Only a handful of rock-star memoirs attract a wide audience outside of their fanbase, such as Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One (2004) or Patti Smith’s Just Kids (2010). Resistance is unlikely to enjoy such breakout success: the narrative can be hard to follow as Amos criss-crosses chronology, skipping, for example, from the Iran hostage crisis to Trump’s current immigration policies before circling back to 9/11.
Her devoted fans, however – over a million monthly listeners on Spotify – will no doubt relish the book’s release. Reading the backstory of her often-abstract lyrics recreates the bygone intimacy of studying liner notes to suss out meaning.
Like extensive sleeve notes in a lavish box set, Tori Amos’s second book uses songs from her back catalogue – the lyrics are transcribed at the start of each chapter – as starting points for stories of “hope, change and courage”. So Resistance is less an explanation of what her songs were about than a reflection on what they mean to her now, resulting in a tale of politics, feminism and equality. There are a few too many discussions with her muses, but Resistance reinforces Amos’s position as one of pop’s more thoughtful songwriters.