Boys In Their Dresses: Introduction


So, my next blog project, starting on Monday August 5th, is Boys in their Dresses: A Psychodiscography of Tori Amos. And I wanted to start by talking a little bit about why this project interests me, and also a little bit about my short to medium term blogging plans in general.

I’ve had in mind to do some sort of piece about the largely female-fronted pop music I enjoyed during my 90s adolescence and how my understanding of my own love of it has shifted since transition. I originally imagined it as a series of essays, but eventually I got the idea of instead doing a deep dive on Tori Amos. The song by song blog has become, I think, one of the real classic structures of long-form blogging, and it seemed like an interesting thing to put my own spin on. And Tori Amos seemed a compelling structure for that—an artist who keeps trying new things and by extension keeps allowing for new perspectives on her work, and who has a sense of visionary personal mythology that appealed to me for all the reasons you’d expect it to.

But mostly I want to understand the sense of awe and possibility I felt at fifteen when I slipped a copy of Little Earthquakes into my Discman and put on headphones. It was an initiation to a world and landscape that I hadn’t known existed, but that felt more real and immediate than anything I’d known up to that point. Some of that, I know now, was dysphoria. But some of it—more of it, I think—was Amos, severe, brilliant, and mysterious, and the specific magic that her songs work. So off we go on a song by song blog, picking apart her career.

This blog will run on an erratic but frequent schedule. There will be posts every Monday, but they may be shorter than you’re used to depending on the song, and there may be posts elsewhere in the week as well. (Not to worry about the one on the 5th—it’s a nice meaty 3500 words.) If you’re not familiar with the music of Tori Amos, there’ll be links in every post, though the structure of a song by song blog means that we start with some slightly dodgy early material, so to get a taste of what we’re actually talking about you might want to go check out… oh let’s say Boys for Pele. Though if you want to get a sense of it in one song, check out “Precious Things” off of Little Earthquakes. 

The plan is for it to occupy the weekly slot of the blog for the foreseeable, with possible interludes for short-run projects. Once I finish the last five chapters of Last War in Albion v2 (which I’m not touching til I get Eruditorum v7 finished) I’ll start considering that for the weekly slot as well, and it’ll become more likely that I’ll alternate runs of the two. Unless, of course, I get bored or have some other brilliant idea or whatever.

The launch of this project also, unfortunately, means the departure of Christine from the site. Her work remains delightful and I encourage you to follow it at Dreams of Orgonon, but given how often Bush and Amos are compared it seemed as though having both of us run song by song blogs on the same site would ultimately do neither of us any favors. She’s got one more post here tomorrow, so do give her an appreciative send-off in the comments.

Finally, I wanted to plug the Patreon, where you can read the first *three* Boys in Their Dresses posts already. The Patreon is down about $80 from its fundraising peak a few months ago. It’s still at $666, which is at least a very funny number, and I expected some decline when TARDIS Eruditorum wrapped, so this isn’t panic inducing, but it’s also decidedly a problem that could use correction. So if you like this site and want to support my work, please consider a small monthly contribution. Even a dollar a week helps, though there are cool rewards for higher pledges. Once again, that link is here.

See you Monday with the first post of Boys in their Dresses. So far its shaping up to be a cool project, and I’m really happy with it.


Merwin 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't know a thing about Tori Amos, but I'm here for this and excited!

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Annie 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm very excited for this project, I've never heard any Tori Amos myself but can't wait to experience it through this blog, though I was a bit disappointed that Christine's blog posts on this site don't seem to generate many comments so I hope more people will chime in in future.

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James Burt 1 year, 7 months ago

Very excited about this! Patreon always feels a bit weird from the UK, but have signed up. Choirgirl hotel is probably my favourite TA record, but looking forward to rediscovering Little Earthquakes.

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Pôl Jackson 1 year, 7 months ago

As a friend once quipped: "Ah, Tori Amos. The bi man's Madonna."

Looking forward to this!

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Eric 1 year, 7 months ago

Looking forward to this. I don't have everything Tori Amos has done, given the utterly insane amount of material out there, but it's more than just a full set of her studio albums, and I've seen her live multiple times. Absolutely one of my all time favorite artists.

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Joel 1 year, 7 months ago

Ah, that "hearing Tori for the first time" moment. For me it was April 1998, when I heard Spark in the Top 40 and I was absolutely Blown. Away.

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Daru 1 year, 6 months ago

I’m really excited about this project too!

Thinking about when I first heard Tori, I think it was through a crazy flat share I was in when I started college in the late 80’s/ early 90’s.

‘Little Earthquakes’ became a touchstone album for me.

Also El - I’m on a trip away for a couple of days, but when back I’ll look at upping my Patreon pledge.

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