Song Analysis

Girl

Sunday 7 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

[Song analysis coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes]

"It’s about not listening to yourself but to everyone’s ideas of how you should be as a person. You have to be able to know yourself, to accept what you did, otherwise you end up wearing their opinions like jumpers." (What’s on Birmingham, December 21, 1992)

"I believe that the record [Y Kant Tori Read] has its moments, but I tried too much to be everybody’s girl, because I was not able to listen to myself. You just have to be strong and not only pretending. It is simple to play a tough chick, but it is really boring and, above all, it is sad, because it shows a deep uncertainity, and when you are uncertain, you can not be strong." (Visions, September 1992)

"It’s been four years of working toward the point where I’m enough for myself just because I accept who this girl is. And that’s the way I had to be before I could approach the piano as an equal and not use it. Before, I was really using it the way you would use your last name or who your father was — or whatever you use to feel powerful. But you feel powerful because you’re enough for yourself, just because you’re this person. And that’s where I had to get before I could play again. And it’s something I have to work at every day." (Piano and Keyboeyboard, May/June 1993)

It’s not an aggressive fight. It’s an internal fight, that when you need other people’s approval, when you walk in a room, you’re everybody’s — or anybody’s — girl. When you don’t need that anymore, [it’s] because you have an understanding and an agreement with yourself on who you want to be. And when I say "who you want to be," that’s going to evolve. But at least you’ve got to get your palette, your paint, your canvas, and say, "I’m not choosing to tell this story, which is doing anything to have success." I don’t want that kind of success.

"["Girl’] was being clear with myself that I didn’t want that. Didn’t need that. Because what I was achieving really hadn’t been done in that way, because folk women were being embraced. There was a style for them. But straddling the piano and making the piano a viable instrument with songs being built around it, that was gone since the Carole King days. This was a very different thing because this wasn’t the blues/R&B approach. And Kate Bush was much more electronica. And so, I knew then, that I had a big fight ahead of me. And that I couldn’t be anybody’s; I had to be my own." (Rolling Stone, December 18, 2009)