she goes for the more minimalist approach..her newfound flirtations with bands, dance beats, etc, are not really to my taste at all. as a note of curiosity, I actually listened to "Why can't TOri read" or however she spells it, and I"m not sure why everyone refers to this as pop metal. There isn't anything even faintly metallic about it..I mean, as far as I remember there's barely even any distortion to be found. There's certainly a lot of pop, though, and it's interesting to hear the sort of lightweight, carefree sounding ditties she used to pen before whatever trauma turned her into a bitter, angry woman befell her.


David Dickson <> (15.01.2002)

Wha. . . ? Only three and a half stars? Goodness gracious me. I was actually first introduced to Ms. Amos through some college friends of mine who noticed my fascination with the LP format of popular music. They would get car rides from me back and forth between Kansas City and Kirksville and be forced to listen to the ENTIRE White Album or the ENTIRE Wall from start to finish. God, the hell I must've put them through. . . So, anyway, eventually they came up to me and said: "You like listening to full albums, right? Try Little Earthquakes--you'll hear some REAL music for a change." Naturally, she being an angry modern female solo artist, I was more than a little skeptical--I'd listened to Sarah McLachlan's and Jewel's big breathroughs and was not that friggin' impressed. They seemed to be going more for "lyrics" "attitude" and "pain" more than actual "music". However, in this modern world we live in, that seems to be pretty typical of your average angsty artist--especially the kind that college nerds like. So I underestimated her, you might say.

My apologies, Tori; it'll never happen again. Little Earthquakes is a sprawling, hurtful-yet-pretentious, and above all, melodic piano pop masterpiece that stands head and shoulders above all the other girrrrrrrl LPs of the early '90's--yep, that includes Ms. Morissette and her merry man, Glen Ballard. It plays with your emotions like toys, sometimes in a very intentional way, but so what? Me, I like having my emotions played with. It adds icing to the cake. "Crucify" is a decent, though not-that-incredibly-awesome opener, "Girl"'s got some cool synth effects, and some painful lyrics--and then the next five songs take you into the stratosphere of cathartic songwriting, combining awesome singing, piano playing, and production in one big bombastic pile. I personally have never heard Kate Bush, but I can believe that it sounds just like her, 'cause these songs give me a mental image of a Wuthering Height-ish landscape, complete with icy winds and blowing grass 'n other Victorian-looking stuff. Other highlights include "Leather," with its o-so-catchy melody and jazzy orientation, "Mother" which is just Tori on piano and vocals for seven minutes (it reminds me strongly of my mother's piano students--many of the songs they play and write sound just like this), "Tear in your hand"--killer hook on dulcimer there, "Me and a Gun", one of the most haunting second-to-last songs on an LP I've ever heard, mainly 'cause the production is so elaborate on the rest of the album, and here it just disappears so we can hear the almost mumbled heartbreaking lyrics, and the closer, "Little Earthquakes" which I believe depicts dark emotions and anguish better musically than anywhere else (check out the multi-tacked vocals on the "give me life/give me pain/give me myself again" bit--shiver.) Whoa, I just listed the whole album, didn't I?

In short, not only is Little Earthquakes a brilliant example of solid songwriting and lyricism, it combines that with perfect pacing and LP song order better than virtually any album of 1991 I can think of. Five stars out of five.


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