Grade (Outer/Inner): VG++
Emotionally and musically intense, Little Earthquakes shows that the piano is as much a rock & roll instrument as the guitar. Tori Amos's debut (if one disregards Y Kant Tori Read, as one would be well advised to do) is at once listenable and challenging; she takes on every topic, from sex to gender to religion, in an uncompromising manner. Her music appears gentle at first, but this appearance is deceiving, as one quickly learns upon listening to the wrenching "Crucify" or the almost violent "Precious Things." By the time the album gets around to "Me and a Gun," sung hauntingly by Amos without accompaniment from her piano, the juxtaposition of Amos' sweet voice and the emotional complexity of her lyrics is both familiar and shocking. Sandman fans should listen for a reference to author Neil Gaiman in "Tear in Your Hand."