It's almost a tie with Tori Amos' 1996 album Boys For Pele...but Little Earthquakes is still my favorite record by her.
For those who have never heard of Tori Amos, she is an singer/songwriter, with a very fragile voice, with the ability to write some of the most thought provoking lyrics I have ever heard. But what sets her apart is her ablity to play the piano. She has been playing classical piano almost all her life...but in her musical career she has developed her own versatile playing style. She writes the most touching melodies, controls the dynamics exceptionally well and is known to frequently use more free-flowing song structures.
Little Earthquakes is probably her most personal record...and the songs convey alot of emotion/sentimentality. This is not a record I listen to as much as her other cd's, because it conveys so much emotion...and it can really be depressing. It's still an amazing cd to listen to...every song is beautiful and Tori pulls no punches lyrically...something she became known for throughout her musical journey over the past decade.
This is one of her most famous songs. It has a really poppy feel...but it's still a very beautiful song. The lyrics are very depressing and sad. I love how the acoustic guitar blend in with Tori's playing during the time she sings "chains". In the second chorus you backing vocals, also sung by Tori. The vocals in the bridge are amazing. 4/5
This is my least favorite track on this. It's still a good song though. The lyrics are written in the third person. I'm not really sure what the song is about since Tori intracts so many complicated topics within her music. It's got some cool violin melodies in the background in the chorus. In the bridge you hear male background vocals for some reason....as the song gets a bit more rock oriented. 3.5/5
03 Silent All These Years
This song is where Little Earthquakes starts to become amazing. It starts with beautiful piano interlude...as Tori starts her vocals on a tiptoeing piano melody. This song is just beautiful, as are the lyrics. The complementary melodies are spot on. The bridge is more arranged then the rest of the song...but I love the part where it goes tranquil at the "I love the way we communicate" line is. 4.5/5
04 Precious Things
Perfect followup of "Silent All These Years"...it starts with a piano melody and rhythmic breathing...really great intro. The chorus is amazing...very powerful with those backing vocals and offbeat drum loops. That 'scream' Tori lets out works so well. The music and lyrics gets more aggressive as it carries on...I love how it goes really mellow for second...and builds off to a really angry and aggressive part. It's incredible. 4.5/5
My co-favorite on this record. The piano melody is so gorgeous, and I can relate to these lyrics more than any other Tori Amos song...especially recently (I'm moving on my own soon). It's just a song that speaks to me. Tori just sings it so beautifully. I love how the melody shifts from the verse to the chorus. It's just one amazing emotional song...I have no other way to explain it. Just listen for yourself. 5/5
06 Happy Phantom
This song has more of an uplifting feel...but the lyrics actually depress me alot. I know as much that it's about death. Tori gives the topic a positive twist...but then she sings "the sun is getting dim, will we pay for who we've been", which indicates some sort of fear of dying? The folky bridge is really cool though...Tori shows she has some great licks. 4/5
This is another good song...very arranged, as many other tracks on Little Earthquakes. It's definately about loves driven apart. The vocals are great...lyrically a bit more straight forward than most Tori songs. 4/5
The piano melody on Leather is a basic chord pattern which forms the basis. The melody is very Beatles-esque actually. This song has more of a theatrical atmosphere. The lyrics seem to confront the listener about the ol' "love vs. sex"-issue. 4/5
Now this is my other co-favorite on the album. The piano intro is probably the most beautiful piano intro I have heard. The song is just Tori and her piano...and her playing just is phenomenal here....very free flowing. The lyrics seem to be about an argument between a mother and her daughter about marriage, at least that's how interpretate it. Her vocals sound as if she is holding back lots of tears. The part about 5 minutes in the song is so amazing when she sings "mother, the car is the here. maybe you'll leave the light on". Breathtaking. 5/5
10 Tear In Your Hand
This is more straight forward, poppy, beat-driven song. It's still good. The best part is when she sings "maybe it's time to wave goodbye now", and it builds back up. 4/5
11 Me And A Gun
This song is one of the most depressing I have ever heard. It's a-capella...with just Tori Amos singing. It's about her rape experience. The lyrics are good, but I usually skip this one...not because it's bad....but it's just too depressing. 4/5
12 Little Earthquakes
This is probably the most uplifting song on the cd. The melodies are a very cliche...but it's still great. The backing vocals are a nice touch though. I love it when it goes into a rocking keyed part about 3 minutes in the song. It's awesome when she sings "I can't reach you". As told before you'll hear the backing vocals...then the song builds up. The part about 5:03 into the song is beautiful...great vocals. The song goes back into the cliche chorus...and ends with the backing vocals appearing again. 4/5
It's Tori's most accessible album...and a good start before you want to get into her more experimental music...like the more eclectic Boys For Pele (which you should get next if you like this one). I usually like more diverse records than Little Eartquakes...but in this case in it's an exception. This record is just honest and one of the biggest milestones within the resurgence of intelligent female songwriting in the 90's. Rating: 4.5/5