Rewind: Tori Amos—“Icicle”

By Carey Roach

I vividly remember my first encounter with Tori Amos. I was thirteen, and spent every Wednesday evening sitting through painful music theory lessons. My teacher usually had a classical record playing in the background, but she decided to switch out Beethoven for Amos one week. From then on, I was hooked, and Tori Amos quickly became the most influential artist of my adolescence.

In many ways, my love for “Icicle” was an afterthought. It did not originally stick out when I first began devouring Amos’ large and complex discography, but eventually I appreciated the song’s beauty and genius. Like much of Tori’s work, this song grapples with the complex relationship between female sexuality and religion. Anchored by a simple and eerily pretty piano melody reminiscent of a church hymn, “Icicle” questions the social constructs forced upon Amos as a young woman. She is convinced that “the Good Book is missing some pages,” and is not afraid to vocalize that.

Perhaps most impressively, the obvious masturbation references still manage to sound eloquent and poetic, which is something that very few songwriters can pull off (other than Sufjan Stevens, of course). Although the song is instrumentally comprised of mainly just piano, “Icicle” still sounds full, poignant and undeniably powerful.

“Icicle” is an underappreciated song by a criminally underappreciated artist. It embodies the passion, creativity and rawness that makes Tori Amos so special, and resonates with me just as much today as it did many years ago.


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