Song Analysis

Playboy Mommy

Thursday 8 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

(coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song.)

“In ’Playboy Mommy’, I’m much of a voluptuous, you know, but I’m allowed to do that because I’m a writer... so its like, I make myself in that way. And I saw myself in a different way than I am - with a thirteen year old daughter… and a mother/daughter relationship just not being enough. I saw my mother, you know I saw how I felt when I was... not ashamed, but that moment of why couldn’t you be the thing that I wanted you to be and I realized that I would probably... have that in my heart” (from the choirgirl hotel electronic press kit, video)

“I was pregnant. I got pregnant on tour, it was a surprise, but I was deeply thrilled about it. I was almost three months pregnant... Christmas ’96... and I miscarried. And it was very difficult. The sorrow was just really deep. I know some people who’ve gone through it and they move on quickly. Everybody responds differently to a loss. I got quite attached to the spirit of this being....It was a girl. That’s why on Playboy Mommy, I sing, "Don’t judge me so harsh little girl." I had so many responses to it before I could get to the place where I am now. You see people hit their kids in stores and you just go, What force of judgment gives these people these little lives? I have a lot of questions right now. I know it’s a free-will planet. Things happen. But you know that saying, Bad things don’t happen to good people? That’s a painful lie, and it hits you on such a core level. I know now that I have an appreciation for the miracle of life that I didn’t have, but I don’t believe in the saying that it all happens for the best... it’s just not appropriate.” (Q magazine, May 1998)

"I didn’t know when I was gonna make another record when I got pregnant. I was going to put things on hold for a while. But the music became vital again, as it always seems to. Songs started to come, and they showed me different ways of feeling and expressing, ways that surprised me. Playboy Mommy dealt with my feelings of rejection - ’Wasn’t I good enough to be your mother, didn’t you want me? Well, don’t come then. Go choose some little right-wing Christian for your mother.’ It’s a human response." (Rolling Stone, June 1998)

“I saw her [Playboy Mommy] very much as a Magdalene figure. I saw her as someone who had become quite disreputable because of the means she used to survive. There was something in me that aligned with this disreputable woman that people have a hard time with. Sometimes you have to accomplish things in not-so-pretty ways. I saw strength in her. She can do things that those women accepted in the literary circles cannot do because she can swallow... This woman in Playboy Mommy, she’ll swallow. She’ll swallow a billion seeds to protect this little girl” (Alternative Press, July 1998)

"I had written this thing and I couldn’t get the first line. I was in France with my friend Beenie, I go a lot of places with my friend Beenie. We were there with another friend of hers and her mother. Anyway, 2 of them were having an argument, so I decided champagne for everybody was a good idea. And thats what you do in France, and it was like, after lunch, so thats good...that’s improvement. And anyway they make very good champagne, we had Krug and if you know if you ever have that experience, just like, even if you have to steal it...it’s really worth the experience. So. okay, I sent champagne around because everyone is arguing, and Beenie comes to like update me on the fighting on who’s winning. And so I’m standing at the top of the stairs in a schmoozy suite, I’m embarassed to say, but I was.

And so we’re standing at the top, and she goes ’let’s go out to the deck and talk about this.’ So its one of those round stair cases like they have on the Love Boat. And so I’m in these Prada Studio platforms, and I’m at the top of the stairs and I fall all the way down stairs cause I trip on my platform shoes, it serves me right. So I trip all the way down and I lie flat on my face, and I swear to Christ, I’m lying flat and my nose is like taped to the rug, and I said ’oh Beenie I need more champagne, this is so horrible’. But I laid there and I go ’oh my god Beenie oh my god, I have a first line.’" (End Sessions KNDD, September 1998)