Song Analysis

A Sorta Fairytale

Thursday 22 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

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

"I think that there is a place where she realizes that people come in and out of your life, sometimes for one day, sometimes for longer, and all of them make you what you are. You can’t separate these people out of you. They form who you are, even the ones that you kind of say, ’Well, you know, I don’t know if I wanna be formed by them anymore.’ But you are in some way... you are, that’s why maybe you don’t have to look at them so harshly because they have affected you. At the end, though, you know, it’s... us as individuals... with our... hmm... with our love for the land, for something untangible that, when soulmates come and go, you’re never alone even when you’re standing just you and your shoes, because she carry them with you." (Scarlet Stories)

"[Scarlet’s] in love at that point and [the couple is] taking that classic trip up [Highway] 101 and [Highway] 1 on their way to San Francisco, and they cut off because they are having the trip of their life, and they go out West to the Southwest. And that’s where the masks come down for them. Who they thought each other was is not who they really are.

"It’s one of those things where it’s not about not having enough love for each other, it’s just that you don’t know why you can’t make it work. You don’t know how you are losing each other and you’re sitting right in front of each other in plain view, but you can’t seem to make it work. And that’s why it’s a ’sort of’ fairy tale, because she wasn’t a princess." ( September 23, 2002)

Q: You directly attack Oliver Stone- the song says that he deserves to be slapped. What will he say about that?

"He’s either got a sense of humour or he hasn’t. He represents certain things. He then wanted to use my song ’Me And A Gun’ for his film Natural Born Killers, and he had many reasons, but in the end I couldn’t accept them. I have this problem with Hollywood directors who want to play god. I don’t like that attitude with priests, presidents or others either. I just had to reply to that. Now I keep meeting Oliver by chance, on airplanes and such. Weird. We both went so different ways and yet they keep overlapping again and again." (The Rolling Stone German Edition, October 2002)

"’Fairytale’ is where I go off with the person I believe to be the love of my life. But we split up. The [relationship with the] love of your life should work, shouldn’t it? The story is a sort of fairytale - why don’t they stay together? ( October 28, 2002)

"Scarlet meets a lot of people on this trip that she had no idea she was taking. It’s not like she said ’Oh, OK, I’m going to take this classic road trip.’ It didn’t happen like that. She got a call from a friend who was in trouble, Amber Waves, a porn star at a crossroads. And from there, her life changes. She thinks she’s found her soul mate in the second song and that’s going be pretty much it, and then she realizes that she was not his fantasy. She can’t be his fantasy. She’s a real woman with a heavy heart. She gets pulled and she walks. And then really the story sort of opens up, and she’s free to meet people. She’s not tied to anyone and she starts beginning to listen to how other people take in information, how they see the world. So, that’s really how she begins to find out what it is she believes in." (neumu November 7, 2002)

A Sorta Fairytale is perhaps one of the most personal songs on the album, as the protagonist remembers an incident within a (lost?) relationship. Half-forgotten memories, ghosts and unexplainable thoughts are articulated perfectly, as if in a dream.

"[Laughs]Well that’s why its called A Sorta Fairytale, you know? And people will identify with the song whatever way they will. But you also play against type sometimes. The music for me is where the secrets lie, the lyric can only tell part of the story. The music has never been just a backdrop for me. Different instruments take on different characters. In ’Crazy’ for example the guitar becomes the character at one point and the music tells you his secrets." (Hot Press November 20, 2002)

"When you hear the single on the radio, the good thing is that it’s the fairy-tale version. They still like each other then, everything is going great. That’s nice. Because why not have an ’in love’ version?

"But on the album, they go to New Mexico. They go deeper and deeper, and he looks at her and says, ’You weren’t my fantasy; you’re not who I thought you were.’ And she doesn’t think she’s any different than when he first met her. He just sees things that he didn’t want to see." (Denver Post December 4, 2002)