Spark (Tori Amos song)

Last updated

"Spark"
Spark by Tori Amos US CD5 Maxi-single.jpg
Standard artwork (US CD maxi-single pictured)
Single by Tori Amos
from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel
B-side "Purple People (Christmas in Space)" "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" "Bachelorette" "Do It Again" "Cooling"
ReleasedApril 20, 1998
Recorded1998
Genre Alternative rock
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Tori Amos
Producer(s) Tori Amos
Tori Amos singles chronology
"In the Springtime of His Voodoo"
(1996)
"Spark"
(1998)
"Jackie's Strength"
(1998)

"Spark" is a song by Tori Amos, released as the first single from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel .

Contents

Background

Amos wrote "Spark" after suffering a miscarriage. She discussed the song in an article from Q magazine in May 1998. [1]

Y'know, once you've felt life in your body, you can't go back to having been a woman that's never carried life. The other thing is feeling something dying inside you and you're still alive. Obviously when it was happening, it was already over, but in my mind, you don't know that it's over yet. You're doing anything, thinking, 'Oh God, maybe if I put a cork up myself, maybe it'll keep this little life in.' That's why in 'Spark', I say, 'She's convinced she could hold back a glacier/But she couldn't keep baby alive.' You just start going insane. There's nothing you can do, so so you surrender and then... start again.

The timing for an Amos release has never been better, as the mainstream has apparently caught up to the singer/songwriter's quirky brand of pop music. She meets fans halfway with this first single from the imminent, much-anticipated new album, From the Choirgirl Hotel, by infusing the song's complex, piano-driven structure with a sticky chorus and ample use of scratchy angst-rock guitars. Amos continues to explore the far regions of her vocal range, yelping and ranting at whim. However, she counters that with welcome softer nuances that serve the song well. Add an insinuating, tribalistic midtempo drum, and you have what could be a major pop breakthrough for this eternal critical darling. – Billboard (April 1998)

Music video

Amos requested the video for "Spark" to be directed by James Brown, who originally had a different idea for the video that Amos didn't like; she requested wanting something "where a girl has a will to live." The video was shot in Dartmoor, South West England and took three days to finish.

You don't really know what's going to happen to her, but that's not the point. She's trusting her instincts in a way she never has before, she's finding something in herself she never knew even existed. The man who's trying to find me, probably is the driver. You don't really know too much about him, but you know she's got to get away from him. The water shot – it was about an hour and a half. It was 5:30 at night, and the sun was going down. [switches to up-close shot where she wriggles from the blindfold] Here, right here, I'm in a different water tank, and they had me swimming around for a while trying to get close-up shots. [About the overhead shot where we see Amos running along the banks of the river directly after the water sequence] Well, that was my double, right there. She was walking in a forest while I was shooting all this, because it took hours to get those two seconds. I had changes of clothes – I had wet clothes and dry clothes, and in the middle of the forest the girls would stand around me in their parkas and I'm putting the wet clothes on and putting on the muddy clothes to get the right outfit at the right time. "Here [the car at the end], these two are brother and sister, and they're in the album artwork, where they look like angels in the artwork, although here they're very much like the Village of the Damned . You don't know what's going to happen to this girl, but she has a will to live. [2]

I really had no idea that I was going to be crawling through a river on my knees in England in the cold, but I started to get into the story and I really believed that this girl, it was about striving, ...she wanted to live so desperately that she would do anything to do that. All you know is this car crash saved her life so the idea "some things that are really horrible", yea they are horrible, but then you move on and then maybe "wow". She was in the back of this trunk, the car crashed, her life is saved because of what you think is a horrible thing normally -- a car crash -- and then she starts to find a will in herself to strive, to stay alive, she stars believing in her ability to get through. [It was shot] in one of the moors in Dartmoor and that was really mud. [Skeeter] was something special. I think the main thing is you know he's out there looking for her, whether he's one of the Cray brothers or you're not quite sure. But she's finding her way, having to trust her instincts. The truth is I love this director so much, James Brown, from the Apollo 440 video. He turned in a treatment to me that I just said "I love you but this treatment is so not the spirit of this piece ...take me to the water." ...You don't know sometimes where you're gonna go from one minute to the next. Life is that precious and I think people forget that we don't know where we're gonna be in an hour from now. We don't really appreciate that. What I love is that from one second to the next, she doesn't know how she's gonna get through but she's coming through for herself. It was freezing. It was a body double on set who was supposed to go into the river, but she hyperventilated. She was so sweet, she's this amazing athlete but she wouldn't go in. She's a wonderful person and so it was like "ok somebody's gotta do it and we're the only two people with red hair so it's my turn." There's a lot [of symbolism] in the whole video, like a hundred things that James put in as subtext. - MTV TRL Interview with Carson Daly, 1998 [3]

Track listings

UK CD single, part 1

  1. "Spark" – 4:12
  2. "Purple People (Christmas in Space)" – 3:43
  3. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – 3:43
  4. "Bachelorette" – 3:35

UK CD single, part 2

  1. "Spark" – 4:12
  2. "Do It Again" – 6:04 (Steely Dan)
  3. "Cooling" – 4:41

US promotional 12" vinyl

  1. "Spark" (album version) – 4:12
  2. "Spark" (instrumental version) – 4:14

US 7" vinyl single (Atlantic 7-84104)

  1. "Spark" (album version) – 4:12
  2. "Purple People" – 3:41

US maxi CD single

  1. "Spark" – 4:12
  2. "Purple People (Christmas in Space)" – 3:43
  3. "Bachelorette" – 3:35

Charts

Chart (1998)Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) [4] 50
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100) [5] 80
Scotland (OCC) [6] 18
UK Singles (OCC) [7] 16
US Billboard Hot 100 [8] 49
US Adult Alternative Songs ( Billboard ) [9] 13
US Alternative Airplay ( Billboard ) [10] 13
US Mainstream Top 40 ( Billboard ) [11] 32

Related Research Articles

Tori Amos American musician

Myra Ellen "Tori" Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. She was expelled at the age of 11 for what Rolling Stone described as "musical insubordination". Amos was the lead singer of the short-lived 1980s pop group Y Kant Tori Read before achieving her breakthrough as a solo artist in the early 1990s. Her songs focus on a broad range of topics, including sexuality, feminism, politics and religion.

<i>From the Choirgirl Hotel</i> 1998 studio album by Tori Amos

From the Choirgirl Hotel is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos, released on May 5, 1998. A departure from her previous albums, it was more a heavily produced project featuring elements of electronic music and a full rock band sound. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 6 in the UK. While falling short of the number 2 debut for her previous album, Boys for Pele (1996), From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos's strongest debut to date in US sales, selling 153,000 copies in the first week. As of 2008 it has sold 778,000 copies in US. In 1999, Amos received two Grammy nominations: Alternative Music Performance, and Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Raspberry Swirl".

<i>Boys for Pele</i> 1996 studio album by Tori Amos

Boys for Pele is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos. Preceded by the first single, "Caught a Lite Sneeze", by three weeks, the album was released on January 22, 1996, in the United Kingdom, on January 23 in the United States, and on January 29 in Australia. Despite the album being Amos's least accessible radio material to date, Boys for Pele debuted at number two on both the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart, making it her biggest simultaneous transatlantic debut, her first Billboard top 10 debut, and the highest-charting US debut of her career to date.

<i>Under the Pink</i> 1994 studio album by Tori Amos

Under the Pink is the second studio album by singer-songwriter Tori Amos. Upon its release in January 1994, the album debuted atop the UK Albums Chart on the back of the hit single "Cornflake Girl", and peaked at number 12 in the US.

Hyperballad 1996 song by Björk

"Hyperballad" is the fourth single from Post, a studio album by Icelandic musician and recording artist Björk. The song was written by Björk and co-produced by long time collaborator Nellee Hooper. The recording sessions of Post and hence "Hyperballad" took place in Compass Point Studios, The Bahamas, allegedly to save tax money. "Hyperballad" infuses folktronica, acid house and synth-pop.

<i>I Megaphone</i> 1998 studio album by Imogen Heap

I Megaphone is the debut studio album by British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. It was released on 16 June 1998 by Almo Sounds, and later re-released in Japan by Aozora Records on 23 January 2002. The album was primarily written by Heap, starting when she was 15 years old, with co-writing from Guy Sigsworth and Fil Eisler. It was first produced and recorded solely by Heap and Dave Stewart, though it was subsequently re-recorded alongside producers David Kahne and Guy Sigsworth. It is an alternative rock record with largely confessional lyricism, addressing themes ranging from adolescent drug use and revenge to perseverance and religion. The album's title is an anagram of "Imogen Heap".

Starfuckers, Inc. Nine Inch Nails song

"Starfuckers, Inc." is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from the 1999 album The Fragile. Although the song does not have an official halo, an edited single was distributed with exclusive radio edits and a video for the song was produced.

Silent All These Years 2021 single by Tori Amos

"Silent All These Years" is a song by American singer-songwriter and musician Tori Amos. It was released as the second single from her debut studio album Little Earthquakes. It was originally released in November 1991 in the UK by EastWest Records. It was released in North America in April 1992 by Atlantic Records and was later used to promote awareness of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). In the UK the single was re-released on August 10, 1992.

A Sorta Fairytale 2002 single by Tori Amos

"A Sorta Fairytale" is a song written and performed by singer-songwriter Tori Amos. It was released as the first single from her 2002 album Scarlet's Walk. The song reached #14 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, and #1 on the Triple A chart. The song has since been featured in episodes of the television shows Nip/Tuck and The L Word. There are three commercially released versions of the song: the album version (5:30), the 101 Mix (4:00) and the original single version (4:01). It was released as a CD single (UK/Canada) with "Operation Peter Pan" as the B-side, and as a DVD single (US) with the music video, co-starring Adrien Brody.

<i>A Piano: The Collection</i> 2006 box set by Tori Amos

A Piano: The Collection is a five-disc box set spanning the first 15 years of the solo career of American singer and song-writer Tori Amos. Released on September 26, 2006 by Rhino Records as part of the contract Amos negotiated with Warner Bros., the set consists of classics, rarities, demos, B-sides and a string of unreleased songs from album sessions.

Tori Amos discography

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer-songwriter whose musical career began in 1980, at the age of seventeen, when she and her brother co-wrote the song "Baltimore". The song was selected as the winning song in a contest for the Baltimore Orioles and was recorded and pressed locally as a 7" single. From 1984 to 1989, Amos fronted the synth-pop band Y Kant Tori Read, which released one self-titled album with Atlantic Records in 1988 before breaking up. Shortly thereafter, Amos began writing and recording material that would serve as the debut of her solo career. Still signed with Atlantic, and its UK counterpart East West, Amos' initial solo material was rejected by the label in 1990. Under the guidance of co-producers Eric Rosse, Davitt Sigerson and Ian Stanley, a second version of the album was created and accepted by the label the following year.

<i>American Doll Posse</i> 2007 studio album by Tori Amos

American Doll Posse is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Tori Amos, released in 2007 by Epic records. A concept album, American Doll Posse sees Amos assuming the identity of five different female personalities inspired by Greek mythology in order to narrate stories of life in modern America. Themes include opposition to the Iraq War, recording industry misogyny, disillusion, sexuality, personal loss and female empowerment in general. Musically, the album is more rock-oriented than other studio albums by Amos, notably featuring more guitar and drums than previous albums The Beekeeper (2005) and Scarlet's Walk (2002).

Jackies Strength 1998 single by Tori Amos

"Jackie's Strength" is a song by Tori Amos, released as the second single from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel. It reached #54 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart. The remix single, released the following year, reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in the U.S. The lyrics refer to Jackie Onassis, there is also a brief reference to the Kennedy assassination, though Amos herself explained that the song also concerns her own personal doubts about marriage. Amos reiterated this in an interview with columnist Steven Daly in Rolling Stone.

Dont Make Me Come to Vegas

"Don't Make Me Come to Vegas" is a song by singer-songwriter Tori Amos that originally appeared on her album Scarlet's Walk (2002). Following the success of previous remix singles "Professional Widow" (1996), "In the Springtime of his Voodoo" (1996) and "Jackie's Strength" (1998), the song was remixed in the same vein and served as the third single from the album. The single, released exclusively in the United States on 12" vinyl in a picture sleeve, features three remixes of the album version of the track by Timo Maas.

<i>Abnormally Attracted to Sin</i> 2009 studio album by Tori Amos

Abnormally Attracted to Sin is the tenth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Tori Amos, released 19 May 2009, in standard and limited CD/DVD edition. The album debuted on Billboard 200 at no. 9, giving Amos her seventh Top 10 album in the US. Unlike Amos' previous releases since 2000, which drew upon various external sources such as feminism, religion and politics, the album is considered a mainly personal album.

<i>Midwinter Graces</i> 2009 studio album by Tori Amos

Midwinter Graces is the eleventh solo studio album by singer-songwriter Tori Amos released on November 10, 2009, through Universal Republic Records. It is the first seasonal album by Amos, and is also notable for marking her return to a more classical, stripped-down, baroque sound with various synths, string-instruments, the harpsichord and Amos's own signature Bösendorfer piano at center stage, once more. The album, like previous releases from Amos, is available in a single form CD or a Deluxe edition which includes 3 bonus tracks, a 20-page photo book, and a DVD containing an interview with Amos. The standard edition was not released in the US or Canada.

Raspberry Swirl 1998 single by Tori Amos

"Raspberry Swirl" is a song written and performed by Tori Amos. It was released as the second single from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel in Germany and Australia, and as the third and final single in North America and the UK. In the United States it was released as a double A-side single with "Cruel", off the same album. In Germany, Australia and the UK it was released as its own single. Two variations of an identical 12" vinyl promotional release were issued in the U.K.

Taxi Ride 2003 single by Tori Amos

"Taxi Ride" is a song by American recording artist Tori Amos from her seventh studio album Scarlet's Walk (2002). The song was released as the album's second single in January 2003. It was written, composed and produced by Amos. The song is a folk pop track, which features instrumentation of electric guitars, drums, bongos, and acoustic guitar. The track was her second offering after departing from Atlantic Records and signed with Epic Records.

Glory of the 80s 1999 single by Tori Amos

"Glory of the 80's" is a song by American singer-songwriter Tori Amos. It is the fourth track on Amos' 1999 album To Venus and Back. It was issued as the first single from the album in Europe and Australasia. Part one of the single was released in Australia on October 11, 1999, and both parts were released a month later in Europe and the UK on November 1, 1999. The song reached #46 on the UK singles chart, having the lowest debut since her 1994 single God when both parts of the single were recalled early for a misprint in the credits. In Australia, the single peaked at #81 on the ARIA singles chart, becoming Amos' final single to reach the top 100 there.

Maybe California

"Maybe California" is a song by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos from her tenth studio album Abnormally Attracted to Sin (2009). It was released as a promotional single May 19, 2009 by Universal Republic as a digital download only.

References

  1. http://www.hereinmyhead.com/collect/choir/choir1.html – Tori; Q Magazine, May 1998
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 9, 2009. Retrieved November 2, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) – hereinmyhead.com
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmmvwkaXqik – MTV TRL 1998 Interview with Carson Daly
  4. "Australian-charts.com – Tori Amos – Spark". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  5. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media . Vol. 15 no. 19. May 9, 1998. p. 14. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  6. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  7. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  8. "Tori Amos Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  9. "Tori Amos Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  10. "Tori Amos Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  11. "Tori Amos Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2020.