Little Amsterdam
In a southern town
Hominy get it on the plate girl
Momma keep your head down
Momma it wasn't my bullet

Don't take me back to the Range
I'm just comin out of the cell in my brain
Girl you got to know there days
Which side your own

Momma got shit
She loved a brown man
Then she built a bridge in the Sheriff's bed
She'd do anything to save her man
You see her olives are cold pressed
And her best friend is a sun dress
But Momma
It wasn't my bullet

Round and a round and a round I go
Round and a round this time for keeps
Father only you can save my soul
And playing that organ must count
For something
Girl you got to know these days
Which side your on
Little Amsterdam
Shut down today
They buried her with a
Butter bean bouquet
And the Sheriff now can't ride away
Like he said into the sunset
And I won't say
He shouldna paid
But Momma
It wasn't my bullet

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Little Amsterdam Lyrics as written by Tori Ellen Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Little Amsterdam song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentMissing a verse between the second chorus and the "round and around"s;
    all alone got a girl in the city
    hey, got a room and a place for two
    got a goat and a phone, I said boy
    you are my fifth avenue
    kanarthion July 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Go further into the place of the South, the place of the hidden, with Little Amsterdam, which is all metaphorical, about wanting to kill people, being angry at people that you feel have done something... the whole domination thing, the whole hierarchy, patriarchy... and her way to fight back and they are blaming her but it wasn't her bullet but she still believes it would have been fine if..." She makes a soft gunshot noise. "They lost him".
    [B Side, 05/96]

    merchantpierceon May 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is amazing, very underrated.
    King of Some Islandon June 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a song about racism in a southern U.S. town, where you have to know which side you're on. In other words, you're white and that's understood to be against the brown man, and by against, she doesn't mean in bed. If you don't know that, you're confused and we need to take you out to the range (where they try to educate her with probably something like Tupac targets or real brown men getting shot at).

    But she is Little Amsterdam. Pretty much anything goes in Amsterdam. That's how she gets that name. She's out of place in Hicksville, where illiterate, uneducated, lazy white men try to find their power/pride in their color of their skin and control of minorities and women.

    She's screwing the sheriff for protection of the brown man she loves. She built a bridge. Bridges are a sign of peace to unite one side with the other. So are olives (branches). Olives in this case are her tits. She's not getting any pleasure out of sex with the sheriff, so her olives are cold pressed.

    After that it's a little unclear. Somebody was killed. I don't know if it was Little Amsterdam or her brown man or both or the sheriff or someone else. And I'm not sure who did the killing. Those lines can all be taken different ways.

    Little Amsterdam shut down today. They buried her with a butter bean bouquet. - This could mean she shut down because she's dead or she shut down her emotions and screwing people to protect her man, or she doesn't act like she's in Amsterdam anymore and has conformed to the white southern ways.

    And the Sheriff now can't ride away like he said into the sunset - Either he's the one that's shot or he is in prison because he shot the brown man, or somebody else shot the brown man and he is getting the blame for it.

    And I won't say that he shouldna pay but Momma, it wasn't my bullet - Well this could be the sheriff saying the brown man got what he ultimately deserved, if it was the brown man who was the one who was shot. He only restrained from giving him what he deserved because he was being bribed by Little Amsterdam's goodies, but always believed that he should pay for having that white woman. But he's telling Little Amsterdam, otherwise referred to as Momma, that it wasn't his bullet, i.e. he held up to his end of their bargain. OR, perhaps the sheriff was shot, and Little Amsterdam is saying he deserved to get shot, but it wasn't her bullet. OR, somebody came after the brown man and Little Amsterdam shot that guy, then maybe she got shot. Lots of possibilities in a situation like that. And often in small southern towns the wrong person gets blamed for a crime. It wasn't my bullet...

    A more interesting take (and sadder) is Little Amsterdam's spirit and fight was broken, and she had to give up her brown man, and she eventually caved from the pressure, into marrying a white man. This shut her emotions down and her performance of acting like it was Amsterdam. She didn't die, but was in effect buried by a butter bean (color of a white man) bouquet (marriage). And the sheriff not being able to ride off into the sunset, could be, he won't be killing the brown man now (followed by the riding off into the sunset as old western movies did after the killing was over). This could explain the round and a round and a round I go...This time for keeps.

    The possibilities in a situation like this are endless and as usual Tori does her outstanding writing to both give you the story and to make it your own. Love her.
    Nunyabizznezzon October 04, 2015   Link

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