Professional Widow

Last updated

"Professional Widow"
ToriAmos-ProWidow-USscan.jpg
Single by Tori Amos
from the album Boys for Pele
Released
  • July 2, 1996 (US)
  • December 30, 1996 (UK) [1]
Genre Alternative rock
Length
  • 4:31 (album version)
  • 8:08 (remix)
Label Atlantic Records
Songwriter(s) Tori Amos
Producer(s) Tori Amos
Tori Amos singles chronology
"Talula"
(1996)
"Professional Widow"
(1996)
"Hey Jupiter"
(1996)

"Professional Widow" is a 1996 song written by singer-songwriter Tori Amos. It is a harpsichord-driven rock dirge and was included on her 1996 album Boys for Pele . The eponymous "professional widow" is widely rumoured to be Courtney Love, lead vocalist of the band Hole, whom Trent Reznor blames for the destruction of the friendship (whatever its extent) between himself and Amos. [2] In 1999, Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails released a single called "Starfuckers, Inc.", with "Starfucker" being a word that appears in "Professional Widow".

Contents

"Professional Widow" was released in July 1996 as the third single from the Boys for Pele album in the US, containing remixes by house music producers Armand van Helden and MK. The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In Italy, the original version peaked at number two in October 1996.

An edited version of the Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix of "Professional Widow" was originally released as a double A-side single with "Hey Jupiter" in Europe and Australia. In December 1996, the single was released as an A-side in Europe, under the expanded title "Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)", which topped the UK Singles Chart in January 1997 and reached the top 20 in Finland, Iceland, Ireland and Norway. This release contained additional remixes of the track by Mr. Roy.

Background

In a 1998 interview with Music & Media, Amos commented on the song: "It did kick my ass a bit, (...) I know what Van Helden took and what he did and I think he did some very clever things. Obviously they're two different pieces of work, the original Professional Widow is such a different read and I loved the fact that he didn't try and retain that at all, he went completely to the other pole."[ citation needed ]

Lyrical content

Lyrically the song borrows directly from the short story "The Sphinx" by Edgar Allan Poe. Specifically the lyric "what is termed a landslide of principal proportion" is taken from the line "what is termed a land-slide, of the principal portion of its trees"; and the lyric "prism perfect" from the line "in shape a perfect prism."

Critical reception

Aberdeen Press and Journal said the song is "excellent". [3] Neil Z. Yeung from AllMusic described it as a "powerful dose of industrial-piano ferocity that holds nothing back in its demands for peace, love, and a little something extra." [4] The Daily Vault's Sean McCarthy said it is one of the most "straightforward" songs of the album. [5] Cynthia Joyce from Salon noted that Amos' "penchant for abrupt endings and ad nauseam repetition; still surfaces on more experimental songs like "Professional Widow"". [6]

Music video

A music video was made for the "Star Trunk Funkin' Mix", but it was simply a collection of clips from other Tori Amos videos edited together. It is the only video from between 1991 and 1998 that does not appear on Tori Amos: Complete Videos 1991-1998 .

One can see Amos playing "Professional Widow" live on the Welcome to Sunny Florida DVD. The performance features Jon Evans on bass and Matt Chamberlain on drums, while Amos plays the piano. This version mutes out any instances of "fucker," and the last word, "cock".

Personnel

Boys for Pele version

Singles and compilations

US "Professional Widow" single

CD single

  1. "Professional Widow" (LP Mix) – 4:31
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  3. "Professional Widow" (MK Mix) – 7:20
  4. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub) – 3:44
  5. "Professional Widow" (MK Vampire Dub) – 6:56
  6. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Instrumental) – 5:35
  7. "Professional Widow" (Bonus Beats) – 4:31

12" single

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  2. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub) – 3:44
  3. "Professional Widow" (MK Mix) – 7:20
  4. "Professional Widow" (MK Vampire Dub) 6:56

UK "Hey Jupiter/Professional Widow" double A-side single

CD single

  1. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) – 6:03
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45
  3. "Sugar" (Live) – 5:43
  4. "Honey" (Live) – 4:19

12" single

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  2. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) (Radio Edit) – 4:14
  3. "Talula" (BT's Synethasia Mix) – 11:27

Cassette single

  1. "Hey Jupiter" (The Dakota Version) – 6:03
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45

UK "Professional Widow (It's Got to Be Big)" single

CD single

  1. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) (Radio Edit) – 3:45
  2. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  3. "Professional Widow" (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) – 8:08
  4. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's Cosmic Cottage Mix)
  5. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub)

12" single

  1. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's Cosmic Cottage)
  2. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  3. "Professional Widow" (Armands Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)
  4. "Professional Widow" (Just Da Funk Dub)

Cassette single

  1. "Professional Widow" (Mr Roy's 7" Edit)
  2. "Professional Widow" (Armands Star Trunk Funkin' Mix)

Compilations

Following the release of Boys for Pele , on which it first appeared, "Professional Widow" has been featured on several releases.

Remixes

Charts and certifications

Covers

See also

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