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Yes, Anastasia
Tori-Amos Under-the-Pink
from the album "Under the Pink"

Album

Under the Pink

Released

January 31, 1994

Genre

Alternative Rock

Length

9:33

Label

Atlantic Records

Writer

Tori Amos

Producer

Tori Amos
Eric Rosse

"Yes, Anastasia" is the twelfth song from Tori's 1994 studio album, Under the Pink. The song draws inspiration from the epic story of Anastasia Romanov, a grand duchess of Russia who was the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna.

Story and Meaning Edit

In the songbook for Under the Pink, Amos describes the song as a journey and the story of Anastasia Romanov. Amos admits to not reading many books about her, but she was aware of the family and the issues related to it. Amos explains that while in Virginia, she became sick from eating bad crabs in Maryland. [1] Amos had a show that night and decided not to cancel it. She explains that while performing a sound check, she was influenced by Romanov’s presence. “Needless to say, when you are very, very ill, it is easier to communicate with your source… you are fragile and vulnerable.” While reluctant to write this song at first, Amos decided to take it on. “Now I have only heard of her story, I’ve got no point to make. She comes and goes ‘You’ve got to write my tune.’ I go ‘Ohhh, now’s not a really good time.’ She says ‘No, you’ve got to understand something from this, there’s something here that you’ve got to come to terms with.’ And that night came.” Amos says that the lyrics “We’ll see how brave you are” means so many different things to her; it is a part of her self saying “If you really want a challenge, just deal with yourself.” [2]

Lyrics Edit

Album Version


I know what you want
The magpies have come
Mmm-hmm
If you know me so well then
Tell me which hand I use

Make them go
Make it go

Saw her there
In a restaurant Poppy don't go
I know your mother
Is a good one but Poppy don't go
I'll take you home
Show me the things I've been missing
Show me the ways I forgot to be speaking
Show me the ways to get back to the garden
Show me the ways to get around the get around
Show me the ways
To button up
Buttons that have forgotten they're buttons
Well we can't
Have
That
Forgetting that

Girls
Girls
What have we done
What have we done
To ourselves yes

Driving on the vine
Over clothes lines but officer I saw
The sign

Thought I'd been through this
In 1919
Counting the tears
Of ten thousand men
And gathered them all
But my feet are slipping
There's something we left on the windowsill
There's something we left
Yes

We'll see how brave you are
We'll see how fast you'll be running
We'll see how brave you are
Yes Anastasia

And all your dollies have friends

Thought she deserved
No less than she'd give
Well happy birthday
Her blood's on my hands
It's kind of a shame
Cause I did like that dress
It's funny
The things that you find in the rain
The things that you find yes

In the mall and
In the date-mines
In the knot still
In her hair
On the bus I'm
On the way down
On the way down
All the girls seem
To
Be
There

We'll see how brave you are
Oh yes we'll see how fast you'll be running
We'll see how brave you are
We'll see
We'll see how brave you are
Oh yes we'll see how fast you'll be running
We'll see how brave you are
Yes Anastasia

Come along now little darlin
Come along now
With me
Come along now little darlin
We'll see how brave you are


Improvisation Lyrics


Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany 03/24/96

Just after the "and all your dollies have friends" line:

Judy
I hear you
I hear you
Yes


Brady Theater, Tulsa, OK 11/02/96

Just after the "and all your dollies have friends" line:

Darling
You
Can
Say
Gimme something I said you
I said
Gimme just a little love
You say I know that I thought she deserved
No less than she'd give
*later on*
We'll see how brave you are little red


Macky Auditorium, Boulder, CO 11/10/96

Come on said
You think you don't know
My
Little ?
Said calling
You I said you
(and later in the song - another improv)
We'll see how fast I'll be running
Hold my hand
Hold my hand
Together we can
Go after this
Hold my hand
Hold my
Hand
You my pirate friend
I said
We'll see how brave we are
Come on
We'll see how fast we'll be running
We'll see how brave you are
Yes Anastasia[3]

Live Performances Edit

Amos performs the second half of the song fairly often during her concert tours. She has played the full song live only once; on November 26, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas; the concert was not made officially available. When performed live, Tori almost always starts at the "Thought I'd been through this in 1919" verse.

On October 8, 2010, she performed the song live with the Metropole Orchestra at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, playing nearly all of the song.

Versions Edit

An alternate mix was included on Amos' A Piano: The Collection 2006 box set.

Quotes Edit

“I hope I told your story correctly, my friend. So many codes, it was hard to decipher, but I believe Anastasia’s story is everyone’s in a way. She tried to tell me that and I blew her off.” - Under the Pink songbook[4]


“When we get to Anastasia - I had some visitation on this. I was in Richmond. It was after the Washington show, and I had food poisoning. Very ill. I was in Richmond the next night [which is where Anastasia supposedly died]... And her being visited me, and said, ‘You need to tell my story.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, come on. I’m losing crab at both ends. [Tori had eaten some bad seafood] Can’t we, like, negotiate this?’ And it was a bit of - that’s where my experience from the violent kidnapping that I went through with Me and a Gun kind of made me able to understand the horror that she went through, and yet, the incredible understanding that she came to, which is the first half of Anastasia, that whole, ‘Show me the ways to get back to the garden’ and ‘Driving on the vine over clotheslines. But officer, I saw the sign.’ You’re very aware of what’s happening, that you’re being changed and that you’re numbing yourself, but how do you turn it around? And that’s where ‘We’ll see how brave you are’ - when you’re 18, you know everything, and it’s, yeah, I can handle anything. Well, any of us can be brought to our knees real fast. And with Anastasia, I would be looking kind of down on myself through different parts of my life, going, ‘We’ll see how brave you are.’ And I get such hope from that one.” - Baltimore Sun, January 1994[4]


"Yes, I agree. I'm not a big believer in rhyme. Who decided that rhyming was the way to do it, who was that guy? Let's go find him and have a little chat because this has really cramped writers for a long, long time. Believe me, when I wrote, "We'll see how brave you are, we'll see how fast you'll be running, we'll see how brave you are, yes Anastasia," I didn't think of it as an assonance, though it is if you do it tonally." - Performing Songwriter, March 4, 1994[5]


KF: Anastasia? Want to identify her? Tori: Anastasia Romanov." - Bay Area Musician, March 11, 1994[5]


“It’s a journey. Anastasia Romanov... it’s not like I’ve read loads of books on her. I was aware of the family and that’s about it. So I’m in Virginia, and I had crabs...(giggles) I keep saying that! I had crab sickness, I had eaten bad crabs in Maryland! But I couldn’t cancel the show. I was at soundcheck, and needless to say, when you are very, very ill, it is easier to communicate with your source... you are fragile and vulnerable. Well, her presence came. Now I have only heard of her in history, I’ve got no point to make. She comes and goes ‘you’ve got to write my tune.’ I go, ‘ohhh, now’s not really a good time.’ She says, ‘no, you’ve got to understand something from this, there’s something here that you’ve got to come to terms with.’ And that night came, [as she softly sings the line] ‘We’ll see how brave you are,’ and that was really about the whole record. That came just about before everything. And whenever I sing that chorus, ‘we’ll see how brave you are,’ it means so many different things to me. It’s part of my self, my spirit self saying to the rest of myself, ‘if you really want a challenge, just deal with yourself.’

“The funny thing is that Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia, died very close to where I was playing, an hour or so from there in the 80s. The feeling I got that Anna Anderson was Anastasia Romanov. She always tried to prove it and a lot of people believed her and some people didn’t want to believe her, because of what that would have meant. And again, it’s really working through being a victim. ‘Counting the tears from ten thousand men, and gathered them all, but my feel are slipping.’ You can’t blame the men anymore; there’s always you. It comes back to us; it comes back to me.” - B-Side, April/May 1994[4]


“So Cornflake Girl, The Waitress and Bells for Her add an underlying theme to the record... even with ‘girls, what have we done to ourselves’ in Anastasia: ‘thought she’d deserved no less than she’d give, well happy birthday, her blood’s on my hands.’ You’re not the cause of this person’s unhappiness. And yet you seem to be the one standing there getting dumped on.” - B-Side, April/May 1994[4]


"...'Anastasia,' which is the final of the finale." - B-Side, April/May 94[5]


“That’s my big epic. A lot of Debussy influence on the first half, and the Russian composers on the second half. I was real excited working with Phil Shenale, who arranged the strings. We’d had quite a famous arranger arranging and Eric and I erased it all after we had some margaritas. No, we purposely did, it was shit.” - Beat, July 14, 1994[4]


“I was feeling so sick that I wanted to be put out of my misery. And then I get this presence. It’s like a light, a blueish-greyish light . . . The message was, ‘You need to learn something out of writing my story.’” - London Independent, January 16, 1994[4]


"Well, the first part of 'Yes, Anastasia' is a good example free form. 'Anastasia' was written how you would hear it. I wrote that whole first half with a tape recorder: The second half was written first, and then I was just noodling, just stream of consciousness with my ghetto blaster on. It took me six weeks to learn the first half of 'Anastasia' from that tape, because it was all about free form. I'm much better when I've never done something before, because when I try to do it the second time, I'm recreating instead of creating. That changes everything. I usually don't get it together enough to finish a work like that; it's like I've got too much pesto on my noodles. I'll only get a couple of measures, and then it gets all jumbled. Then I start screaming and hating myself. It's just bratty prodigy behavior, because I get in my own way a lot. Sometimes I don't have the discipline of a more formulated person. Bridges have always been my strength, but sometimes the rest of the song is like pissing in the wind: The land masses on either side of the bridge ain't so great. I've got my Coleman stove and my little jacuzzi on the bridge, because sometimes there ain't nothin' on the other side." - Keyboard, November 1994[5]


“I was reading all about Anastasia Romanov, and um, sometimes just certain stories kind of grab you by the throat. And it was interesting how I... I’ve lived in England on and off for four years, and um, they are more interested in these kinds of things, I think. And I would be reading so much about how they hadn’t still determined whether they had found Anastasia or not. And that this woman who died a few years ago, everyone believed that she was lying. Not everyone, but most people said she really couldn’t have lived through that. And I tend to believe that it was. So, she had died, and when I was very ill, in Virginia, I kind of got visited by this figure and she said, ‘Write my story.’ And that’s what I tried to do.” - UCLA Speech, February 27, 1995[4]


“Poppy is the little girl who was in Silent All These Years.” - Aquarian Weekly, February 21, 1996[4]


"No, you have to...sometimes there's no room to run the other way. I mean sometimes you run into somebody and...I think one of the favorites of the crew is this guy that says he's Anastasia and he used to come to the shows with a handcuffed briefcase and said that he really was Anastasia and that he needed to get backstage and had a million dollars that he needed to give me so that I could give it to someone but he wouldn't say who and it was about excavating her past and all that." - CFNY 102.1 Canadian Radio, August 30, 2002[5]

MusiciansEdit

Bösendorfer & Vocals - Tori Amos

Strings Arrangement - John Phillip Shenale

Conducter - Scott Smalley

References Edit

  1. UCLA Interview
  2. Under the Pink: Song Book
  3. Yes, Anastasia Improvs - Gone Andromeda
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Yes, Anastasia Quotes - Yessaid.com
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Yes, Anastasia Quotes - Gone Andromeda

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