The lyric, "Where's Neil when you need him?" refers to Tori's friend Neil Gaiman, an English fantasy author at the time known for his comic series The Sandman
. Later a tribute album for Gaiman came out with the lyric as the album's title.
Amy - Portland, OR
The line, "Is she still pissin' in a river," is a nod to Patti Smith's 1976 tune "Pissin' In A River." Amos explained the references to Gaiman and Smith, and how they tie in with the meaning of the song: "When I make the reference to Neil Gaiman and Patti Smith, or when I say 'deck the halls,' this is going into the past where I had visions of how I thought things would turn out. Always coming back to you the people that haunt you. 'It's you again, it's you again' or 'Is she still pissin' in a river, heard she'd moved into a trailer park,' meaning didn't carry the torch as far as she could. The song is about giving your power to someone else - passing the torch."
Under The Pink, Amos' sophomore solo album, debuted at #1 in the UK, where the singer also made a big impression with her first release, Little Earthquakes.
Most of the album was written and recorded in New Mexico, where Amos first met the "Space Dog" via a drawing on a mud wall. She kept returning to the image and imagining it was speaking to her like her own personal deity. It gets stranger. While on a plane to Chicago, the dog helped her psychically connect with a troubled teen who lived somewhere down below, near a 7-Eleven. "All of a sudden I hear this voice. It's this dog talking to me," the singer recalled during a 1994 concert in Holland. "And it goes, 'Tori, check out the guy in Chicago.' I said, 'What guy in Chicago?' 'Listen to that kid down there.' I'm like, 'Huh?' And I'm like listening, right. And I hear this guy thinking, I hear him going, 'I am not sitting here with these people. They are not my parents. I'm like, totally grossed out by these people,' and was like, talking into his peas. And he's going, you know, 'Get me outta here, get me outta here, these people belong on Oprah Winfrey.' And um, he's like, 'Lemon pie, do you read me, do you read me?' And I'm like, 'I read you, buddy.'"
In her autobiography Piece By Piece, Amos explained the lemon pie reference came from one of her band members. While they were all eating at a diner, he started goofing off and talking to his dessert, saying, "Lemon pie, can you read me? Over. Lemon pie, am I coming through? Over."