not tonight Josephine...

If you're a regular here than you are probably aware of my obsession with Tori Amos and the beautiful songs she writes. In an effort to learn her ginormous discography I created a system with my iPod - a playlist of the Tori I Know and another of the Tori I Need to Know. Once a song is learned it goes to the other playlist. Josephine (from To Venus & Back) is the song that is next in line and once I read the lyrics I realized she was talking about Josephine Bonaparte! I did some more research and found this to confirm my suspicions...

From a Tori Amos fan site I came across...

Who is Josephine?

She was the mistress and then wife of Napoleon. The taking of Moscow was a rather hollow victory for Napoleon, who found the city deserted. When he took up residence in the czar’s palace, the city was set on fire by its few remaining inhabitants. Fire-fighting equipment had been removed or destroyed. Napoleon planned to retreat from Moscow to avoid its harsh winters, but had miscalculated his departure date. Hampered by weather, beset by Russians on every step, Napoleon learned how futile victory could be. He is quoted as having said, “I beat the Russians every time, but that doesn’t get me anywhere.”

Here are the lyrics:

not tonight josephine

in an army's strength therein
lies the denouement
from here you're haunting me
by the seine so beautiful
only not to be of use - impossible

so strange, victory - 1,200 spires
the only sound, moscow burning
empty like the tuileries
like a dream vienna seems
only not to be of use - impossible

in the last extremity - to advance
or not to advance -
i hear you laughing

even still you're calling me
"not tonight, not tonight

not tonight"



  1. Of course I love this! And every time I hear it I tell myself I've got to link this as a background to my site- Thanks so much for this post!

  2. I never really got in to Venus and Back. Now I need to listen again! What beautiful lyrics. Danny gave me her Piano collection for Christmas. I love her so much. My first year in VA Danny got me front row tickets. I can watch her play the piano forever.

  3. I totally make "songs I need to learn" CD's and playlists. I'm glad it's not just me!

  4. I love Tori. What a great post to learn a little more about music that I love. Thank you! I love "Hello Mr. Zebra".....

  5. I think Tori's brilliant, have thought so since "Little Earthquakes". Got everything up to and including "Scarlett's Walk", except "Strange Little Girls", which I thought rubbish, as I found the Beekeeper. I have some tracks off "Why cant Tori Read", that she likes to forget about, but I happen to quite like. Can't be had anymore, though...


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