Amos said in Deluxe magazine, May 1998: "'Spark' is about when I miscarried in 1996. I was three months pregnant and very excited. All of a sudden I woke up one morning and started to feel bad. The songs started coming soon after. I was really angry at God. Going into a shopping mall and seeing some woman knock the head off her child, I'm going - 'So this is fair?' I don't know where the spirit went, whether she picked another mummy, like, 'OK, choose her, then! Hope you're tone deaf!'"
Amos (from Q
magazine, May 1998: "Once you've felt life in your body, you can't go back to having been a woman that's never carried life. The other thing is feeling something dying inside you and you're still alive. Obviously when it was happening, it was already over, but in my mind, you don't know that it's over yet. You're doing anything, thinking, Oh God, maybe if I put a cork up myself, maybe it'll keep this little life in. That's why in 'Spark,' I say, 'She's convinced she could hold back a glacier/But she couldn't keep baby alive.' You just start going insane. There's nothing you can do, so so you surrender and then... start again."
Yana - Ariel
Amos sings about trusting to her soul to the "ice cream assassin." When Rolling Stone asked her who that was, she replied, "Well, people have been praying to him for a very long time and more wars have been fought in his name. The big guy. Think about it."
To illustrate how much her faith in God has been damaged, she ponders, "Maybe next time I'll give Judas a try." Judas Iscariot was the apostle who betrayed Jesus by assisting authorities in the capture that led to his execution. She'd rather place her trust in a notorious traitor than the God who allowed her miscarriage happen.
At #49, this was Amos' highest-charting single in the US. It was also her last Top 40 single in the UK.
From The Choirgirl Hotel is Amos' fourth studio album, which nudged her further into the mainstream with the addition of a full rock band (Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Steve Caton on guitar) to accompany her signature piano. The album peaked at #5 in the US and was certified Platinum (1 million sales) in 2000.
Tori enlisted director James Brown (Apollo 440's "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Dub") to helm the music video, but she didn't like his initial treatment. Instead, she told him she wanted the clip to be about a girl who's fighting to survive. The video opens with Tori bound and blindfolded on a leaves-covered ground. She has been kidnapped but a car crash has freed her from her captor, who pursues her through the forest. She eventually reaches the highway, but a passing car refuses to help her and leaves her stranded.
She spoke about the video, which was filmed in Dartmoor, South West England, over a three-day period, in an MTV TRL interview. "I really had no idea that I was going to be crawling through a river on my knees in England in the cold, but I started to get into the story and I really believed that this girl, it was about striving," she explained. "She wanted to live so desperately that she would do anything to do that. All you know is this car crash saved her life so the idea 'some things that are really horrible,' yeah they are horrible, but then you move on and then maybe 'wow.' She was in the back of this trunk, the car crashed, her life is saved because of what you think is a horrible thing normally - a car crash - and then she starts to find a will in herself to strive, to stay alive, she starts believing in her ability to get through."
The scene in the video when Tori falls into the river and thrashes around to remove her blindfold was supposed to be done by her body double, but the woman hyperventilated and couldn't do it. "She was so sweet, she's this amazing athlete but she wouldn't go in," the singer recalled. "She's a wonderful person and so it was like, 'OK, somebody's gotta do it and we're the only two people with red hair so it's my turn.'"