Thought I knew you well
Thought I had read the sky
Thought I had read a change
in your eyes...

Strange is the fourth song on Tori Amos's album Scarlet's Walk. It's a wound down, wondering song, appealing both to ear and mind. The artist uses her most velvety voice, but despite that, this is a song about waking up. Time has come for a change, and to her surprise, the change this time is in the main person and nobody else.

so strange
Woke up to a world
that I am
not a part
except when I can
play it's stranger

The song can easily be read as a continuation of Wednesday, the preceding song, after the woman has come to terms with this change in her: She can't accept the life she leads any more. She's been keeping herself a secret, hiding her own self while adapting to all her lover's wishes.

"just stay"
you said
"we'll build a nest"
so I left my
Tried on your
Tried on your

Looking back, she sees her submission to the life of the man in her life. She used to think he was right in everything, now finds that she may have been right, too. It's the kind of mistake every schoolgirl makes, but Scarlet is not a schoolgirl anymore. She is a mature woman. Realising it is time to sort out her childhood mistakes, she makes up her mind to leave.

So when the Bridges froze
and you
did not come home
I put our snowflake
under a microscope

Mainly this is a story about love that didn't quite work, but following the theme of the CD, it is also yet another reflection on America. "Scarlet has taken on the beliefs of her lovers and on another level those of her country. But she's begun to question them. We are taught that America stands for democracy. But that's not what she's seeing." (Tori Amos in Scarlet's Walk bio)

After all what was I
really looking for and I wonder
when will I learn
Maybe my wish
knew better than I did
and I wonder
when will I learn
when will I learn

While her decision slowly crystalizes, Scarlet keeps on travelling. The geography for this trip is a rather straight journey through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, all snow country. Snow stands for... cool, rational thinking, the cooling and death of a relationship, and maybe a white sheet of new possibilities.

Scarlet also visits the sites of some of the last stands of the native American people, such as Little Big Horn. This foreshadows some of the later themes in the songs on Scarlet's Walk. From there, she journeys on through the Bad Lands.

guess I was in Deeper than
I thought I was
if I have enough love
for the both of us

What's strange about this song to me is the smoothness and the easy-to-understand lyrics, something one hasn't come to expect from Tori, but she has mellowed in recent years. The Wurlitzer is the smoothmaker above all, it sounds like a mix between bells and a piano. In addition there are scattered string arrangements, a pleasure on the ears as always. As usual, the supporting vocals are all done by Tori herself. This gives the chorused words a deeper resonance instead of just sounding nice.

so strange
now I'm finally in the
Party has begun
it's not like I can't feel you still
but strange
what I will leave behind
you call me one more
but now I must
be leaving

This song is followed by Carbon.

CST Approved