The links between Trent Reznor, Tori Amos and Neil Gaiman have disturbed me for a long time. No, I'm not referring to the fact that all three are wildly popular with Goth chicks. The connections are far more insidious. Ok, they're not really, but here they are anyway, or at least the ones I've been able to catalog:

  • Amos' song Tear In Your Hand from Little Earthquakes includes the lyric: "If you need me, me and Neil will be hanging out with the Dream King", which is a clear reference to Gaiman and his comic The Sandman.

  • Issue #41 of The Sandman, page 9, panel 5, has the song Tear In Your Hand "playing" in the background, specifically the lyric immediately preceeding the one mentioned above.

  • The Sandman character Delirium, when drawn by artist Jill Thompson, looks a lot like Tori Amos.

  • The Sandman himself, AKA Morpheus, when drawn by artist Jill Thompson, looks a lot like Trent Reznor.

  • Artist Jill Thompson pencilled the Sandman story arc Brief Lives. Issue #41 is the first issue in this story arc.

  • Amos lyric: Space Dog from Under The Pink: "Seems I keep getting this story twisted, so where's Neil when you need him?"

  • Another Amos lyric: Precious Things from Little Earthquakes: "Those Christian boys... with their Nine Inch Nails and little fascist panties tucked inside the heart of every nice girl."

  • Amos has a song, Professional Widow, with the word "starfucker" in what could nominally be called the chorus. Reznor has a song called Starfuckers Inc.

  • Still another Amos lyric: Caught a Lite Sneeze from Boys For Pele: "Caught a lite sneeze, dreamed a little dream, made my own Pretty Hate Machine". Gaiman bonus: Issue #3 of The Sandman is titled "Dream a Little Dream of Me".

  • Reznor sings backup vocals on Amos' song Past The Mission from Under The Pink.

  • Reznor makes frequent references to pigs, especially in lyrics from The Downward Spiral. Amos is pictured inside the sleeve of Boys For Pele breastfeeding a baby pig.

Amos seems to be the nexus; I admit the Reznor-Gaiman links are weak and I'm still looking for more.

Ah, but the Tori Amos-Neil Gaiman connection isn't precisely a secret; Tori and Neil have been friends for several years now. Tori will often reference Neil Gaiman and her friendship in interviews. On the other hand, she hardly ever talks about Trent Reznor, and there's endless speculation about why. Here are a few of the more interesting Tori-Neil connections:

Tori wrote the preface for The High Cost of Living, a limited run comic series that you can now buy as a graphic novel about the Sandman's big sister, Death. In Hotel, a song on From the Choirgirl Hotel Tori asks, "where are the velvets", the velvets are vampire-like creatures that appear in Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere (the novel, incidentally has a review from Tori Amos on the back cover). In Horses, a song from Boys for Pele, Tori sings the line "if Neil makes me a tree"; Neil does so in Stardust, a novel.

It's also of note that Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails both released double-LPs in September '99. The packaging for these albums, To Venus and Back and The Fragile, is dissimilar only in cover art. Both are cardboard foldouts, the CDs on opposite sides, with a track listing in the center. Though only one disc from To Venus and Back is studio work, the sound is very similar to many tracks on The Fragile.

With these new releases, Tori Amos adopted the use of increasingly electronic, almost industrial-sounding drum beats; while Reznor became much more personal, showcasing piano solos, female vocals, and even some chamber music. You might say the two artists met in the middle. "The Day the Whole World Went to Venus and Back?"

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