Tori Amos
Little Earthquakes



by OrbDragon USER (34 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 61 replies

Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

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.

01 Crucify
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

02 Girl
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 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 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" 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

05 Winter
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

07 China
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

08 Leather
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

09 Mother
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 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

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user ratings (335)
other reviews of this album
hamid95 (5)
The confessional woman behind the piano shakes and moves the listener....

Horsehammer (4.5)
Little earthquakes, BIG success...

arismccarthy (5)
Years go by and Tori's still a legend....

Altmer (4)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 30th 2004


great review, man!

thanks for doing it. I've heard a few songs by Tori and heard that this was the best album to start off with, and I've been looking at it for a while now, trying to decide if I should buy it.

I definatley will now!


thanks again


January 31st 2004


i love tori.....she's different, she's talented and very original...i love most of her albums....little earthquakes is the best...

July 6th 2004


There is a 2 pack at my cd store with this and "Boys For Pele". It costs $15 AU (a new cd is normally about 20) I'll get it as my next purchase, thanks to your madcore review.

July 12th 2004


I love your writing, OrbDragon; every time you review a band/album, you make it sound like I'm missing out on something insanely good, but not in a fanboy sense. You've got a great knack for describing a song in just a few sentences.

I've liked what I've heard from Tori Amos, I'll have to add this album to my ever-growing list of purchases.

July 31st 2004


I got this today along with Boys For Pele and it cost me only $10 :cool:

I love it.

August 1st 2004


^ ^ ^ Holy crap man, I was in Brissy yesterday and almost picked up that same bargain. If I made a list of my mistakes and regrets, i put her name on top. Or something along those lines.

August 1st 2004


I always thought I agreed with Orb until I got to this review. No offense, it's Tori's best album, but that's not saying much when listening to a Tori Amos album always makes me feel like I'm injecting estrogen straight into my veins.

August 1st 2004


[QUOTE=Tapeworm]^ ^ ^ Holy crap man, I was in Brissy yesterday and almost picked up that same bargain. If I made a list of my mistakes and regrets, i put her name on top. Or something along those lines.[/QUOTE]

Mail me some money and I'll buy you one :p

August 3rd 2004


Hah, and give it to me at the Mint Chicks gig that you can't actually go to!!!

October 17th 2004





This album is considered by many to be Tori Amos' magnum opus and that's saying something. In a career studded with many great albums, this one is the most personal and haunting. A touching autobiography and an exercise in imagery. With universal themes ranging from self-loathing to invigorating mania, Tori and her piano talk about a million things seeking closure.

The album kicks off with CRUCIFY, a single about expectations and self-punishment.Tori is the daughter of a preacher is what i'm told and there are thoughts of her father running all through this album. There are plenty of places where she manages to go off on a tangent, along with cryptic references.

GIRL , the song that follows, imo, matches up to CRUCIFY in beauty. I almost felt sorry for the girl being alluded to, one that had been everybody else's girl but her own. It is not without hope ,however with the message being one about having to stand up for oneself.

SILENT ALL THESE YEARS is well...irreverent. very nice. 'So you found a girl that thinks really deep thoughts..whats so special about really deep thoughts? boy you best pray that i bleed real soon, how's that
thought for ya?' A friend had that little part up on her wall for a whole year. Ps: its about finding your voice, and not about bleeding. heh. Its beautiful and therpeutic in alternate parts.

PRECIOUS THINGS is one of those songs i did not get with just one listen. It sounded Bjork-ish. 'so you can make me cum, that doesnt make you JESUS'. I've always wanted a chance to say that to someone. Note to self:
go out with more manipulative Bitches. It talks about how we hold the wrong things to be precious. Someone mentioned a long time ago that Trent Reznor had dated Tori. She talks about pretty girls with Nine inch nails
and Fascist panties...shades of Courtney Love? It is her catharsis with respect to the boys that rejected her and thought her
ugly. Wtf was with those kids? She's effin amazing.

WINTER is my mother's alltime favorite song. It is breathtaking in its beauty. Beautiful imagery and a lovely piano riff combine with beautiful strings to heighten the effect of the seasons. I think of it as Tori likening her childhood to a winter that she never really outgrew and her realization that she needs to love herself as much as her father did instead of waiting for someone else. I am going to have this played at my funeral, for a macabre reason i'm not going to explain.

HAPPY PHANTOM, oh well, she has no right to bitch. This is your ticket to the universal opera and this is the playful
interlude. She wants to wear her naughties like a jewel as the happy phantom. go to it, tori. I think she's the most beautiful and interesting
singers in history. Who can possibly complain about an outlandish redhead streaking? heh. Note to self: focus.

CHINA is a double entendre, not only for a faraway country but also to the more delicate china. She talks of how her lover grows distant and puts up the great wall around himself. This should have been a single. Very underrated.

LEATHER is the weakest moment on the album. Its about the difference in ideals of two lovers. The music here annoys me.

MOTHER is another great song. Its about the insecurity of growing up and having to leave home. She is afraid that if she learns the last big secret, she will forget where she comes from.

TEAR IN MY HAND...i dont think you're leaving cos me and Charles manson like the same ice cream. Thats another of those Tori quotes right there. An average song.

ME AND A GUN is the highlight of this album, the most poignant moment here that deals with how she was raped. It has no instruments,just her voice and it bleeds your heart out. The anguish of the victim, wondering if it was her fault, the attempts to not focus on the event by thinking of other things and the realization that she could either die or let it happen. The references to Barbados and her red dress, instead of making it a little less sad, heighten the tension.

LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, the title track is a pretty song to end the album. It is the little things that tear us apart and bring us down.
I hate elevator music too.

All in all, an excellent album, one that anyone that claims to like music MUST have. Sad, happy, tragic, lovable, pained all at once, this is one of those albums that will live on forever.

Rating- 10/10, 5/5, whatever, just perfect

October 17th 2004


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Beautiful. I don't have the full album, but what I've heard is 5/5 material, all the way.

Minor complaint, but could you bold the song titles in the main review please? Just makes it easier to read.

October 17th 2004


[QUOTE=Iai]Beautiful. I don't have the full album, but what I've heard is 5/5 material, all the way.

Minor complaint, but could you bold the song titles in the main review please? Just makes it easier to read.[/QUOTE]


October 17th 2004


Naughty boy! Orb has already reviewed this. Otherwise I would have done it ages ago :p

October 17th 2004


Agree with everything but your thoughts on Leather. I love that song, one of my favorites.

October 20th 2004


Phenomenal, groundbreaking album. IMO, it's untouchable.

Electric City
April 22nd 2007


Is it wrong I like some of this?

April 22nd 2007



April 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

A landmark album, quite unlike anything realised in that time period. My favourite album of hers would be TVAB but this is superb nonetheless. Sometimes it's cool to put this album on and be reminded how good these songs are (especially Tear In Your Hand).

October 10th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this album is like having sex with a lesbian

Electric City
October 10th 2007


I feel like that would be awkward and not very enjoyable.

But I don't think that's your opinion on this album.

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