It can’t have been easy following up an album as attention grabbing and uncompromising as Little Earthquakes, but to Tori Amos’s eternal credit, with Under the Pink she somehow managed to strike the balance between solid follow up and incrementally increased accessibility. While many will (quite rightly) point to Little Earthquakes as Amos’s masterpiece, it’s also a dense and appropriately terrifying work. For the newcomer to Tori Amos 1994’s Under the Pink is probably the album which best showcases her often heavyweight lyrical themes, yet also manages to display arguably her most a commercial side as well.
While “Cornflake Girl” is Tori Amos’s biggest commercial hit outside of the unrepresentative remix of “Professional Widow”, it doesn’t overshadow the other tracks on Under the Pink, with opener “Pretty Good Year”, “Past the Mission” and “The Wrong Band” being among her strongest work and career highlights. “Cornflake Girl” was and remains a great song, and fully deserves to be one of her most celebrated musical calling cards.
If Under the Pink has a problem, it’s that, at almost an hour, it’s just too damn long. If a couple of tracks could have been omitted, Under the Pink would have been shaved down to ten tracks and come in at a more snappy 45 minutes, then it would have been a considerably more accessible listen.
After the success of Under the Pink, Tori Amos would return to a more ‘challenging’ sound, and her reputation as a kooky songstress would be underlined with Boys for Pele. It’s perhaps a shame that she didn’t continue with the more accessible sound that she put to such good use on Under the Pink, but given she managed to do it so well, to try repeat the trick would have just resulted in diminishing returns.