07. Tori hardly ever narrates anything without delving into it herself, and hearing her talking about an entire village’s worth of people in “Time” is a lot like the shifty feeling you get when you hear her so consumed with Leonard’s silly old Raincoat – that this is not quite the Tori that you know and love. However, what always becomes clear is that Tori is a superb narrator in the third person because she does not come across as some omnipotent watcher but as someone simply inside the situation like everyone she is singing about.
The first chorus of this soft piano ballad turns you around to let you know that it is in fact Time itself that Tori is narrating, and that the passage of it just happens to encompass the lives she is touching upon. There is a sleepy dreamy quality to this, one of the few appearances on this disc of Tori and her piano that is left wholly undressed. It has the same tone as “Merman” except that it reflects instead of apologizing; it has the hum of “Putting the Damage On” without the resentment.
Tori talking about boys and girls is so very different than Tom Waits doing the same thing; girls are her special children living in these interwoven communities where boys can be friends or just another enemy across the lines of a tiny cold war of cooties and kisses and things that they don’t even suspect will come into play.
“Time” is what those boys and girls don’t suspect… certainly not as their greatest enemy. Maybe they should be fighting it together instead of just tugging on pigtails and tattling on each other… but then they’d be trading in their wonder for reality, which would be doing Time’s own job for it. Better that we leave them as they are.