The Phalluses Of Tori Amos

Since I got my new iPod I’ve been converting my CD collection to MP3s and it’s taking a bloody long time.

Anyway, today I hit my Tori Amos collection and burned her first album, Little Earthquakes, which is brilliant. I must confess that I only have that and Under The Pink because after that album it seemed to me that she was going to be one of those artists that continues to produce the same sound and when that happens, their best stuff is really their early stuff when their vision has not yet become formulaic.

I remember listening to Little Earthquakes at a job once and a woman I worked with–who had obviously never heard of Tori Amos–asked me how I could listen to her. “It’s sooo saaaaad,” she said. And she was right; but then, the best art is usually sad.

Seeing that CD brought back a very amusing memory. The CD was published in 1991, so it had to have been that year. I bought the CD and loved it immediately and my girlfriend and I played it to death.

I remember commenting to her with great amusement about the raging mushroom phalli on the back cover of her album. My girlfriend, of course, didn’t notice them as such until I pointed it out but then it was too obvious to ignore.

[DIGRESSION: I often use and when blogging to find just the right word for you, my gentle readers. That is the kind of dedication and craftsmanship you get with this lovingly hand-carved blog. So, I’m looking for alternative words for “penis.” Oddly, returns no results for the word penis and even no results for the word phallus. There are dictionary entries, yes, but nothing from the Thesaurus. Really? Anyone who has watched just a small taste of Monty Python would know that there are plenty of alternatives to the word penis.] 

So sometime later, her parents were over visiting and we stated talking about this great new musician named Tori Amos. My girlfriend handed her mother the CD and was explaining how great Amos was when her mother flipped the CD over to look at the back. My girlfriend, obviously embarrassed and flustered, blurted out, “Of course, I don’t agree with the back cover.” And that comment only served to highlight the fact that there were a couple of symbolically erect penii on the back cover:

Image: Back cover of Tori Amos' album, Little Earthquakes
Back cover of Tori Amos’ album, Little Earthquakes

I doubt she’d agree, but it was one of the most endearing things that girlfriend had ever done. Obviously, I’m still laughing about it today.

At the very least, that illustration adds meaning to the title track of the album.

POSTSCRIPT: We eventually saw Amos in concert at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. It was a great show but I was a bit taken aback because when she addressed the audience between songs, it was mostly to rip men.


She sure seems to like their mushrooms enough.