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Tear Jerker: Tori Amos
Tori Amos has one of the most devoted fanbases on the planet. This, coupled with her emotional, therapeutic (at least to the Toriphiles) music equals enough entries from tropers to make a whole page dedicated to T's Tear Jerkers.
Many Tori Amos songs become tearjerkers only after repeated listenings, which are required to decipher cryptic lyrics. But there is nothing ambiguous about "Me and a Gun." It is stark, straightforward, and gut-wrenching. The fact that it's entirely a capella and sounds like she's either completely exhausted or on the verge of tears is what can really do it for some. It's like a haunting spiritual sung by someone who has just lost their faith. Not to mention the fact that it's about Tori's own experiences of being raped.
"Winter". Especially the final chorus, where the strings suddenly drop out and Amos sings in a whisper against a minimal piano accompaniment. That effect is coupled with the lyrics "When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?"... * sniff.* Aw, and it's not even on...
Fun Fact: "Winter" was so sad and heartbreakingly beautiful that wrestler Mick Foley, AKA Mankind, used it as a Theme Music Power-Up before matches. Its beauty made him want to destroy everything.
"Juarez" is about the multiple women who are raped and murdered in the Juarez desert every year. Especially when you've seen the film Backyard which is about the subject, and when you hear the line "No angel came..." can just make you want to sob.
Tori can turn any of her songs into a tearjerker when singing it live. Like, for instance, some people may have started crying upon hearing "Hotel" during a concert - despite having never particularly liked the song before.
"Hey Jupiter" is yet another song that can be a tearjerker from first listen.
Tori's live cover of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" is known to have made some people cry every time.
Tori's "Pretty Good Year". It might be hard for some people to listen to this song, it's so powerful.
Tori's "Marianne". It's about a girl (Marianne) whom Tori knew who killed herself. Tori thinks it was an accident because Marianne wasn't the suicidal type - she had a positive aura around her and she made everyone feel special about themselves. Read this quote from Tori:
"This girl I knew once named Marianne, was the absolutely, you know, coolest. She was totally cool. And yet, she didn't have this meanness in her. She had so many other things in her, you know, but meanness wasn't one of them. So, when I was hangin' around her, I didn't need to have this meanness. Basically when my mother said, 'hey, um, oh my god...Marianne killed herself.' The only thing I could think of was, 'Fuck you, mom.' Because, in truth, nobody was really the same after Marianne killed herself."
"Mother" It's a beautiful and sad song, especially from the point of view of someone in the grip of homesickness. The sense of growing up and becoming unrecognizable to yourself and wanting a tether back to a safe spot.
"Mother the car is here, somebody leave the light on."
Tori's cover of "Happiness is a Warm Gun", with the real-life newsreel audio of John Lennon's shooting, is heartbreaking.
In her cover of "I Don't Like Mondays", Tori removes the Lyrical Dissonance and reinvents the song into a keyboard-based song that sounds like the aural equivalent of corrupted innocence.
"[The song] was sung from the point of view of the cop who went to the school that day, because I couldn't hold the essence of the person who went and killed everybody. I had to be able to hold something in a structure of women, or I couldn't be in the chair for them. I didn't believe that this [convicted felon] was a "bad seed." So I wanted to create it in this sort of shattered playground world."
"Spark" and "Playboy Mommy". Especially if you've experienced a miscarriage. That final part where she sings "I'll be home to take you in my arms..."
"I Can't See New York". Scarlet (the protagonist of Scarlet's Walk) witnesses a plane crash in mid-air. It has some eerie similarities to 9/11, even though it was written before the attacks. To top it all off, Tori was actually in New York when it happened. If the song alone doesn't make you cry, maybe a video paired with 9/11 imagery will.
And you said you could find me here, even in Death...
"Taxi Ride". Scarlet finds out about a gay friend who died of AIDS. It contains the line "just another dead fag to you, that's all." Harsher in Hindsight when a gay close friend & make-up artist, Kevyn Aucoin, died (from kidney and liver failure, not AIDS). Tori made "Taxi Ride" a partial homage to Kevyn after his death.
Another Harsher in Hindsight moment: Tori wrote "The Beekeeper" while her mother was sick in the hospital. The song is about Tori offering herself to The Grim Reaper so he could let her mom live. She got better, but the song got a dark vibe when her brother turned out to be the family member that died. Tori wrote a song dedicated to him, which is called...
"Toast". To quote a last.fm user, "The intimacy of this recording, from the chuckle to the partial sob is just startling."
"Merman". It's one of her most Tear Jerker songs. Although it was written for her now-husband, Tori later dedicated it to Matthew Shepherd, a young man who was beaten to death only for being homosexual.
"Bells for Her". Tori used a prepared piano to create the feeling of the titular bells tolling for a friendship that has been torn by a problem that can't be resolved. When Tori sobs "can't stop what's coming, can't stop what's on its way", it can strike a chord in one's heart.
"Silent All These Years". Listen to it alone, at night, with your eyes closed. That might be one of the saddest but most beautifully sad experiences American popular music has to offer.
"Happy Phantom" is a funny song about death, until you hear it at the funeral of someone who loved it, at which point it becomes a bittersweet tearjerker.
Her cover of Tom Waits' "Time" is heartbreaking in the best way possible. The verse starting with "Well, they all pretend they're orphans/and their memory's like a train" can especially strike a chord with some.
"Flying Dutchman", which is a powerful song about being a weird kid and feeling like an outsider.
Tori's cover version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (on the EP release to "Crucify"). Played solo on the piano like a dirge. The version became Harsher in Hindsight after Kurt Cobain's death.
"Putting the Damage On" is another Tori song that can really make some people cry. Also, "Your Cloud" deserves a mention here.
Tori's cover of REM's "Losing My Religion" is absolutely beautiful and completely different from the original, taking it from a reasonably upbeat song to a slower and much sadder one. You can hear pain and loneliness in her voice as she sings.
"Carry" can cause tearjerking, though more on the Heartwarming level.
You will not ever be forgotten by me In the procession of the mighty stars Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart Here I will carry, carry, carry you Forever...
And the hard part, the bad part, the Jerry Springer show part is that you never stop loving someone. There’s always a piece of them in your heart.
Now that she is dead, she tries to remember only the love. She imagines every blow a kiss, the make-up that inexpertly covers the bruises, the cigarette burn on her thigh — all these things, she decides, were gestures of love.
They would have sat and eaten it and smiled, all three of them, and the apartment would have slowly filled with laughter and with love.
Other tearjerkers not already mentioned are "Baker Baker", "Maybe California", "Northern Lad", "Garlands", "Cooling", "1000 Oceans", "Gold Dust", "Jackie's Strength", "Yes, Anastasia", "Indian Summer", and half of Boys for Pele.