Raspberry Swirl

Album: From The Choirgirl Hotel (1998)

Songfacts®:

  • The title of this alt-rock tune is a euphemism for cunnilingis, and Tori Amos takes aim at men who fail to provide it. In particular, she's singing about her friend's lackluster love life and implies she'll do the deed if the men aren't willing. In reality, Amos explains that when she "plays the role of the man" in her female friendships, it's on an emotional rather than physical level. "The animus in me is 'Raspberry Swirl.' I'm in love with my women friends, but I just don't eat pussy," she told Alternative Press in 1998. "But I'm still in love with them. If I had a different sensibility, then you know I think I could, you know, really fulfill someone down there, where a lot of men in their lives don't. And eating pussy is a metaphor, too - it's about crawling in there, being with their juices, really being with them."
  • This was inspired by Amos' longtime female friend Beenie (who's also mentioned as the pot-smoking sleepover companion in "Jackie's Strength"). In her VH1 Storytellers special, the singer described their friendship as a marriage and called Beenie the love of her life. She explained: "My husband understands this, that we're married. We're absolutely married. And I adore her with all my heart. And she's dated some idiots. And I hope you're watching. I want you to know what I think of you and in another life, I'll absolutely kick your ass. And I'm going to kick it right now actually, because this is for her and I'm in love with her."
  • This was the last single from Amos' fourth solo album. In the US, it was released as a double A-side with "Cruel."
  • This was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards but lost to "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette. It was Amos' first single to earn a Grammy nomination.
  • The music video was directed by Scott Lyon and Barnaby Roper, who are professionally known as Barnaby & Scott (Moby's "Find My Baby"). In the clip, Amos chases a young boy through shrinking corridors until she stumbles upon a dance party and a group of children gorging themselves at a dessert buffet. According to Amos, the imagery was inspired by an urban Alice In Wonderland feel.
  • From The Choirgirl Hotel, Amos' fourth solo album, found her veering away from her signature minimalist piano and bringing in elements of electronic music. The accompanying Plugged '98 tour found her touring with a full band for the first time. While the album didn't perform quite as well as its predecessor, the #2 hit Boys For Pele, it still landed in the top 5 and went on to sell a million copies.

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