On this electronic track, Tori Amos takes a trip back to 1985, where there's a party going on with a bunch of self-assured people that are living their best lives. That's the essence of the '80s as Amos remembers it. She was particularly inspired by "the honesty of the decadence of that decade," before political correctness and censorship hold in the '90s.
She told the UK publication Attitude: "There's the line 'and then, just when it all seemed clear you go and disappear.' I knew a lot of great people in the '80s but at the time I didn't always understand them. Now, there's such a void in the art world, people with vision have physically passed on. It's also a stab at political correctness - you can't say this, you can't say that - now everybody has to be called a Spanish American, an African American and I mean, oh bloody, f--king hell!!! I understand the abuses that have happened and I absolutely think recompense should be paid, but you don't do it just on a surface level. Everybody thinks that the debt has been paid to the 'quote unquote' Indians who had their land taken away from them because we call them Native Americans. It's hard when everything is so eggshell, eggshell, eggshell. I do miss the '80s. It was great, knowing that friends were on one hand dialing a charity and on the other hand doing a line of blow - but not lying about it, being honest. None of us are this light and dark fantasy. What's dark to you may be light to me and vice versa."
This is the third single from Amos' fifth solo album, To Venus And Back, a two-disc release containing a studio album of new songs and an album of live tracks compiled from her Plugged '98 tour. Many of the tracks, like this one, take her further into the realm of electronica as opposed to her minimalist piano work on her earlier records.
Amos sings of having The Story Of O in the bucket seat of her wannabe Mustang. The Story Of O is a 1954 erotic novel by French author Pauline Réage.
She also mentions "auditioning for reptiles in their Raquel Welch campaign." Welch was a popular actress of the '60s and '70s who went on to do commercials for weight loss products. Before her music career took off, Amos landed a few commercial gigs, including an ad for Crystal Light that starred Welch. According to a 1998 Rolling Stone interview, Welch took issue with Amos' overzealous performance and instructed the director to tell her to "tone it down, please."
Amos wants to "clone myself like that blonde chick that sings Bette Davis eyes." That would be Kim Carnes, who had a #1 hit with "Bette Davis Eyes
" in 1981.
She told All Music how the harpsichord played a subtle-yet-important role on the track. "The harpsichord is very much in 'Glory of the 80's.' She's part of the bed, I cut it live, with the piano. You might not notice it, but she's there. I love that, because 'Glory of the 80's' could be the 1780s," she laughed.
The music video was directed by French filmmaker Erick Ifergan, who also helmed the clip for "1000 Oceans
." Once again, she's trapped inside of a structure, only this one is a futuristic torture chamber. In an interview with Musique Plus
, Amos said the concept was the director's idea. He envisioned her as a modern Joan of Arc-type figure with sexual overtones. "So I'm in this torture chamber that is supposed to be quite fashionable, in his mind. And there you have it," she said.