Song Analysis

Bliss

Friday 9 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

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

"Actually it’s about my relationship with the Christian god. Instead of ’Father who art in heaven’, its ’Father, i killed my monkey’ and because my father um..Methodist minister..my grandparents church of god ministers. Theyre gone now. But it was very much about the Marys, the two Marys were divided, the Magdalene and the Mother Mary, divided in the psyche. So, the Mother Mary..the way I see it and the way I think a lot of mythology people that I respect see it is that she was severed from her sexuality, the Mother Mary, and the Mary Magdalene was severed from her spirituality and her wisdom. So, there’s a division here...of almost this...circumcision of women, Christian women have had to work through for the last 2000 years, and I feel the control that’s really gone on. You know this whole thing of divide and conquer, it’s a joke really. Divide and conquer...what, a village? No, divide and conquer a person with themselves, that’s control. Then, you think you have to go through these people for some kind of soul purification some kind of acceptance and forgiveness, and I’m like no, no. The Christian god can sit over there, and we can have a chat, and he can do stuff I can’t do, I’m only a woman. But no, there’s gotta be respect that I’m a woman, he’s multi -dimensional.

But, I don’t see the Christian god for me as the divine being. I think there are a lot of gods in a lot of cultures that have things to say, and some of them I disagree with, and some of them I think have a lot of deep truth. But in ’Bliss’, it was very much...I’m part of you, I’m made of you, and there’s gotta be a point where I don’t have to keep being something in your eyes. Now, this is the Christian teaching, we’re not walking into, you know, Cherokee teaching. we’re talking about the Christian teaching that I was brought up with, and this is my line in the sand really saying, wow, we’ve got this groovy relationship, don’t we? Christian woman, Christian god. So, I’m marrying the two Marys in my own being, in my psyche." (Charlie Rose PBS, October 19, 1999)

"Sometimes, when you express thoughts to people, you leave it open for somebody to tromp in there and start tearing it down. I sing, ’Father I killed my monkey, ’ to lead off the song, which explains that sometimes you even destroy your own, so they can’t excavate it. When I was growing up, I started becoming very secretive about my thoughts and the sensory world I would go to, because there’s a lot of mind control that goes on constantly, people wanting access: ’What are you thinking?’ So sometimes I’d have my own defense going, which would be to look them straight in the eye and make them think I’ve killed my imagination. But it’s like, I’ll take control." (Alternative Press, October 1999)

"I guess my parents are in there (the song), but to me it’s not just about the biological father, but also the authority figure, whoever it is that I put in that position. Bliss is really about control, and about certain things in our DNA that you can’t use a strainer to get rid of. You can’t separate completely from whoever made you, because they’re a part of you." (Mojo, November 1999)

"...in ’Bliss’ instead of ’Father who art in heaven’, it’s ’Father I killed my monkey’, so there are moments when it becomes more about the intimacy, whether I’m singing that about my father or about God, the Father." (Record Collector, November 1999)