All-Time Albums: #79


TORI AMOS Little Earthquakes

Crucify 4:58 (UK single, #15)
Girl 4:06
Silent All These Years 4:10 (UK single, #51 & #26 on re-release)
Precious Things 4:26
Winter 5:40 (UK single, #25)
Happy Phantom 3:12
China 4:58 (UK single, #51)
Leather 3:12
Mother 6:59
Tear In Your Hand 4:38
Me And A Gun 3:44
Little Earthquakes 6:51

In a galaxy far, far away…..before Tori Amos had released 34 albums, all with 276 tracks on them each…there was Little Earthquakes. Or, to be precise, there was Silent All These Years. One of those songs which makes your world stand still. That’s what it did to me the first occasion I ever heard it, on Radio 1 sometime in late autumn 1991.

Silent All These Years was originally the lead track on an EP called Me And A Gun, the latter a remarkable, unaccompanied first-person recounting of a rape.The EP didn’t trouble the charts, but word of mouth had spread enough to see Little Earthquakes debut at #13 in January 1992.

At the time, there was nothing and nobody else quite like Tori Amos; it had been many years and several albums since Kate Bush had attempted anything quite so outre (The Dreaming a decade earlier, pretty much), and it would be another three years before Jagged Little Pill rewrote the rule book on female confessional pop.

At its core, Little Earthquakes may be an often arresting prospect, but it is also frequently beautiful. These 12 songs have most of my favourite Tori melodies, showcasing her talents before the fatal self-indulgence that scuppers many a creative creature could take hold.

Any album with Crucify, Winter, China, Silent All These Years and Tear In Your Hand surely has to be among the finest ever. And, in my opinion at least, it is.


  1. To this day, Little Earthquakes remains one of the most precious albums in my own little pop world. I originally bought the 7″ single of ‘Silent All These Years’ out of curiosity, without ever having heard it and only because the music press was praising Tori to the skies. I was intrigued by the song and its B-side, her breathtakingly beautiful cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Like you write in your post, it was very much word-of-mouth that promoted this gem of an album.
    At the time, I was a teenage gay man in the closet and Little Earthquakes’ feminist ethos resonated strongly with me. Yes, Alanis’ breakthrough album was still years away and Tori’s sexual politics were a revelation. Plus, those melodies, that way of treating the piano as if it were an electric guitar. And let’s not even talk about the B-sides.


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