Raspberry Swirl (song)

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"Cruel/Raspberry Swirl"
Single by Tori Amos
from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel
Released November 24, 1998 (US)
December 18, 1998 (CA)
Format CD
Recorded 1998
Genre Electronic dance
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Tori Amos
Tori Amos singles chronology
"Jackie's Strength"
"Cruel/Raspberry Swirl"
Alternative covers
Alternative cover

"Raspberry Swirl" is a song by Tori Amos, released as the third and final single from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel. It the United States it was released as a double A-side single with "Cruel", off the same album. In Germany and Australia it was released as its own single. Two variations of an identical 12" vinyl promotional release were issued in the U.K.

"Raspberry Swirl" was Tori's first single to be nominated for a Grammy Award. It was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1999.


Raspberry Swirl is about Amos' past relationship with a female friend and was written in response to the men in her relationships.

"In some of my relationship with a few of my women friends, I play a certain role. Heh, this is really getting in...I know, I hope my father's not watching this. He just doesn't know what to do. The straight-jacket's coming. But you know I always told my dad – you know, gays, lesbians, he just has to get used to it. One of the nieces and nephews is gonna be one, he's just gotta get ready. So what I said was ah to Beenie, who's the love of my life. My husband understands this, that we're married. We're absolutely married. And I adore her with all my heart. And she's dated some idiots. And I hope you're watching. I want you to know what I think of you and in another life, I'll absolutely kick your ass. And I'm going to kick it right now actually, because this is for her and I'm in love with her. So everybody, off your asses!"[1]

Music video[edit]

A still from the video "Raspberry Swirl"

The video for Raspberry Swirl was directed by Barnaby & Scott and filmed in August 1998. The video opens with a red velvet curtain being pulled open as if on a stage. A little boy runs into a room filled with strange old toys, followed by Tori in a black dress. She does a Jacob's Ladder effect with her head to the beat of the song and starts off after the boy. She takes an elevator and crawls through a vent out through a painting and into a club full of dancing teens. An extremely gaunt, scary man is in the room who seemingly controls the teens, and also now has the boy at his side. Tori dances through the club and whispers something into the man's ear, reminiscent of Twin Peaks. Finally, she follows the boy into a room with a long dining table full of food. Tori's eyes light up at the expanse of food and sits down on one end like an Alice In Wonderland tea party. The boy is seated on the other end of the table and there are little girls seated along the sides stuffing their faces and throwing food. Suddenly, the girls all turn into piglets and the boy smiles and walks down the surface of the table toward Tori and she helps him onto her lap. They bow and the curtain closes, finishing the video.

"I will tell you this. Kids and Pigs mixed together with their gorging of sweets and excited kiddie poo vomit and literally piggy poo and cake puddingie ickie oogie sugarie pukie all messied together sitting there rotting under the lights take after take and you wonder why I carry an Oxygen machine – card holder since 94. Raspberry was one of the longer days of my life... Karen pulled in these younger directors: Barnaby & Scott. I liked the idea their visual sense and their openness to Karen's mad visions. She was inspired by an Urban Alice and Wonderland feel if I recall the treatment correctly. Kids with Red wings – red wigs little Toris she said. This Boy leading me into a world where Karen truly lives. Every movie every make, Karen can give her version – 'A road ain't NO ONE EVER EVVA thought of pushing,' a long by magical day."[2]


"The fourth track, Raspberry Swirl (as in, unsurprisingly, 'Boy, you better make her raspberry swirl"), is the key," enthused John Aizlewood in Q's review of From the Choirgirl Hotel. "Seemingly throwaway, its programming doffs a cap to dance [and] Amos' treated vocals recall Van Helden mixmastery. Before 30 seconds have passed, she's declared 'Let's go' and in one cathartic moment becomes her own woman again, via the remainder of a song that doesn't need twists to shine."[3]

US/Canadian Track Listing[edit]

Raspberry Swirl was released in the United States and Canada as "Cruel/Raspberry Swirl".

US CD Single[edit]

  1. Cruel (Shady Feline Mix) (3:51)
  2. Raspberry Swirl (Lip Gloss Version) (3:41)
  3. Ambient Raspberry Swirl (Scarlet Spectrum Feels) (8:10)
  4. Mainline Cherry (Ambient Spark) (5:11)

US 7" Vinyl Single (Atlantic 7-84412)[edit]

  1. Raspberry Swirl (Lip Gloss Version) (3:39)
  2. Cruel (Shady Feline Mix) (3:49)

German/Australian Track Listing[edit]

Raspberry Swirl was released in Germany as a single title.

German CD Single[edit]

  1. Raspberry Swirl (Lip Gloss Version) (3:38)
  2. Raspberry Swirl (Sticky Extended Vocal Mix) (7:50)
  3. Raspberry Swirl (Scarlet Spectrum Feels) (8:10)

United Kingdom Promotional 12" Track Listing[edit]

Two variations of a 12" vinyl promotional single were issued in the U.K. They share a catalog number but have different artwork.

U.K. Promotional 12" Single[edit]

  1. Raspberry Swirl (Sticky Extended Instrumental) (9:34)
  2. Raspberry Swirl (Sticky Extended Vocal Mix) (7:50)


Year Chart Position
1998 Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales (US) 38[4]
1998 Top Canadian Singles 20


External links[edit]