Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 73
Wed. April 9, 2013
I do one
Tori Amos has openly discussed the themes of From Choirgirl Hotel being inspired by her own personal tragedy, she told John Sakamoto, “Each song would show me a certain side of herself because of what I was going through. So a song like ‘Cruel’ came to me out of my anger. ‘She’s Your Cocaine’ and ‘iieee’ came out of a sense of loss and sacrifice. And other songs celebrated the fact that I found a new appreciation for life through this loss.”
Through the darkness, Tori Amos came out of the other side a stronger and more versatile artist. Instead of having the agony of the stress kill her, Amos created songs like “iieee.” Tori talked about the idea that spawned “iieee” when she said, “You hear stories about angels that come and save certain people they’re beautiful stories. But what about the mother whose kid gets taken away and never comes back? What were the angels smoking when that happened? What do you say? That their kid wasn’t worthy? That it’s all for the best? Or God has a plan? So these questions, of course, I was putting towards every deity I could find. I was quite vicious, and I think Cruel and iieee, especially, came out of that. It was almost liberating for me – that it’s all in order that I have anger towards the way of things, and just to say, ‘Thine will be done’ just doesn’t work anymore. It’s hollow.” I thought of Tori’s words this past weekend, when I heard the news of Rick Warren’s son Matthew taking his own life and I thought of his parents grieving and Tori’s “iieee” brought all these emotions to light. How could this happen? Whether or not you agree with his beliefs, how could this tragedy happen to such a loving family?
Tori has famously talked about going to the rain forests and partaking in the mystical rituals of native Indians inspired songs from Boys for Pele to Choirgirl. Amos told VH-1 Storytellers on how her conjuring with spirits in South America spawned the monosyllabic melody that inspired“iieee,” “It was a strange time. I had a bad pregnancy and I lost a baby. And I started seeing this vision of this little boy everywhere I went. And we knew it wasn’t a little boy, so I really didn’t know who he was. And the wine really wasn’t that good, you know what I mean. So I would close my eyes when he would appear. And I would follow him. And he would say things like, ‘come here (whispers jumbled stuff)’. And I would go; we had this 1959 convertible and he was a Zoonie boy, Zoonie were pueblo boy. And he would just um, stand in the back of the car with his arms like this. And we would drive for hours and hours and hours. And I would sit there and I didn’t know where we were going. But when we would get there, nobody would be alive. So it was a strange thing. And I didn’t know what we were supposed to do. So we would leave the town. And he would tell me to build a campfire. So I would build this thing and he would start dancing. And um he would say, ‘you know, we failed today but we have to go to the next town tomorrow’. And this happened over and over and over again and we were always too late. And he would sing this thing in my head, and he would go …he would pat me on the head “it’s ok, iieee iieee iieee iieee.”
You can feel the chanting and it has this sort of quasi-post modern Middle Eastern charmer feel to the music. “iieee” sounds like Tori Amos communal ode to the Gods. It’s as if Tori is summoning up the spirits looking for some answers yet all she found was more questions. “♫ Is it God’s? Is it yours? ♫” and “♫ Why can’t it be beautiful? ♫” or “♫ Why does there got to be a sa- sa- sacrifice? ♫” Tori looked into the fire and what she received was a one way conversation with the eternal flame and that result was the seeker soliloquy, “iieee.” One of the most unique and wonderfully and dare I say strangest yet most mysterious songs in Tori Amos eclectic lyrical canon.
“iieee” and “Cruel” were two of Tori’s Choirgirl that she remixed on 2006’s The Piano Collection. Tori defended her decision to improved the sound and mix of two of her most personal songs when Amos told Sound on Sound Magazine, “These two tracks were such production numbers that I was comfortable retouching them, as we have access to so much more technology today. Choirgirl was about using technology as an instrument. When people listen to ‘Cruel’ in 20 years time, this is what I want them to hear, because it’s better.”
Tori Amos admitted in Vice Magazine about “iieee” being one of her songs like “Datura” that are most difficult to recreate in a live setting. I couldn’t imagine trying to re experiencing the emotions of her stillbirth, every night, on stage. But just like Tori did with her harmonium version of “Professional Widow,” Amos delivers an stirring rendition of “iieee,” recorded in Lowell, MA, with a little of Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” thrown in for measure and it’s quite amazing.
Only Tori Amos could add “Band on the Run” to one of her most personal songs. That’s what I love and respect about Myra Ellen Amos, she’s not afraid of exposing her true scars, her pain, by exorcising the demons in songs; don’t be afraid to conjure up Tori’s lyrical spirits, “iieee,” if one of Choirgirl’s inhabitants that deserves another sonic exploration. Are you ready to take Tori’s mystically lyrical ride?