"Black-Dove (January)" as written by and Tori Ellen Amos....
She was a January girl
She never let on how insane it was
In that tiny kinda scary house
By the woods
By the woods
By the woods
Black-dove black-dove
You're not a helicopter
You're not a cop out either
Black-dove black-dove
You don't need a space ship
They don't know you've already lived
On the other side of the galaxy
She had a January world
So many storms not right somehow
How a lion becomes a mouse
By the woods
But I have to get to texas
Said I have to get to texas
And I'll give away my blue blue dress
She had a January girl
She never let on how insane it was
In that tiny kinda scary house
By the woods


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Black-Dove (January)" as written by Tori Ellen Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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Black-Dove (January) song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI am guessing the song is about the Indians been driven out of Texas in the 1800s by the government,after Texas won their independence over Mexico. I think she could be speaking from the point of view of a scared, Indian female on the brinks of forced assimilation, violence and oppression. I'm guessing... :)
    lovetorion December 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSo many parts of this song to love -- abuse is "how a lion becomes a mouse"; a strong child becomes meek and subservient out of fear and degradation.

    "You're not a helicopter, you're not a cop-out either, honey" and again when she talks about not needing a spaceship, and "they don't know you've already lived on the other side of the galaxy" -- other kids, other people in general, can sense when something is wrong with a child, even if they can't articulate it. And the other people take that out on the child by treating her differently, like an alien.

    Except they can't understand why the kid is so different, usually, and end up just ostracizing her further.
    badverbon August 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"When I sleep I often have nightmares. I can already hear your readers saying: 'I knew that. The way your songs sound you must really have horrible nightmares.' Just like the one I'm describing in the song Black-Dove on my last album From the Choirgirl Hotel. I see a black dove. I see its face clearly. The dove is transparent, like it is made of ice. I can see my hand through it. An auger goes through it and it is bleeding water. To get the same atmosphere musically I had to describe a scene of the movie Fargo to my musicians. A car is coming towards the camera from a long distance, very slowly. You know it will arrive in a moment. But you hope that this will never happen. My nightmares are so bad, that I mostly reject it when my friends want to take me to a cinema to watch a horror movie. Then I say: 'No, thank you. I will dream in a few hours.' Sometimes I feel like Hermann Hess' Steppenwolf... The nightmares agonized me since my childhood. I am the daughter of a Methodist preacher and as a child I was sexually abused by a friend of the family. I think that the nightmares are telling me things about me I need to know. And I try to understand what they mean. Maybe so I can get to know something more about my soul."
    [Die Zeit (German newspaper), November 11, 1999]

    merchantpierceon May 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, taken on an abuse level many children escape from the situation, by "going to another place". The nightmares still with them even if it's long been over. And how many people do you know have been abused? More than you think. Since it's usually kept secret. "They don't know you've already lived..." Very sad. Once of my favorites.
    andshediedon August 31, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful. I don't care the meaning of it really, it just is amazing. I love tori.
    keenon June 27, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs a child who was molested too; I can relate to this
    Bloody_pusson July 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, Keyyooo, this does sort of sound like a bad dream. The music has a haunting, magical, otherworldly quality to it. And the lyrics speak for themselves in metaphors and symbolism. But what else can we expect from Tori Amos?
    Studmuffinon July 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentum Hotel-Paper, unless you're using the medical term for a miscarriage (which is "spontaneous abortion"), I think you might be a bit confused--Tori has never had (or at least admitted to having) an abortion.

    she has, however, had three miscarriages. the first two happened before she released the album that this song is on, and the third one happened in 1999.
    keyyoooon December 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love that she's read "Steppenwolf" by Herman Hesse! I'm 17 right now, but I was 15 when I read that book, and it was possibly the only thing that kept me going after my suicide attempt. Just reading about someone's loneliness got me through so much bullshit. If there's one thing that I love about myself, it's that I actually *enjoy* reading. Being a loner kind of gives you time to do that. I mean...there's pros and cons, but for the most part, I'm grateful. I would never give up being able to read "Steppenwolf" lol. It's weird how connected I felt to a fictional middle-aged man's experiences :D

    I was going to comment on the song but my whole theory about a girl escaping her painful home life has already been voiced. I'm in total agreement.

    I love the line about it not being a cop-out. Running away from a dangerous, emotionally and/or physically abusive situation is *not* the easy way out. Sometimes it's the *only* way out, and nobody should feel guilty, cowardly, or weak for taking it.

    I also love this line: "You don't need a space ship. They don't know you've already lived on the other side of the galaxy."

    It just speaks to the outsider status you find yourself in when you're carrying around a secret like that. If all your life you've dealt with things that nobody could imagine. You're immediately set apart and alone. On another planet.

    God this song is fantastic. I have the unpopular opinion of not really liking Tori's previous album, "Boys for Pele," but this one made up for it times ten.






    Aquarius121on September 16, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningHere's Tori Amos herself describing the song:

    When I sleep I often have nightmares. I can already hear your readers saying, "I knew that. The way your songs sound you must really have horrible nightmares." Just like the one I'm describing in the song "Black-Dove" off my last album From the Choirgirl Hotel. I see a black dove. I see its face clearly. The dove is transparent. Like it is made of ice. I can see my hand through it. An auger goes through it and it is bleeding water.

    To get the same atmosphere musically, I had to describe a scene of the movie Fargo to my musicians. A car is coming towards the camera from a long distance, very slowly. You know it will arrive in a moment. But you hope that this will never happen. My nightmares are so bad, that I mostly reject it when my friends want to take me to a cinema to watch a horror movie. Then I say, "No, thank you. I will dream in a few hours."

    Sometimes I feel like Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf... The nightmares have agonized me since my childhood. I am the daughter of a Methodist preacher and as a child I was sexually abused by a friend of the family. I think the nightmares are telling me things about me I need to know. And I try to understand what they mean. Maybe so I can get to know something more about my soul.
    EternalTearsOfSorrowon October 08, 2018   Link

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