“Speaking with Trees,” Song Review

Speaking with Trees, Song Review

Tori Amos, a singer-songwriter from North Carolina, made a comeback by releasing a song “Speaking With Trees” in late September. This song is a single from her new album “Ocean to Ocean,” her first album in four years. Amos is best known for her bright red hair, skilled piano playing, honest lyrics, and unique style. At a young age, Tori was accepted into the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University, but was kicked out for wanting to write pop and rock music instead of performing classical music. Her name was first known in 1988 when she formed the band “Y Kant Tori Read,” yet it flopped after the release of their first album. However, in 1992 she released her album “Little Earthquakes,” which propelled her into fame. She had many successful albums in the 90s, putting her on the level of female indie singers such as Bjork, PJ Harvey, and Fiona Apple. Some of her standout songs include “Cornflake Girl,” “Silent All these Years,” “Spark,” and “Precious Things.” Unfortunately, she became less and less popular as the decades progressed, excluding her 2002 hit song “A Sorta Fairytale.” Her most recent album, “Native Invader,” was released in 2017 and got a 7.5 out of 10 on pitchfork.com, a site that reviews albums. “Ocean to Ocean” was just released on Oct. 29, 2021. 

Before the deeply poetic album was released, Amos launched a single titled “Speaking with Trees.” The single was released a month before the album, paired with the album cover, showing Tori in a black dress standing on a scenic cliff. The song starts off with a classic rock beat, similar to the likes of Stevie Nicks and some of Amos’s old work. She comes in around 20 seconds with a raspy voice, yet she sounded very similar to how she did in the 90s. In the start of the song, the tone is dark and full of grief, a great representation of what quarantine has felt like. She quickly brings up the pace from verse to chorus with even darker lyrics such as “I’ve been hiding your ashes under the tree house.” It can be referred that Tori is singing about the loss of a loved one, or just grief and sadness in general. The songwriting makes it clear how genius of a writer Tori Amos is, and how honest and cruel she can be. This song is a piece of musical art, and a fantastic way to enter back into the world of music. 

In a video on her YouTube channel, Tori revealed the truth behind her song. She said that the single refers to the death of her mother, and that she physically hid some of her ashes under a tree house in Florida. “It’s just one of those songs that could almost get me to time travel to be close to my mom,” said Amos in her video. She then said that while she was in Cornwall, England, she would go outside to listen and speak with trees to get the sonical idea for the song. “I wanted to try and capture that idea that you could have these amazing conversations with trees,” the singer-songwriter states at the end of the video. Rollingstone.com, a pop culture magazine, said that Amos was travelling from Florida to Cornwall during the last few years, which inspired the title of the album “Ocean to Ocean.” Rolling Stone later says that she had a “personal crisis” due to the storming of the capitol on Jan. 6th, 2021. 

  Tori Amos’s new album, “Ocean to Ocean,” was released on Oct. 29th, and is categorized as alternative rock and chamber pop.  Shortly before this, she released another single titled “Spies.” The songs on the album are very similar to the singles released, however, the singles are undoubtedly the best songs from the entire album. The best songs from her album besides “Speaking with Trees” would be “Metal Water Wood,” the first song written, and it’s namesake, “Ocean to Ocean.” This album compares to her older works, yet it is also very different and unique. Amos is one of the few artists who are able to deliver a new vibe every album, and it shows in “Ocean to Ocean.” Overall the album has a very earthy, honest and slightly depressing tone to it, and I greatly suggest listening to it.