Song Analysis

Big Wheel

Thursday 25 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

[article coming soon. In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song.]

“‘Big.’ One of my favorite words, along with ‘Little.’ Now if I’m a guy, I’m probably going to prefer the word ‘Big’ when associated with my abilities, rather than my other favorite word. As a woman, I don’t mind at all if the whole world thinks that I have a Big Aspiration to straddle that piano stool every night for over 100 shows by Christmas. I don’t mind that at all.” (AOL Music, March 2007)

According to Amos, “Big Wheel” was one of those songs that wrote it self.

“It was the Summer Solstice last year, and we’d been working in the studio recording. That night the song came to me in a dream. Everyone was still asleep, and I got out of bed and ran to the piano to try to get down as much of the melody and words as fast as I could. I felt so alive while I was trying to hold the dream before it slipped away. My whole body was alive. By the time everyone was awake, the song was finished.” (The New York Post, April 24, 2007)

Her good dreams come complete with a company of players, which she describes as her musical fantasy, the songs presenting themselves subconsciously as as “a gift” she can later work with. Such was the case during last year’s summer solstice, when she woke at four in the morning and began scribbling frantically on the backs of books. She ran over to the studio to begin recording and, by the time the house awoke, she had finished. (The Sunday Herald, April 29, 2007)

“It was during this crazy 19-days recording session, which was 10-12 hours a day, and I got up one morning with this rhythm and this song in my head. I ran across to the studio barefoot, as the sun was coming up, and I wrote the idea down and then went over to check my computer and my niece had sent me a note, knowing that I was recording, saying ‘whatever you do today, just remember you are a M-I-L-F!’ and straight away I knew that was it. I had been christened and I’ve embraced it.” (BMA, September 2007)

“I woke up hearing it in my head. And I ran down and started to record it later that day. That was just one of those that happened. Some of them, you don’t know, maybe there’s something in your mind that has been going on for a long, long, long, long time. And all of a sudden, it comes together. And it just came together in a dream.” (News-Press, November 16, 2007)

about her use of the MILF acronym in "Big Wheel"

"Well, if you’re a mother, there’s nothing repulsive about it. If you are a nurturing mother, and a good one, you can go to play groups, sit on the floor and play all the games, and have tea with the other mothers, but wouldn’t you like to think that’s not all there is? That you haven’t hung up your high heels without knowing how to walk in them? I’m really quite happy to say that in my early 40s, I wake up feeling sexy, and I can’t say I felt that way in my late 20s."

Q: Are you reclaiming the word MILF?

"I don’t think it’s that. I wouldn’t do a thesis on it, but I think if young boys have no problem using it, why can’t the women who are our age use it?" (New York Magazine, May 2007)

“It was during this crazy 19-days recording session, which was 10-12 hours a day, and I got up one morning with this rhythm and this song in my head. I ran across to the studio barefoot, as the sun was coming up, and I wrote the idea down and then went over to check my computer and my niece had sent me a note, knowing that I was recording, saying ‘whatever you do today, just remember you are a M-I-L-F!’ and straight away I knew that was it. I had been christened and I’ve embraced it.” (BMA, September 2007)

"It’s funny because I’m not saying it to get your approval or to get you to agree — I don’t care what you think of me. This is about a woman looking at herself and claiming it because until she can she’s powerless. Then we’re looking for you all to call us pretty or sexy. And when a woman says, “I’m enough,” then the game is won." (Ohio News-Herald, October 29, 2007)

Q: Your best lyric ever was written for Doll Posse. “M-I-L-F…Don’t You Forget.” What inspired that?

"My niece, who at the time was 13. She wanted me to put on a bikini for my husband. I said, ’I don’t know.’ She said, ’Put it on for Uncle Mark.’ I said, ’Things are fine for me and Uncle Mark.’ She said, ’You’re a MILF, put it on.’ She has been calling me that constantly." (Cleveland Free Times, October 31, 2007)

On sassy tune “Big Wheel,” the musician uses the naughty acronym, which was inspired by – get this – her then-13-year-old niece while vacationing at Amos’ Florida beach house. While waiting for her husband, sound engineer Mark Hawley, to fly in, her niece urged her to slip into a skimpy bikini. “She said, ‘Just put this on.’ And I said, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Come on! Come on! You’re a MILF! Start acting like it!’” (Between the Lines, October 25, 2007)