Devil's Bane

Album: Ocean To Ocean (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • While Tori Amos was confined to her Cornwall home during the UK's third coronavirus lockdown, her only means of escape was via her imagination. One psychic escape took her on a train through the desert in the Southwest, which is the basis of this haunting Ocean To Ocean cut. The tune finds her fleeing a volatile relationship and knocking back shots of Tequila to drown out the memories of her self-righteous ex's abusive rages.

    "I needed to write about certain emotions that I had experienced over the last year and that a lot of us have experienced, but a relationship was the story frame," she told Entertainment Weekly. "It just seemed right that this train would run through the Southwest."
  • Ocean To Ocean is Amos' 16th studio album. It features the singles "Speaking With Trees" and "Spies."
  • Your soul he's seekin'
    All the while he's preachin'


    Amos is the daughter of a Methodist minister, so the song's Christian imagery is in her DNA. "I understand how with someone charismatic, not necessarily someone religious, one can fall under their control," she told NME.
  • Amos took inspiration from someone she knew whose partner had constantly criticized her during lockdown. The singer formed her friend's experience into a "story of how you can almost lose yourself and your self-worth if you need somebody's validation."

    "It takes a lot of courage to walk away from that situation, and not everybody is willing to do that, but this person had the courage," she continued. "I would say we've all been there at some point. I couldn't have written about it had I not experienced it myself. I've drunk from that devil's bane, my friend, so I understood it. And by then, I had some energy again and my pencil was sharpening, so the song came."

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