Thursday, January 27, 2011
Musical Super Villains: Tori Amos
Brian Eno once said “Only five thousand people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every single one of them started a band.” That quote is often referred to when talking about the legacy of Velvet Underground and I bet Brian Eno feels pretty good about himself for saying it. Then again, he is Brian Eno so I think he probably congratulates himself everyday for being Brian Eno.
Anyhow, I feel that Tori Amos is kind of influential like the Velvet Underground although in a much more evil way. I suspect that every 12 year old piano playing girl who got given a copy of Under the Pink in the 90’s went onto release a piano based pop song in the 2000s. There was a tidal wave of young pop stars playing piano like Tori but singing songs with the depth of Taylor (Swift). Exhibit A: Vanessa Carlton – when I first heard that single (above) I distinctly remember thinking “is this a song or a fucking piano recital?’ Exhibit B: Delta Goodrem. Full stop.
There was a depth to Tori Amos that these girls couldn’t probably hear much less understand. Do you think Trent Reznor would do guest vocals on a Delta Goodrem song? No. Do you think you’d compare Vanessa Carlton to Kate Bush? No. Do we ever want to hear another song by any of these people again (and there are many more but I’ll spare you)? NO. So, unfortunately for Tori she is a musical super villain – not for her music but for the generation of piano playing whiners she inspired. It’s not her fault but really in the end, it kind of is her fault.