Song of the Day: Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos

Cornflake Girl” is a song by American singer-songwriter and musician Tori Amos. It was released as the first single from her second studio albumUnder the Pink. It was released on January 10, 1994 by EastWest Records in the UK and on May 5 by Atlantic Records in North America.

Lyrics:
Never was a cornflake girl
Thought that was a good solution
Hanging with the raisin girls
She’s gone to the other side
Givin us a yo heave ho
Things are getting kind of gross
And I go at sleepy time
This is not really happening
You bet your life it isPeel out the watchword
Just peel out the watchwordShe knows what’s goin on
Seems we got a cheaper feel now
All the sweetcaze are gone
Gone to the other side
With my encyclopedia
They musta paid her a nice price
She’s putting on her string bean love
This is not really happening
You bet your life it is

Peal our the watchword
Just peel out the watchword

Never was a cornflake girl
Thought that was a good solution

Rabbit where’d you put the keys girl
And the man with the golden gun thinks he knows so much
Thinks he knows so much
Rabbit where’d you put the keys girl

……

Background

The song reached #4 on the UK singles chart, and was Amos’ most successful international hit at the time. In Australia, the song peaked at #19,and was #35 in radio station Triple J’s 1994 Hottest 100 poll, appearing on the compilation album of that year’s Hottest 100. The song was also ranked in Blender magazine’s The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born at #433.

Inspiration and meaning

The inspiration for “Cornflake Girl” came from Alice Walker’s novel Possessing the Secret of Joy, about a young African woman going through the ritual of female genital mutilation. Amos was angered by the idea that a mother could subject her daughter to such a brutal act, and the song arose as an exploration of the idea of betrayal between women. In the song two factions of women are referred to: the “raisin girls” are “multicultural” and open-minded, while the “cornflake girls” of the title are “narrowminded and full of prejudice”.

The reference to cornflakes and raisins comes from their distribution in a box of breakfast cereal, implying that “raisin girls” are much harder to find than “cornflake girls”. Amos has spoken in interviews about being referred to glibly as “the cornflake girl” due to the song’s title being applied to her, when she considers herself a “raisin girl”. Moreover she specifically states in the first line of the song: “Never was a cornflake girl.” (In concerts she has also said “cornflakes” vs. “raisins” was a reference to which girls had ready access to marijuana, Tori herself being bereft of the substance.) The confusion may be related to her 1987 commercial for Kellogg’s Just Right, made before her widespread fame. Just Right includes both raisins and cornflakes, so the song and the cereal are related either through coincidence or intent.

Atlantic released a series of cornflakes boxes with picture of Amos on them to promote this. They are now collector’s items.

Cover versions

The song was covered by post-hardcore band Jawbox as a hidden track on their self-titled 1996 album, as well as by the band Tapping the Vein on the Tori Amos tribute album, Songs of a Goddess. In 2007, after Amos had to pull out of an appearance on the Australian comedy program The Sideshow, musical comedy trio Tripod performed the song in her place.

The term “cornflake girl” also appears in the lyrics of the Billy Bragg song “Body of Water” from his 1991 album Don’t Try This at Home with the line “Oh, to become a pearl / In the wordy world of the cornflake girl”.

On March 25, 2010, British electronic musician Imogen Heap covered the song live in Australia. The performance was done per request by the winner of an online charity auction who paid about $4000 USD to win the item “VIP Experience Meet Imogen Heap + A Song Just For You”.

Tori Amos

Birth name Myra Ellen Amos
Born August 22, 1963 (age 50)
Newton, North Carolina, United States
Genres Piano rock, alternative rock, art pop,electronica, classical, baroque pop
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, composer
Instruments Piano, harpsichord, clavichord,Hammond organ, harmonium, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Kurzweil,clavinet, vocals
Years active 1979–present
Labels Atlantic, Epic, Universal Republic,Deutsche Grammophon, Mercury Classics
Associated acts Y Kant Tori Read
Website toriamos.com
Notable instruments
Bösendorfer piano

image by Fukari

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Music and Musicians / Song of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s