Tori Amos’ Crucify: behind the meaning of the lyrics

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Every finger in the room
Is pointing at me
I wanna spit in their faces
Then I get afraid of what that could bring

Tori Amos was going to be crucified.

This suffocating atmosphere was the one in which the redhead icon of 90s rock grew up.

Go ahead. Lift her hands, nail her, crucify her.

Raised in a claustrophobic environment, with a father who was a preacher and a Calvinist grandmother who supported female virginity, Tori will feel oppressed by the religious world in her family.

But Tori is a free animal.

Tori is sexually, culturally, musically free. When the father held prayer meetings she masturbated upstairs, while her father forced her to act in a Kellogg’s commercial like a Cornflake Girl (one of her best singles), she felt like a Raisin (or maybe Raisin’) Girl, one that usually you don’t see in a cereal box. Uncommon, because she is free to be herself. Rare, because she’s spiritually conscious of being free.

And that’s how Tori abandons the little prodigy girl from Conservatory, the girl with the classical music culture, and starts to sit at the piano, playing Led Zeppelin, Nirvana. Wild, erotic. It’s more than sex, she says.

In ’92 Crucify was released. In this song Amos is freed from the religious conformism imposed by the family environment and in general by American society. Tori is looking for a savior and she finds it in herself.

I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets

I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Just what God needs
One more victim

The drums describe the eyes of a judging environment, while the piano softens the situation. Tori talks about when she was looking for a savior under the sheets. It’s like we can see her, abandoning herself with her hands backwards, for a slow crucifixion. The piano riff leads us in Tori’s rage and the lyrics express her liberation. A deliverance that is not painful, because it’s part of her character.

Tori knows who she is. Tori is rock, because she freed herself from the chains, she avoided her crucifixion, refused the nails of the bigoted society. If the bird flies away, girl, you’re just a cage. Tori blew up her chains, sat at the piano and rocked. Free, natural, wild.

Why do we
Crucify ourselves
Every day
I crucify myself

Nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself
Every day
I crucify myself

And my heart is sick of being
I said my heart is sick of being in
Chains, oh oh oh
Chains, oh oh oh

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