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Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage

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Author: Tori Amos

Published: May 5th 2020 by Atria Books

Format: Hardcover , 272 pages

Isbn: 9781982104153

Language: English


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Since the release of her first, career-defining solo album Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos has been one of the music industry's most enduring and ingenious artists. From her unnerving depiction of sexual assault in "Me and a Gun" to her post-9/11 album Scarlet's Walk to her latest album Native Invader, her work has never shied away from intermingling the personal with the po Since the release of her first, career-defining solo album Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos has been one of the music industry's most enduring and ingenious artists. From her unnerving depiction of sexual assault in "Me and a Gun" to her post-9/11 album Scarlet's Walk to her latest album Native Invader, her work has never shied away from intermingling the personal with the political. Amos began playing piano as a teenager for the politically powerful at hotel bars in Washington, D.C., during the formative years of the post-Goldwater and then Koch-led Libertarian and Reaganite movements. The story continues to her time as a hungry artist in L.A. to the subsequent three decades of her formidable music career. Amos explains how she managed to create meaningful, politically resonant work against patriarchal power structures-and how her proud declarations of feminism and her fight for the marginalized always proved to be her guiding light. She teaches readers to engage with intention in this tumultuous global climate and speaks directly to supporters of #MeToo and #TimesUp, as well as young people fighting for their rights and visibility in the world. Filled with compassionate guidance and actionable advice-and using some of the most powerful, political songs in Amos's canon-this book is for readers determined to steer the world back in the right direction.

30 review for Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    I should preface this by saying that Tori Amos' soul-stirring music has been a constant in my life for over half of it. I've seen her live in the double digits, all over the world, and forged wonderful friendships through her art, and I don't know how to talk about it without it coming off as bragging, but I've met her so often, we are on a first-name basis. Me not enjoying this sophomore book-writing effort was never really an option, but I'm still surprised at how much I relished it. Each chap I should preface this by saying that Tori Amos' soul-stirring music has been a constant in my life for over half of it. I've seen her live in the double digits, all over the world, and forged wonderful friendships through her art, and I don't know how to talk about it without it coming off as bragging, but I've met her so often, we are on a first-name basis. Me not enjoying this sophomore book-writing effort was never really an option, but I'm still surprised at how much I relished it. Each chapter in Resistance relates to a song in Tori's catalogue, so I created a playlist (it would make one hell of a setlist—it has a nice flow, with some surprising transitions) to listen to as I read, and finished the book in a single sitting. Tori has always subscribed to the feminist notion that the personal is political, and she highlights this time and time again in this memoir and political opinion piece hybrid. By weaving personal anecdotes into American political history, she shines a light on the wide societal shifts she's lived through and experienced first-hand over her decade-spanning career. However, her main motivation for writing Resistance at this very specific point in time—she calls it "a moment of unprecedented crisis"—is to offer an honest glimpse of her journey as an artist, and her inspiration and creative process, because above all else, she believes that artists play a vital role in a society: Art calls out, holds those in power accountable, gives a voice to those who feel alone, and offers both resilience in the face of hardship, as well as healing. The songs chosen cover every album in her back-catalogue (except Y Kant Tori Read, Strange Little Girls, and Midwinter Graces, which she however touches on in different ways), and serve as a framing device for her thoughts. Most of the time they are very clearly related to what she writes about, while sometimes they fit in in a more abstract, emotional, free-association kind of way—this can be something so slight as a particular turn of phrase, or a metaphor she went with in the preceding chapter. Some of the songs are presented within the original scope they were written in, while with others it's clear that they have taken on a different meaning over the years; she's always been very adamant about the fact that her song girls have a life of their own and are constantly changing and evolving. "Sights and sounds pull me back down another year... I was here. I was here." Resistance opens with Gold Dust, a song which transports Tori back through the decades, and with its help she paints a vivid picture of playing piano bars and congressional parties in Washington D.C. during both Democratic and Republican administrations. The songs aren't presented chronologically, and the book's structure doesn't follow any such order either; it's all rather conversational, and she goes off on tangents, with skips ahead or back in time, following her own thread of thoughts. Sometimes these leaps work exceptionally well, and the songs act as useful bridges, while other times the sudden changes of subject matter might leave the reader a little confused as to how we got there. It bears some structural similarities to the first memoir Piece By Piece, in that the songs are woven into the book to give it direction, but it's much more cohesive and coherent as a whole. The writing is very Tori; authentic, sharp, evocative, endearingly kooky in places, a little messy. "I had yet to prove myself, to prove the piano was ready to carve a new place for herself in a snob-ridden pop culture playing for sinners—me being one—sweating out the demons with my left heel on the sustain pedal, singing for salvation, a sonic daughter of Jezebel with my right hip open to a southern church revival." From the D.C. piano bars, Tori takes us on a political journey through time, touching on the JFK assassination, Iran hostage crisis, Lewinsky scandal, 9/11, Anita Hill and the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, the rising global trend of right-wing dictatorships and economic aristocracy, and the shared trauma of the Trump presidency. All of this she weaves into her artistic timeline, creating a blend of personal narrative and political observations from a songwriter's point of view. We not only get to know Tori and her views better through this memoir, but also her loved ones, especially her mother Mary, whom she lost while Resistance was being written. Those final chapters unflinchingly open a window into Tori's grief, and they feel out of place with the mostly political slant of the book—clearly unplanned, and worked in as the project was already ongoing—yet they are beautiful, poignant, and heart-wrenching. If there's one detractor to the way the book is structured, it's that it starts out with having each song introduce the following chapter, but halfway through it flips around, and then reverts back to the original structure again towards the end. Those middle chapters are also the ones that feel most messy and rushed; the originally leaked working title had been "An Artistic Resistance: A Blueprint for Change in 20 Songs", but there's a dozen more in the final version. I strongly feel that the "Artistic" should've been kept, and overall, the book might've flowed better if it hadn't been expanded, retaining only the most pertinent songs; I'm still a little baffled by some of the choices, especially while more obvious candidates weren't included (Virginia, Broken Arrow, and Dark Side of the Sun are the most glaring omissions) over other songs where the connection seemed a bit forced. There were also some hard cuts and odd, sudden transitions; for instance, she goes from three chapters on 9/11 to one on Dr. Blasey Ford and one on female genital mutilation, before tying back to the 9/11 aftermath, which was quite the roller coaster. I would've moved some chapters around and arranged them differently (although that FGM chapter would feel out of place anywhere in the book!). My complaints are minor though; this is a worthy, timely (albeit very US-centric) effort that will speak to different people in different ways; it's something for the fans, but it has the potential of transcending that audience. Anyone who turns to music and art in general to find solace in difficult times will feel understood and comforted, and musicians in particular would find the advice and insight dispensed by someone who has been writing songs and spent as much time in the industry as she has especially valuable. Tori has a unique gift for quiet observation and distilling some of the most intangible emotions into a sonic form with a myriad of possible interpretations; it's why her music touches so many people, and why her following, while not the largest, is certainly among the most loyal and devoted of any living artist. Resistance is powerful, active, and needed, now more than ever. Tori pleads with us to pull ourselves out of the "looking for a savior"-syndrome and do our part: We have to climb out of the belly of the beast ourselves, together, by striving to be the very best molecular machines we can be. Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. ————— All my book reviews can be found here · Buy on BookDepository

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    Collective trauma is its own energy. Doesn't that just describe the here and now.  When I was in college a friend dragged me along to see Tori Amos in concert--Thanks, Todd. It was a small venue so we were pretty close. There are passionate performers, and I have to admit that Amos was so intense that I almost couldn't handle it. The energy vibrated off of her and across the audience. She's a brilliant pianist. Don't believe me, she was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory at age five. This boo Collective trauma is its own energy. Doesn't that just describe the here and now.  When I was in college a friend dragged me along to see Tori Amos in concert--Thanks, Todd. It was a small venue so we were pretty close. There are passionate performers, and I have to admit that Amos was so intense that I almost couldn't handle it. The energy vibrated off of her and across the audience. She's a brilliant pianist. Don't believe me, she was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory at age five. This book is a primer for artists. Amos explores the trajectory of an artist's life from the springboards to the stumbling blocks. How to keep going when you get lost and demotivated. Most of all, how life affects and inspires art creation. The young artist's journey is made up of a number of components, not least the ways they see older people act when it comes to issues of morality and accountability.   Just as a gay bar may have been the safest place for a thirteen-year-old girl, a hotel bar near the White House was the most revealing place for a teenage girl to bear witness to the wheeling and dealing of supposedly moral men, some of whom were laying the groundwork for a compromised future.   It is a different game that must be played when you are on the bottom of the music business food chain. Tori Amos's songs are political and deeply emotional, viscerally so. She is not Pop music, she is subversive. She takes her work to be art and art is disruptive. This book is part autobiography, but the primary focus is how her history helped create her art. The goal is to make each night a collaborative statement that cannot be erased because the set list is a time capsule in itself and tells me everything I need to remember about that day. Sound check does not begin until around 4:30 p.m., so the set list probably is not decided until 7:00 for an 8:20 curtain. In essence, this book is a pep talk, a straight-shooting 'this is how I do it' exemplar for artists. Amos outlines pit falls, lies we tell ourselves, and coping mechanisms and strategies.Which one of my flaws has gotten out of the back seat and is now driving the car? When a flaw starts driving the car, your alarm bells need to start ringing. Improvisation might not seem like a survival tactic, but it was mine. This is when the skill of turning musical themes I had been hearing over the week into variations on those themes came into being. It was imperative that Dad believe that the Rolling Stones' songs or any other "devil music" was not what I was playing--not only because it could pervert a young mind like mine, but he had to believe I was practicing what the Peabody had assigned.  And in case you're wondering where Tori Amos falls ideologically: [Post 9/11: ]Someone at a radio station showed me a list of banned records, that is, songs that could not be played on air in light of the tragedy. It didn't surprise me that songs with the words "airplane," "fire," and "crash" in the title were on the list. But then I saw one word. Imagine. The radio guy said to me, "Can you believe those clowns banned 'Imagine'?" My response to him was, "Yes, I can actually believe that the Hawks would want to ban 'Imagine.' They banned it because songs can be dangerous. And the ideology of 'Imagine' is everything that they do not want the masses to remember." Over the years, Russians have confided in me how they defend themselves against this dark art of information warfare and one of its deadly symptoms--demotivation. Literally, the Russian people defend and armor themselves with art. And this is a perfect definition for art and respecting the audience. After all, art is a form of communication; you can't tell someone how to answer. Once a song leaves my lair, it will form relationships that I have no control over and really should not want to have control over. A bunch of authors could learn from this.  I liked the insights in to Tori Amos' process of creating and the absolute dedication to the playlist being adjusted for each audience and day to be the conversation that she wants to have with that audience.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    Tori Amos’ stirring, hopeful, and heart wrenching RESISTANCE is the book I both know I have always been waiting for, and a welcome surprise. I should state that Amos has been my favorite musician since the 8th grade, and I have closed followed her career since first hearing Jackie’s Strength on the radio and remember being so moved that I knew my life would never be the same. I am eternally grateful to Atria Books for giving me an advanced reader’s copy of my most anticipated book of 2020. As so Tori Amos’ stirring, hopeful, and heart wrenching RESISTANCE is the book I both know I have always been waiting for, and a welcome surprise. I should state that Amos has been my favorite musician since the 8th grade, and I have closed followed her career since first hearing Jackie’s Strength on the radio and remember being so moved that I knew my life would never be the same. I am eternally grateful to Atria Books for giving me an advanced reader’s copy of my most anticipated book of 2020. As soon as I was sent it, I immediately opened it savored every page (though it ended up taking me only 2 days to devour!) The book is framed by lyrics of her songs spanning her 3-decade career making albums. The songs she chose are poignant, political, and often emotional. She frames her thoughts about the history of this country’s politics, her grief, her travels through the south, feminism, 9/11 & the Iraq war, and what it means to be an artist around these timeless songs. Her writing is at once sharp and beautiful, much like her music. Amos is clearly an observer of the world, and can masterfully mix magical potions of both the personal and the political to create lyrics and music that serve as a blueprint for her audience. You can make the songs your own, but you also know they belong to her and all of the other listeners who have also made them their own. It is a shared experience that is profound and moving, and why her music has guided me throughout my life. A book like this is needed now – Amos does not sugar coat anything, and the book is often hard to read. You’ll want scream, cry, and hug your loved ones. However, it is crucial and timely, and I appreciate that Amos chose to write this book when she did. Fans of hers will love it, no doubt, but this book is also for anyone who looks to art during times of crisis for sanctuary. She inspires us to be courageous in many ways, comforts us through her art, and her words inspire hope. Resistance is not futile; it is crucial and what will save us in the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I've been a fan of Tori Amos since "To Venus and Back" (circa 1999). I love everything she stands for. I love her strength, her honesty, and her resilience. Her music helped me when I was teenager when I was battling anxiety and depression. Her ethereal voice and cryptic lyrics became like a lifeline for me during these turbulent years. She is a musical prodigy after all. I appreciate her raising awareness through her RAINN hotline, and always fighting for the underdog. I'm an honest person so e I've been a fan of Tori Amos since "To Venus and Back" (circa 1999). I love everything she stands for. I love her strength, her honesty, and her resilience. Her music helped me when I was teenager when I was battling anxiety and depression. Her ethereal voice and cryptic lyrics became like a lifeline for me during these turbulent years. She is a musical prodigy after all. I appreciate her raising awareness through her RAINN hotline, and always fighting for the underdog. I'm an honest person so even though I love Tori as a songwriter, I don't think this was a well written memoir. The problem I had with "Resistance" is Tori's confusing prose and tone. When she starts talking about her songwriting process, (she calls them her muses) this where she loses me as a reader. Tori has always been too smart for her own good, but the way she writes comes off a little pretentious. She's also very eccentric, which isn't a bad thing but I don't think her overall message/intentions are coming in loud and clear. She talks in circles and I found it difficult to keep up with the way she expresses herself. I felt like she jumped around too much from one topic to another. I will always love and admire Tori, but I can't give her a glowing review just because I'm a fan of her music. With that being said, I did enjoy her first memoir, "Piece by Piece" much better. It was more cohesive and intriguing. There were some touching moments in "Resistance" when she talks about her unconditional love for her parents. I also enjoyed reading about when she started performing in piano bars as a teenager, and her candidness about the political landscape in America, past, present, and future. Thank you, Netgalley and Atria for the digital ARC. Release date: May 5, 2020

  5. 4 out of 5

    ⭐ Roxie |The Book Slayer| Voorhees ⭐

    I like to think that I grew up and experienced the best years in music history. Arguably, 1993-1994 birthed some of the best music: Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral, Tool Undertow, and Tori Amos Little Earthquakes. The most formative years of my life were drenched with Tori's words. I have traveled thousands of miles to be in the same room as her. I have touched her hand. I have cheered when she mimed she was pregnant before sitting at her piano. But my favorite memory of Tori, will always be Sep I like to think that I grew up and experienced the best years in music history. Arguably, 1993-1994 birthed some of the best music: Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral, Tool Undertow, and Tori Amos Little Earthquakes. The most formative years of my life were drenched with Tori's words. I have traveled thousands of miles to be in the same room as her. I have touched her hand. I have cheered when she mimed she was pregnant before sitting at her piano. But my favorite memory of Tori, will always be September 20, 1999 when she played Smells Like Teen Spirit. I have loved and admired Tori for close to three decades. Her music calms my soul. Her words flood into all corners of my person. That being said, I am not a blind acceptor of everything she puts out. So I say this with the most love and respect I can give, Tori, darling, this was a bit of a mess. Now understandably, that is why we reviewers read advanced copies, to find the holes and errors. So listed below are my notes on each section. Some were awesome and well formed while others really lacked anything to hold on to. I gave 4 stars because I genuinely enjoyed reading this. I do hope that some editing is done prior to printing and would love to hear Tori narrate the audio book so we can really feel the emotional connection to her writing. (It could also have the playlist that I have outlined for the book below, so it would be an album/book combo!) Gold Dust Tori visits DC through the decades of her life. She speaks of the Muses and her ongoing relationship with them. "Follow the threads that are woven within the Song Beings. They will get you to where you need to go. And be receptive to which Song Beings are coming to you, not just the ones you personally favor." We then get a look into Tori's childhood. A music prodigy, Tori begins piano at 3 and by the time she is a 13 year old she is playing clubs. "Once they found out about the gay bar that had given me a chance, some good Christians warned that we along with those homosexuals were going to burn in the fiery rivers of hell. I was quite proud of my father's response to that rabble: 'There is no safer place for a thirteen-year-old girl than in an all-gay bar.' Amen, dad." Devils and Gods Tori begins to play more bars near the White House and sees a backdoor view of our politics. Little Earthquakes Tori witnesses a big shift in America. She talks of politics at the times and the beginning of America's never ending conflict with the Middle East. This section was less personal and more of an essay on the times political shift. *Sadface* Bang Jump forward to 2017. Tori then discusses immigration and "children in cages". She briefly explains her personal beliefs citing Carl Sagan "Humans are all made of star stuff." Girl Now we are in 1990 with the birth of Girl. Tori speaks of her songs are sentient beings. So when she isn't being her true self her songs put things into perspective. "'Girl' would say, That's natural. That part of you served her purpose. Thank her and let her go. 'Just like that?' I'd ask. Send her off with a margarita. She'll be fine." Girl Disappearing Now we are in NYC 9/11/01. This was a great section on what she physically observed during one of the most painful events of America's history. I Can't See New York Here we start the recovery of 9/11. Tori finds herself torn between continuing her obligations as an artist and absorbing her surroundings. Pancake From Tori's view, we see the incitement of war to the American people during a time when they needed peace and comfort. Father's Son September 27, 2018 (my birthday btw) RAINN received the most calls in one day. Ever. This was in response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testamony pleading with the Senate Judiciary Committee to not allow the man who sexually assaulted her become a US Supreme Court Justice. Ophelia This song outlines the emotions a survivor feels. Cornflake Girl Women that sabatoge other women. She largely discusses the topic of Female Genital Mutilation. She time jumped back to 1993. Again this section felt more essay-ish than a personal story. *frown* Scarlet's Walk Over the next few sections, Tori discusses the time after 9/11 and her staunch anti-war belief. Jackie's Strength Midsection side step from 2002 to 1998. Tori, what are you doing girl. Has Neil read this? Silent All These Years Me and a Gun Now a section on speaking up. Shattering Sea Another section on DV. The Chase A duet with her daughter/niece (they play two sides of the same character) Riot Poof Pilgrimage talk and BAM! right into 2017 tour. Russia Childhood story and family background. Barons of Suburbia Angry song toward corrupt people in Tori's life. Yo George I honestly don't have any clue what she is trying to say here... Taxi Ride June 2014 Russia tour Many Russians wrote letters to Tori explaining how horrible life was for them in Russia. Not Gonna Get Us by t.A.T.u. Putin troops storm her concert under the premise of security for the president's arrival the next day. Sassy Tori decides to give them Yes, Anastasia May 2019 Personal story about a family outing. Not the Red Baron War stories about relatives. Mary's Raven Tori lost her mom May 11, 2019. This section explores that pain and grief. "Death is messy, and I am leaking." Sister Janet Here Tori explores the other side, feeling helpless when someone you love is dealing with that pain and grief. 1000 Oceans Tori's mom appears to her as a raven. In this section she goes into more depth of that grief process and how it affected her art. The Beekeeper More on Mary. The Vicar's Wife And even more on Mary. Reindeer King Shortly after Mary's death, Tori is to give the commencement speech at the Peabody Conservatory. She battles the grief with what she knows, music. "For me the magic twelve were the twelve notes of a scale. By adding the piano to the circle this magic became my magic thirteen." A Sorta Fairytale Crucify In the Springtime of His Voodoo Personal conversation with Mary about music. Then a section full of advice. Datura Great section on overcoming turbulent times. Climb Thank you to Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, Inc., and NetGalley for an electronic copy of Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage in exchange for an honest review. Out May 5, 2020 Disclaimer: This piece is still a work in progress, meaning, things can change. Quotes might be removed or altered. Sections may swap or deleted.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for a digital ARC of 'Resistance' by Tori Amos. "Collective trauma is its own energy." This is a much anticipated work by a woman who has been making waves in the music industry for upwards of 40 years. Enigmatic, fiery, often misunderstood, charismatic performer that she is, Tori Amos has been a catalyst of our collective cultural memory since the early 1990s. If you are unfamiliar with her unique musical style, this book might not be the best introduction t Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for a digital ARC of 'Resistance' by Tori Amos. "Collective trauma is its own energy." This is a much anticipated work by a woman who has been making waves in the music industry for upwards of 40 years. Enigmatic, fiery, often misunderstood, charismatic performer that she is, Tori Amos has been a catalyst of our collective cultural memory since the early 1990s. If you are unfamiliar with her unique musical style, this book might not be the best introduction to her or her music. The writing mimics the cadence of Amos's lyrics. The book is diaphanous and not rooted by chronological events. Rather the story flows thematically, and events and recollections present themselves as totems guiding the narrative. Each chapter is punctuated by song lyrics and filled with anecdotes of how her music came into existence. If you are not used to Amos's method of storytelling, then this can be a bit jarring. However, those familiar with the magical quality of her writing will be richly rewarded. Amos has been criticized for her sometimes vulgar and outspoken musical style. With songs like 'Me and a Gun', 'Raspberry Swirl', "Leather", "Playboy Mommy", and "Original Sinsuality", Amos's lyrics explore themes of sexuality, womanhood, and the powerful Feminine. She has been politically active for most of her career, and her blatant intolerance for injustice is inspiring. She was the original spokesperson for RAINN (founded in 1994) and continues to fundraise for them annually. As she explored in ‘Resistance', it becomes clear that Amos has had her finger on the cultural pulse of our nation for many decades. However, this book is not a blueprint for political activism. Nor does it bring us any closer to some shared sense of progress, but instead serves as an acknowledgment of our shared trauma. 'Resistance' also explains how Amos has been able to channel her discomfort with the American political engine through her music, and while she is clearly 'woke', this book still manages to feel out of sync. Amos has been largely silent on social media for the past several years, and the passion that fuels these pages seem a bit...tone deaf. Amos has produced a very personal work, but one that might not resonate with a wide audience. Which is unfortunate because she has such a powerful and compassionate voice and the potential to reach new audiences.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Girl

    I am a huge Tori Amos fan. And so, there was no question that I would read this book. On release. Having said that, I'm... not entirely sure how to judge it. (I'm still not quite sure what I think about her first book, Piece by Piece, released in 2005, at the height of my fandom.) There are personal stories. There are personal stories concerning politics. (She never invokes the "personal is political" idea, but she might as well do.) There are stories about how politics and things going on in the I am a huge Tori Amos fan. And so, there was no question that I would read this book. On release. Having said that, I'm... not entirely sure how to judge it. (I'm still not quite sure what I think about her first book, Piece by Piece, released in 2005, at the height of my fandom.) There are personal stories. There are personal stories concerning politics. (She never invokes the "personal is political" idea, but she might as well do.) There are stories about how politics and things going on in the world influence the creation of stories. It is not a clearly shaped, coherent narrative, but, rather, a collection of personal reflections. What Amos advises is, in short, to "out-create": respond to the political crisis with creativity. Be resistant by being creative. It's an engaging book, but I'm not entirely sure that it is for everybody.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This had some good advice about the creative process and living an artist's life—of course it does! Tori is truly living her Wise Woman archetype. This book is a good reminder of Tori's genius and general under-ratedness. God, I love this woman. There are revealing parts about the death of her mother last year and a brief mention of the death of her friend Beenie (!), events that are probably going to cast a shadow on the next Tori album (which she explicitly says should be out before the end of This had some good advice about the creative process and living an artist's life—of course it does! Tori is truly living her Wise Woman archetype. This book is a good reminder of Tori's genius and general under-ratedness. God, I love this woman. There are revealing parts about the death of her mother last year and a brief mention of the death of her friend Beenie (!), events that are probably going to cast a shadow on the next Tori album (which she explicitly says should be out before the end of 2020). It's a very sad part of the book and Tori pulls no punches. Pobre Tori! Similarly to "Piece by Piece," there's quite a bit in here about the genesis of certain songs. Tori manages to explain a lot without ever really explaining..... how she writes a song (I feel like "Piece by Piece" is actually more explicit on this). In general I would recommend this to Tori fans. I personally was disappointed that there wasn't more in here about her fights with the music industry, but Tori's gotta do her thing. I will say there were a few parts of this book that had me in disbelief—the most egregious is one of the earlier chapters, where she spends five pages—five frigging pages—explaining the background of the Iran hostage crisis. TORI..... I don't want to read your Wikipedia summary of the FUCKING IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS. I want to read YOUR story!!! The second most egregious moment is when she quotes George W. Bush's entire speech—his entire speech—about going to war to Iraq (I could be misremembering this, maybe it was the "axis of evil" part from his state of the union address). AGAIN....... TORI...... WHY IS THIS IN YOUR BOOK? I DON'T WANT TO READ THIS. End of rant! (Love u, Tori!)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pickle Farmer

    I love Tori and would walk into the fire with her wherever she goes, but TBH this was pretty meh to me. Love her to death, though! Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" is still the best, most genuinely "literary" music book I've ever read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cristi Julsrud

    Tori and I have been together a long time. Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink got me through high school; Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel kept me company in college. To Venus and Back was there for me through heartbreak, and The Beekeeper and Unrepentant Geraldines coached me through a crisis of faith. Every major moment in my life has had a soundtrack of Tori's music. I was thrilled when I saw that she had written another book. I read Piece by Piece quite a few years ago, and I lov Tori and I have been together a long time. Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink got me through high school; Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel kept me company in college. To Venus and Back was there for me through heartbreak, and The Beekeeper and Unrepentant Geraldines coached me through a crisis of faith. Every major moment in my life has had a soundtrack of Tori's music. I was thrilled when I saw that she had written another book. I read Piece by Piece quite a few years ago, and I loved it almost as much as I love Tori's music. Resistance, like Tori herself, is more mature than Piece by Piece, but it retains the same qualities. If you are looking for a straightforward, easy to follow narrative, then Resistance is not the book for you. Much like Tori's music, it meanders. There is a thread of story that runs through the book, but it is not told in an organizational structure that makes it easy to follow. The setup is fairly predictable: each chapter is organized around one of the songs, which preface the chapter as poetry. Sometimes the correlation between the chapter's content is obvious, other times the reader has to work to dig into the song's context to understand why they fit together. The book begins with the song Gold Dust from Scarlet's Walk. "Sights and sounds pull me back down another year/ I was here/ I was here..." The sounds of the songs propel the narrative through a host of events, from Tori's time playing piano in bars in DC, through 9/11, the Iraq War, the #metoo movement, and the 2016 election. The book almost has two storylines. The first is about Tori's response as an artist through the major historical events that have happened during the decades-long span of her career. We see her learning that "the personal is political," standing up to record executives, finding her voice, and using her platform as an artist to speak out and advocate for change. The second storyline (in my opinion the more effective one) is Tori working through her grief about losing her mother, Mary. This happened while she was in the process of writing the book. The chapters dealing with her grief are raw and emotional, invoking emotions in the way her best songs do. Her voice here is honest, speaking to the reader but also to herself. You won't get through those chapters without tears. The book ends with a call to arms for artists. Tori encourages us to keep creating, even when things are dark and scary, and the creative process seems hard and maybe like it's not worth it. She ends the book by reminding us, "We must out-create Destruction. It is the only way." I don't necessarily believe this book is for everyone, but it was certainly the right book for me. It saved me from a deep, dark, quarantine reading slump that was threatening to derail my entire reading life. If you are a fan of Tori's work, or if you are an artist, or if you are just in a deep, dark place and need reminding of how to keep moving forward, pick up a copy. (Addendum: Tori reads the Audible version herself, so I will definitely be picking up a copy of it as well. And there is an "official" Spotify playlist with all of the songs referenced in the book. A great retrospective of Tori's career with many great songs!)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Music has always been a part of my life. While reading this book, which zeros in on Tori’s music life and her politics and how she draws from events to make her music, I started thinking back to my favorite songs from the 60s and 70s that were mostly political/protest songs such as: Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth, Marvin Gaye’s : What’s Going On, Neil Young’s: Ohio, Joni Mitchell’s: Big Yellow Taxi and Janis Ian’s: Society’s Child. I’ve always wanted a message in the songs I listen to. Music has always been a part of my life. While reading this book, which zeros in on Tori’s music life and her politics and how she draws from events to make her music, I started thinking back to my favorite songs from the 60s and 70s that were mostly political/protest songs such as: Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth, Marvin Gaye’s : What’s Going On, Neil Young’s: Ohio, Joni Mitchell’s: Big Yellow Taxi and Janis Ian’s: Society’s Child. I’ve always wanted a message in the songs I listen to. I’ve also been drawn to singer songwriters. Particularly women singer songwriters. When I first heard Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos I was blown away! It was like she was speaking directly to me. Telling me to be myself and speak my mind and not be Silent! Her music through the years has been a comfort through good times and bad. On my way to work I would slip in one of her many cds and crank up the volume to get me motivated. Little Earthquakes is her masterpiece in my opinion. I have seen Tori in concert 3 times and they are life altering experiences. Resistance talks of her musical journey and her hope of change and how music can be very important in these current times of our authoritarian government. If you are a fan I highly recommend this book. Also I recommend listening to the songs she has selected in this book while reading. She actually has an official playlist on Spotify. If you are looking for an inspirational read get this book. If nothing else hop on Spotify and listen to a genius.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dominic

    "The most important skill a songwriter needs is to be able to listen. Like an elephant: ears the size of Kansas. Not only do you need to hear every beat of breath between what is being said; you have to hear what *isn't* being said." (32-33) Tori Amos was the first artist who truly changed me, and I owe a lot of my feminism, my activism, and my emotion health to the example she started to set over 25 years ago. Reading *Resistance*, her first true memoir, was like a walk throughout those many yea "The most important skill a songwriter needs is to be able to listen. Like an elephant: ears the size of Kansas. Not only do you need to hear every beat of breath between what is being said; you have to hear what *isn't* being said." (32-33) Tori Amos was the first artist who truly changed me, and I owe a lot of my feminism, my activism, and my emotion health to the example she started to set over 25 years ago. Reading *Resistance*, her first true memoir, was like a walk throughout those many years as her fan, a proud Ears With Feet made to feel a whole hell of a lot less alone. In many ways this book is also about ME, considering how much time I spent pouring over lyric booklets and burning memories into the rainbows on the bellies of those many cds. For Tori Amos fans, this book is a treasure and a gift. A must read and a must listen.. For aspiring musicians, for writers, for young activists seeking a voice, Tori has a lot of wisdom to impart. I can't say for certain whether a casual fan or even a nonfan will connect with her narrative voice, but I find it to be so comforting, humble yet certain in the truths she has found for herself. When Florence Welch published *Useless Magic* a few years ago, I cried out to the Muses: Make Tori publish a keepsake just like this, a showcase of her art and lyrics and wisdom! Leave it to Tori to create something similar but SO PERFECTLY HER--focused on justice and feminism and how we all can make the world better through our art. The audiobook is pure magic, too. I need to find mp3s of all the song lyrics included in the book (many of them my favourites--Invisible Boy, Climb, Silent All These Years, Father's Son), read by Tori herself like the poetry they are.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    There are certain life experiences that change you. They penetrate their way into your bones and they seem to have a way of guiding your existence, quite often for the rest of your life. In Tori Amos's own language, they become your muse. I'm not sure that every human being has such a life experience, though I believe that's more because not every human being opens themselves up to such a life experience. They're out there. Waiting. I will always remember sitting front row inside the Vogue Night There are certain life experiences that change you. They penetrate their way into your bones and they seem to have a way of guiding your existence, quite often for the rest of your life. In Tori Amos's own language, they become your muse. I'm not sure that every human being has such a life experience, though I believe that's more because not every human being opens themselves up to such a life experience. They're out there. Waiting. I will always remember sitting front row inside the Vogue Nightclub in Indianapolis, an early-career Tori Amos sitting alone at her piano. "Little Earthquakes" had just come out. I was early in my healing journey from sexual abuse as a child and a sexual assault as an adult, a young disabled adult male who had already outlived my life expectancy with spina bifida yet who was fumbling my way unsure and unclear and unable to communicate the immense darkness I felt inside. Tori Amos's "Silent All These Years" was already moving toward the charts, but I knew that the stark, remarkable "Me and a Gun" was a voice of defiance and resilience and I prayed to the God that I believed in that she would have the courage to sing this song so that I could see how she had the courage to share an experience I was struggling to share. It was one of the few times in my life I've ever sat in the front row of a show. Being in a wheelchair, front rows are seldom an option but for whatever reason it became an option for this one night. I'm 54-years-old now. I practically grew up with Tori Amos's artistry and activism and mind and heart by my side. If I were to make a short list of my top five concerts of all this time, this relatively small nightclub show would easily be on that list and Tori Amos's face when she sang the opening note of the A capella "Me and a Gun" would become a concert moment that would guide my own healing journey and my own ability to give voice to what I perceived to be the dark little voices inside my head that were desperately seeking permission to live and breathe and weep and laugh and become part of my existence. I thought about that night at the Vogue quite often while reading "Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage," Amos's courageous and extraordinary literary journey that will unquestionably please most Amos fans and especially those Amos fans who tap into the intimate corners of Amos's musical journey and who click with her rhythmic vulnerabilities. The truth is that I've never always quite "gotten" Amos. My slightly autistic mind tends to lean toward the concrete, my ability to receive abstract and mystical messages limited by a cognitive filter that gets clogged up by societal pollution. But, I always get Amos's rhythm. I always get her presence. I remember sitting front row at the Vogue and being fully aware that even then Amos had a remarkable ability to read her audience, intuitively and courageously responding to their needs while also protectively honoring her own. I don't know if Amos saw me that evening, though I instinctively believe she saw everyone. I didn't meet her. I didn't stay after the show. While she must've had a supporting band, truthfully I don't remember them at all. I remember Tori Amos. I remember the world that she created with her words and her music and her presence. I remember buying "Little Earthquakes" and every release to follow, something I've only ever done with one other artist (John Hiatt). That world. Those worlds. They come to life in "Resistance." This book, which is structured in such a way that it feels like Tori Amos, simultaneously vulnerable and mystical and musical and poetic, is indeed a story of hope, change, and courage from Amos's early days of setting aside her first and only dismaying album "Y Kant Tori Read" to the courage of releasing music recounting life's most aching and vulnerable experiences to the strengthening of a woman who would become one of music's most passionate purveyors of politically intuitive yet socially insightful music. If you don't "get" Tori Amos, "Resistance" is probably not the book that will make that happen. If you've never felt that rhythm and lost yourself in the world she creates then "Resistance" may likely feel like more Amos mumble jumble with mystical language that never creeps into your brain. However, there's an exception. If you're an artist who has struggled with finding your true voice artistically then "Resistance" may very well be a book that helps you get there. Amos practically puts a picture frame around each chapter with one of her lyrics, from the remarkable "Scarlet's Walk" to "Silent All These Years" to a host of others and then proceeds to weave those lyrics into her personal and professional journey. At times, the lyrics seem obviously woven into the tapestry of her life. Other times, the muses have spoken and Amos's life has created this music that is needed by her, by her fans, and by the universe. Amos paints beautifully the journey of becoming an artist of change and an artist of courage. She paints beautifully what it was like to be a teenager playing piano in a gay bar, watched over by the older gay men who would help shape her young musical voice. She paints beautifully the ways in which she listened and learned while playing in Washington D.C. for the early career power brokers who are now breaking the system and using it to their own advantage. She paints beautifully what it was like to be on the verge of an album release when 9/11 happened and shut everything down, yet she and her band opted to bring a musical voice to it all. She paints beautifully the way music and creativity can help heal loss and grief and can help bring us back to love. Despite my connection to Tori Amos's music, the truth is it's always been more of an empowering connection than an emotionally resonant one. As intimately as "Little Earthquakes" worked its way into my life, it was never an album that brought me to tears and even as I sat in the Vogue Nightclub watching Amos perform it was more about my voice finding a path than it was any sort of cathartic experience. I didn't expect to emotionally connect with "Resistance," but that's exactly what happened. It felt intimate and the tears flowed, surprisingly often, and I felt Amos's lyrics and her journey with remarkable clarity. The truth is that while I've loved each of Amos's album in its own special way, I've never again connected with an Amos release like I did with "Little Earthquakes." It was the perfect album at the perfect time in my life. It became my musical Bukowski or my musical John Callahan, a unique voice that helped me give myself permission to my own life experiences from growing up with disability to sexual assault to my wife's death by suicide and my newborn daughter's death by my wife. It helped me make sense of life traumas and, perhaps more importantly, to use my creativity to take back my voice and to give myself love over and over and over again. "Resistance" brings these things to life. "Resistance" gives voice to Amos's lyrics and to Amos's own artistic journey and her soulful and spirit-filled personal journey that was influenced in undeniable ways by her childhood yet became something even grander and more extraordinary. If you require a cohesive narrative, "Resistance" doesn't necessarily offer it. If you're looking for a detailed, point-by-point explanation of her music "Resistance" doesn't offer it. In many ways, "Resistance" feels like what I've always imagined a coffeehouse conversation with Amos to be like - filled with fact and wonder, vulnerability and challenge. It's weird, really. It's been right about 30 years ago that Amos's "Little Earthquakes" helped me strip away the facade and get to the core of my artistry as a writer, a poet, an occasional actor, a passionate activist, and someone who believed that creativity could change the world. Since then, I've loved and lost and somehow still survived spina bifida. I've written one book with another on the way. I've produced books and CD's and DVD's and comedy and even two short films. I've traveled over 6,000 miles by wheelchair telling stories about hope, change, and courage. Now, here we are again. My life has been changing as of late. I recently lost the rest of my left leg and declared the end to a 30-year journey with an event I started bringing voice to victims of violence because my body simply can't handle the demand anymore. I just spent three months of my life healing from limb loss and searching for my artistic and activist voice once again. "Resistance" comes into my life and with clarity and purpose and vulnerability and strength, Amos once again creates a work of wonder that influences me on a profound level and helps me once again remove the mask of inability and fear and to trust my own muses and the voice inside me that has never, not once, ever let me down. "Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage" is currently available from Atria Books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This book is a colorful braid of personal and political history, song, advice, and stories of the road that could only come from Tori herself. It’s like having a deep, emotional conversation with a friend, and learning from the lived wisdom of a great teacher. Resistance is so emotionally intense and informationally dense-it’s unlike any memoir I’ve read, and has gotten me super excited to read more in the genre. Thank you so much Tori, for writing a beautiful, inspiring book. 2020 would have be This book is a colorful braid of personal and political history, song, advice, and stories of the road that could only come from Tori herself. It’s like having a deep, emotional conversation with a friend, and learning from the lived wisdom of a great teacher. Resistance is so emotionally intense and informationally dense-it’s unlike any memoir I’ve read, and has gotten me super excited to read more in the genre. Thank you so much Tori, for writing a beautiful, inspiring book. 2020 would have been even more bleak without it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tony Osso

    I have always loved and admired Tori and will follow her wherever she may go, but she was not served well by her editor in the concept for this book. I’ve absorbed so much of her press, and this book often comes across as a fairly shallow regurgitation of many of the themes discussed there. She doesn’t seem to actually have any advice for writers other than to “out create” the negative forces. There’s no cohesion in her anecdotes or buildup to an emotional peak. Nothing really holds together. Sa I have always loved and admired Tori and will follow her wherever she may go, but she was not served well by her editor in the concept for this book. I’ve absorbed so much of her press, and this book often comes across as a fairly shallow regurgitation of many of the themes discussed there. She doesn’t seem to actually have any advice for writers other than to “out create” the negative forces. There’s no cohesion in her anecdotes or buildup to an emotional peak. Nothing really holds together. Sadly, a disappointment. Also, can’t imagine what a non-fan would make of this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becki

    The chapters in this book are named after her songs, so naturally I listened while I read, and the glory of Tori, whom I’ve always loved but had left latent in my heart came crashing back to life. An intersection of personal narrative, political inspiration and artistic process, Resistance implores, “pull yourself out of ‘looking for a savior’ syndrome and do your part.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tzipora

    This book is a special, and at times very intense experience, mixing lyrics spanning Tori’s entire long career with a variety of musings, thoughts on art and creating, politics, pain, and world events, as well as dealing with the grief of losing both her mother and a dear friend very close together. I highly recommend queueing up each song and listening and reading along with the lyrics on the page. While it’s become somewhat popular in our internet and music streaming age for authors to include This book is a special, and at times very intense experience, mixing lyrics spanning Tori’s entire long career with a variety of musings, thoughts on art and creating, politics, pain, and world events, as well as dealing with the grief of losing both her mother and a dear friend very close together. I highly recommend queueing up each song and listening and reading along with the lyrics on the page. While it’s become somewhat popular in our internet and music streaming age for authors to include playlists with their books, here the music is truly and fully a part of the book. And you may find, I sure did, that the songs you’ve known by heart for years and even decades take on a new or different meaning. Tori writes of them continuing to do so even for her. Ultimately this isn’t a long book and can be read quickly, but I recommend against that. Take your time with it. Personally, I found while I dove in head first, eventually I needed breaks, more of them as I went on, because there are a lot of heavy subjects within. Tori was approached with the idea to write this second book shortly after the election of President Trump, to write about the importance of art and artists as an integral part of the resistance. Even she did not realize what a challenging undertaking this would be and as a reader and an artist, a term that reading this book inspired me to reclaim for myself, I did not know just how much I needed this book or the sentiment behind it. There’s something very powerful here, maybe especially NOW at the time it’s being released where we are not only jaded and struggling with the present political reality, but the pressures of a wild and rapidly changing world beyond what most of us ever could’ve imagined. Even pre-COVID 19 I think many of us were very tired, dejected, aching on a deep soul level. Tori writes poignantly about refusing to accept the idea of artistic barrenness and I think so many of us, regardless of the form or medium of our art, have been feeling or even falling into that trap of believing ourselves barren. In fact, right now, I am certain that feeling extends far beyond artists. We are feeling it as people, as parents, as friends, daughters and sons, as politically engaged citizens, etc. I’m even tempted to change my rating the more I sit with this book and the thoughts and feelings it’s left me with. But I do want to mention, I think the book could’ve been slightly rearranged and the structure fine tuned a bit. While I’m okay with Tori’s musings not being in order, there are a few points where I feel a different order may have better served the narrative (and I found myself with a bit of whiplash to stray from a topic onto something totally different only to once again return to the first thing). The first third of the book, the song lyrics lead each chapter, then suddenly they’re at the end. After a point I actually completely lost track of which song went with which chapter. Another review suggests the order returned back to song and then chapter but that honestly wasn’t clear to me. Interesting enough though, once I got to that point I found it didn’t even matter. They worked very well and I almost felt like Tori found her groove more fully as well. So while the earlier part of the book feels more like a variety of separate chapters, for me at least, it all began to flow together and it was here that I began to gain so much more from reading. I could regale you with tales of what Tori personally means to me, list off all the details of my years of being a fan but I think most of us who are going to read this one are all in the same boat. Similarly, I don’t want to summarize what exactly Tori writes about because I think this book is a journey, a unique one that so beautifully combines two of my dearest loves- music and reading- in a way I’ve never experienced before but gained a lot from. This is a book to experience, more than to tell about. And I think, some editing issues aside (that for all I know could be changed in the final edition, or not. I received my copy from Net Galley many months back because I knew I NEEDED this book. I’m glad though that I waited until now to read it because I think I needed it even more IR was more ready to receive it now), I think I’d call this a 4.5. And in some ways it defies rating altogether. I don’t know what it might mean or read like to someone who isn’t familiar with Tori, who isn’t drawn to her lyrics and music already, so there’s a lack of objectivity in that sense and I realize even the biggest fan may not have the kind of experience I did. But that is ultimately the true magic of art, isn’t it? We can all read/listen/view the same piece but walk away with something different and what I need or even want from a book or song may be vastly different from what you need or want. Thank you to Atria Books and Net Galley, but most of all, thank you Tori- for giving me such a unique sort of mixed media experience and exceeding my expectations. This is a book I’m going to be thinking about for quite awhile and as I find various Tori songs stuck in my head, I find they’ve changed too or that I’m thinking about them more deeply than I have before. That is a gift. “We must Out-Create destruction. It is the only way. Destruction can possess and it must be Out-Created by us. Together. We will climb out of the belly of the beast together.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    KellyMarie Meek

    I adore Tori Amos. I finally made the switch from tapes to CD’s (well after the rest of the world) because I found out about import CD singles. I once said I would buy a CD that was just Tori breathing (which sounds creepy now, for sure). I was elated when I was once wearing a Tori tshirt around town and someone thought I was wearing a shirt with my own face on it (it may not have been the best quality image, and we both had the same shade of red hair at the time). But this was... a little much I adore Tori Amos. I finally made the switch from tapes to CD’s (well after the rest of the world) because I found out about import CD singles. I once said I would buy a CD that was just Tori breathing (which sounds creepy now, for sure). I was elated when I was once wearing a Tori tshirt around town and someone thought I was wearing a shirt with my own face on it (it may not have been the best quality image, and we both had the same shade of red hair at the time). But this was... a little much for me? I just couldn’t connect or stay engaged at all. I wanted something else, though I’m not sure exactly what that is. I’m going to go listen to Little Earthquakes on repeat and reconnect with good Tori thoughts.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    I remember listening to Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes in college on repeat. My friends and I were floored by the raw emotion and beauty in the lyrics and music. Since that first solo album in 1992, Tori Amos has continued to write and perform. Her music is deeply personal, but it also speaks to important issues of the day. Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage includes the lyrics from many of Amos’s seminal works paired with reflections on how the songs came to be or I remember listening to Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes in college on repeat. My friends and I were floored by the raw emotion and beauty in the lyrics and music. Since that first solo album in 1992, Tori Amos has continued to write and perform. Her music is deeply personal, but it also speaks to important issues of the day. Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage includes the lyrics from many of Amos’s seminal works paired with reflections on how the songs came to be or how events of the world caused the song to be seen in a new way. The songs aren’t static but change depending on what happens in the world and what the audience needs. In the book, she discusses how her musical journey related to historical events such as the Iran Hostage Crisis, played out when she was a teenager playing at a Washington, DC, piano bar, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky Scandal, the 9/11 tragedy, and the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. About two-thirds of the way through the book, Amos shifts into a meditation on the impact of her mother’s death on her art and on the advice she would give to new musicians about being authentic and discovering their core message, especially in the face of pressure to commercialize or appeal to the lowest common denominator. Personally, I probably would have been happier if the book had exclusively focused on the relationship of the music to activism. The transition between the sections was a little unexpected and jarring for me. I also thought that the narrative was at times too unfocused and stream-of-consciousness when I’d rather have a more direct approach. However, fans of Tori Amos will certainly enjoy this book as will aspiring musicians and songwriters. As someone in the former category, I really enjoyed hearing about the genesis of some of the songs I’ve been listening to for so long and seeing how Amos reflected on the interplay between these songs and current events. Thank you to NetGalley and Atira Books for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julia Simpson-Urrutia

    Tori Amos first pierced my consciousness like a lightning bolt thrown by Letterman from his Late Night Show. That might sound mundane except that I was in Saudi Arabia, married to a Saudi, and this dynamic, creative & intellectual singer on a Western TV show (one that made it past the censors) pulled me up to the edge of my seat with her voice and thoughts, melodic yet dissonant, haunting and probing. Her creative expression embodied the reason I was in the Middle East and in the same musical br Tori Amos first pierced my consciousness like a lightning bolt thrown by Letterman from his Late Night Show. That might sound mundane except that I was in Saudi Arabia, married to a Saudi, and this dynamic, creative & intellectual singer on a Western TV show (one that made it past the censors) pulled me up to the edge of my seat with her voice and thoughts, melodic yet dissonant, haunting and probing. Her creative expression embodied the reason I was in the Middle East and in the same musical breath, straight from the diaphragm, that creativity (like critical thinking, scientific investigation, and freedom to make life choices) was so fragile an acquisition for women anywhere that it has to be guarded and nurtured, not used and then suffocated. I was acutely reminded of these memories as I moved into the pages of this important memoir with the spot-on title. Resistance is a recounting of how a conscientious and vibrantly switched on singer-song writer finds purpose. Resistance is about being alive to meaning; it is about music being the meeting place where thinking people can cut through propaganda to try to understand what is really going on in the world. Intellectual stimulation has been a function of music since the time of Arius, who responded to the Council of Nicea by singing. Song offers a powerful societal structure and Tori Amos shows that being a support to that structure comes with responsibilities. From the first chapter, I felt the electricity of her words, the value of the critical thought, the searching and weaving together of melody to express perceptions reflecting what her first piano bar was literally in the center of: world politics. Her description of playing in smoked-filled lounges in Washington, DC, demonstrates the seeds of her interest in the world, in politics, in freedom and rights. I like her humility as she admits she had no idea, as a young singer at the piano, what Tip O’Neal meant when he said he was speaker of the house. I could just imagine him dancing to an Irish jig. But later, Amos gave me goosebumps when she talks about what resistance has meant to her: resisting against the music producers who held her in contract, resisting when they wanted her to get rid of her piano, resisting against pressure to cancel tours. Her music is as much about personal creative freedom as a commitment to guard a psychic ground where artists, musicians, and music lovers know information exchanged is not for the purposes of gas-lighting. She addresses some of the political players she resists, like Mitch McConnell, telling him that he has “plowed through with a ruthlessness similar to what women have experienced for thousands of years,” a ruthlessness that Amos’ grandmother must have been thinking of when she advised her granddaughter that one day she would have to surrender to a man completely and thereby lose control of who she was. Resistance is a conversation. Amos talks about Kavanaugh and quid pro quo. She talks about her conversations with other women throughout the USA and her belief in what women can accomplish. She reminds her readers that there is a real-life Handmaid’s Tale implicit in McConnell’s catch phrase “plow this through” and that in any single breath, new freedoms taken for granted can dissolve in a sour wind. Anyone of any gender can be controlled, but women have forever been an easier target than men, in general. Being controlled can turn a woman into a facilitator to power that controls other women. The ramifications of quid pro quo and control are common themes in her songs. Amos explains that “once a song leaves [her] lair, it will form relationships that [she has]no control over. . . .” The endless variety of interpretation of songs is a reaction all artists understand, but for that connection to take place, a songwriter must “unearth emotions that confront us with those portions of ourselves that we hide when posting on social media.” Resistance clears the air and lays the cards out on the table. When I first saw Tori Amos, I knew she represented the force that had granted me freedom to choose to come to Saudi Arabia, a force that diminished and almost died due to my personal situation. She reminded me I was still alive and a direct heiress of a legacy of grandmothers and great-great grandmothers going it alone, using their brains and their wiles to gain a heretofore unimaginable level of female freedom. Resistance will surely remind its readers of “tools” that may need dusting and taking out of the backyard shed; the manuscript underscores the importance of music to a tradition of freedoms that need to be watered and sustained just like plants. Thanks #NetGalley #Attria Books #www.grassrootswritersguild.wordpress.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Resistance reads like the memoir Tori wanted to release all along. That’s not to say Piece by Piece didn’t offer good insight into the woman behind the music, but Ann Powers dusted that memoir with such a pretentious sheen (with chapter titles such as Sane Satyrs and Balanced Bacchantes: The Touring Life’s Gypsy Caravan…) that it’d be easy for any non-fan to easily be turned off. Tori’s been through a lot this past year, and while I wouldn’t wish losing one’s best friend and mother within two da Resistance reads like the memoir Tori wanted to release all along. That’s not to say Piece by Piece didn’t offer good insight into the woman behind the music, but Ann Powers dusted that memoir with such a pretentious sheen (with chapter titles such as Sane Satyrs and Balanced Bacchantes: The Touring Life’s Gypsy Caravan…) that it’d be easy for any non-fan to easily be turned off. Tori’s been through a lot this past year, and while I wouldn’t wish losing one’s best friend and mother within two days onto anyone, it did embolden a discernible passion into her writing. Part memoir and part call to action, Tori uses her song catalogue to guide the reader through some of America’s most cataclysmic and/or defining moments of the last few decades - 9/11, the 2016 election, etc. While she does sometimes nosedive into what the hell is she talking about territory (because hey, it’s Tori after all), it’s consistently written from a deep well of care and compassion that is genuinely her and should give those unfamiliar with her work something to appreciate as well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I've long regarded Tori Amos as one of the most interesting and intricate creative minds around. She seems to view both the world, and the creative process, in such a way that very few people do. So I was very excited to dig into this, and have her focus her thoughts and opinions on the topic of Resistance. And this book was... not exactly what I expected it to be. I'm still not entirely sure exactly what sort of book this is. I'm not sure Tori knew what sort of book this was while writing it. At I've long regarded Tori Amos as one of the most interesting and intricate creative minds around. She seems to view both the world, and the creative process, in such a way that very few people do. So I was very excited to dig into this, and have her focus her thoughts and opinions on the topic of Resistance. And this book was... not exactly what I expected it to be. I'm still not entirely sure exactly what sort of book this is. I'm not sure Tori knew what sort of book this was while writing it. At one points it's a recount of war and political unrest (partially through historical recounts, and partially through a lens of a creative writer and performer living through these times). At another it's a straight up memoir about the creative process, and weaving songs together. At another it's a love letter to her mother who passed away shortly before the book was written (and I do wonder whether perhaps parts of the book were written prior to her passing away, hence the distinct feel of the latter half of the book which is very focused on her mother). All of these parts are fascinating, and often beautiful. But it had the effect of feeling a little structurally uncertain. I feel like it would have benefitted from being split into distinct 'parts' that dealt with distinct themes, rather than simply an ongoing series of short segments, some of which flow into one another, and others which seem to take a screeching U-turn to discuss wholly different subject matter. I also love the addition of the song lyrics to split up the segments, although, perhaps it's just me being obtuse and unable to read through Tori's deeply metaphorical lyrics, some of them I would have appreciated a little more explanation in the text for how they fit into the themes being discussed. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a book, but just wish it had a little more structure to it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Niccola Nelson

    Let me preface this review by saying that I am HUGE fan of Tori Amos. I can still remember where I was in 1992 when I heard the cassette tape of Little Earthquakes for the first time (in the cafeteria of Winman Jr High!) and I was memorized by Tori’s voice. So when I say that this book was a HUGE disappointment, it hurts! She should call this a “political memoir” instead because I didn’t get a real sense of her journey as a songwriter which is why I wanted to read it. I listened to the audio and Let me preface this review by saying that I am HUGE fan of Tori Amos. I can still remember where I was in 1992 when I heard the cassette tape of Little Earthquakes for the first time (in the cafeteria of Winman Jr High!) and I was memorized by Tori’s voice. So when I say that this book was a HUGE disappointment, it hurts! She should call this a “political memoir” instead because I didn’t get a real sense of her journey as a songwriter which is why I wanted to read it. I listened to the audio and honestly the last 35 minutes were the best part of the book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    The music of Tori Amos has been a huge part of my life for 17 years, I discovered her music at 16 and it's been like my spirit guide. I love every damn song she's ever written and damn girl, she's written a lot. This book really emphasises her altruism, she writes of the events surrounding her life and the music gifted to her from her muses. She refuses to take sole credit for her oeuvre, instead she sees herself as a co-contributer with the aforementioned muses (seriously, if you're not a fan t The music of Tori Amos has been a huge part of my life for 17 years, I discovered her music at 16 and it's been like my spirit guide. I love every damn song she's ever written and damn girl, she's written a lot. This book really emphasises her altruism, she writes of the events surrounding her life and the music gifted to her from her muses. She refuses to take sole credit for her oeuvre, instead she sees herself as a co-contributer with the aforementioned muses (seriously, if you're not a fan this will get on your nerves quite quickly) and the stories she's been told by her fans - she's just a "vessel". What a woman. What a human.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Favorite Quote: "Grief is messy and I was leaking" I could not have loved this book anymore. I have the hardcover as well as the audible version. To hear Tori Amos narrate the book was simply amazing. It was just like sitting down with her to have a chat. The hardcover included a few pages of pictures. Tori is my favorite artist of all time for a reason. Her beautiful lyrics have been a soundtrack to my life since 1993 when I heard her first album "Little Earthquakes". I didn't know how someone c Favorite Quote: "Grief is messy and I was leaking" I could not have loved this book anymore. I have the hardcover as well as the audible version. To hear Tori Amos narrate the book was simply amazing. It was just like sitting down with her to have a chat. The hardcover included a few pages of pictures. Tori is my favorite artist of all time for a reason. Her beautiful lyrics have been a soundtrack to my life since 1993 when I heard her first album "Little Earthquakes". I didn't know how someone could express the feelings I was having so perfectly. It never stopped. Her 1998 album "From the Choirgirl Hotel" deals with themes from her loss of several pregnancies. It released right after I experienced my first miscarriage and was there for me shortly after when I had yet another miscarriage. I had my son in 1999 and Tori had her daughter in 2000 so when Tori's later albums covered themes about marriage and her child, they also came out when I was experiencing the same events. "Resistance" is overall a better book then her first "Piece By Piece" from 2005. "Resistance" feels more personal and straight forward. "Resistance" is political. If you can't tell by the title alone, if you know Tori's music it shouldn't be unexpected. Her last album, 2017's Native Invader was a response to the Trump presidency and the rollback of weather climate/environmental protections. However it is not just about politics and I found the other sections even more engrossing. The book's chapters are titles of a selection of her songs. On the audiobook version she reads her lyrics to that particular chapter's song before moving into the chapter. It was a great reminder of how positively poetic her lyrics are. The chapter about 9/11 was harrowing. She was in New York at the time doing promo for her 2001 album "Strange Little Girls". She was in hair and makeup when they were notified about the first tower and rushed to the tv. Her team actually headed out of New York and made it straight to her parent's home in Florida when they were called back to New York by David Letterman. He asked her to perform on his show; the first musical act on any station after the attacks. Then the book moves into several chapters about the death of her mother Mary. Mary passed away almost exactly one year ago, May 2019. Her best friend died just a couple days before. The chapters are raw and beautiful. My dad died in 2016...the first time something big happened in my life before Tori had to go through something similar. But the wound is still fresh and I related to her loss and her grief. Resistance and resilience were the themes of this book. Resistance to political forces from "dark warlords of hate". Resistance to the pressures placed on us all to be someone that we aren't. Resilience to handle changes and grief. This book exceeded any expectations that I had for it. As I mentioned "Piece by Piece" was a good book but not a great one. This one just might be great.

  26. 4 out of 5

    The Kawaii Slartibartfast

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Tori Amos talks about how her experiences shaped her songs. And it doesn't sound like much but Amos writes so candidly it almost feels like you're there with her. I'll admit it. I did not care for her first book at all but I've adored her music since middle school The book doesn't follow any chronological order and bouncing around Tori's memories is an enjoyable experience

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I honestly should give this 4 stars as it is a damn mess in parts, but for the most part, its everything I love about Tori and she's so direct and honest. The part about her mom broke my heart. It was rewarding to read the book knowing her body of work so well, and also the parts about when she was here in NYC on 9/11 and the aftermath drove home that period of time was as significant to her as it was to me. Well worth a read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt Fox

    I should note that I started reading this book nearly around the same time of George Floyd's murder. I was conscious of the reviews and commentary her book received, that even though it was written before the pandemic, without any knowledge of its coming, it fit the tone of the time we're living in. I feel this would be true, but it's even more true now as it strikes a tone in concordance with everything centered around the riots and protests, and reading this politically charged work ran parall I should note that I started reading this book nearly around the same time of George Floyd's murder. I was conscious of the reviews and commentary her book received, that even though it was written before the pandemic, without any knowledge of its coming, it fit the tone of the time we're living in. I feel this would be true, but it's even more true now as it strikes a tone in concordance with everything centered around the riots and protests, and reading this politically charged work ran parallel to the overall sensation of what I saw unfurl in the media and in the streets. As I write here in Portland, OR, the third night of protests takes place down the street from me (as I write this I hear the helicopters just a quarter mile away hovering above the expectant riot zone). Her book is a call to action for artists, but it also is a call to the reader to pay attention, to listen, to watch out, to connect, to pass information to each other, to support creation of art. I should also note that I am also a huge Tori Amos fan since the mid-to-late 90s. I've attended quite a few of her concerts (not as many I would have liked), have all her albums and have collected rarities and b-sides, I read her other book and I am familiar with her narrative through interviews, have art depicting her, and even have a picture of me meeting her. Needless to say, I am a fan and I am very much one feels that he music connects with me on a very personal level, so as a fan (Ears With Feet) I am not writing this review with a biased or fanboy approach by any means, gushing over how wonderful the book is. If I didn't like it I would just stay silent on it and avoid any discussion pertaining to it with other fans. With that said, I must recommend this book to get some great insight into how the artist processes politics and the creative process, and how the two can form a partnership in living in a time of Calamity Trump. Her insights on growing up and developing as a young musician in her teenage years working in Washington, DC bars are absolutely fascinating. At one point she brings Dr. Ford's testimony and connects it to themes and ideas on feminism and issues women face in a breathtakingly fierce yet soft-spoken in tone. Her style in writing is really precise, very crisp, and tightly worded; her cadence and tone exude in the structure of her sentences. I simply love her writing style. For those don't know her music, that's totally ok. She talks about certain songs and provides lyrics for them, so this added to the memoir element of the work. Read the songs as poetry, and listen to them if you are interested in doing so. As a Tori fan, I will also add: her discussion on her work, approaches to her song writing, relationship formation with the muses, and experience in performing for 40 years is a great read. My favorite part was her particular and more elaborative insight on "Cornflake Girl," which was very lyrically abstract, for me at least, as she would always allude to its meaning in showing how women tend to sabotage and work against each other, betray each other--through an association with FGM raised in Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy--which was a very key concept for me as I was studying feminism as an undergrad presenting a very different view on it. I could never see where in this song this was alluded to since it's all metaphor (it's a very brilliant song). Ultimately I concluded all those years ago I would associate it with écriture in a Cixous sense, and that being a man I was not privy to the subtext of the song nor was I expected to understand. Her discussion of the song in Resistance illuminates so much meaning and the level of word play she describes about the central crux of the song finally has brought lucidity to it that I have desperately wanted to learn and have the mystery revealed. I would use this section of the book as an examples of Deconstruction for my undergrad students, and connect it with Derrida. She could do a whole book on origins of all her songs and I would love to read her explications of her own songs. I wish she talked about more songs the same way, as I feel as abstract as her lyrics are and how some songs follow a political vein on multiple levels this could have added more her wisdom on these issues her songs raise. With Resistance very much centered as conversations between Tori and artists, to fuel an impetus to create and find ways to circumnavigate the various challenges they face as creators living in this tumult, as well as the restrictive elements artists feel about their work and approach to it. I feel if I were part of the artistic community, this would light a fire under my ass. I would have liked Tori to expand on the role of the spectator in this, the one who loves the art, but doesn't create. How does the spectator function besides procure the art made, the ones who wants to be in the conversation. What do we look out for in the messages in what artists produce and find ways to connect and communicate back? I picked up some of it as what I could apply to me in the book, but I would have liked to read more of her thoughts overall.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    "Make no mistake," writes Tori Amos in the introduction to her new book. "We are living in a moment of crisis. Of unprecedented crises." It's uncanny to read that statement now, amidst a pandemic that's created the most profound acute threat to global public health in over a century. Although Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage was just published, it was written before the pandemic hit. Of course, Amos was referring to the tumultuous situation that was apparent well befo "Make no mistake," writes Tori Amos in the introduction to her new book. "We are living in a moment of crisis. Of unprecedented crises." It's uncanny to read that statement now, amidst a pandemic that's created the most profound acute threat to global public health in over a century. Although Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage was just published, it was written before the pandemic hit. Of course, Amos was referring to the tumultuous situation that was apparent well before anyone heard of COVID-19: the global climate crisis, the rise of authoritarian strongmen around the world, America's rolling waves of deadly gun violence, threats to women's freedom and the deeply troubling increase of hate crimes targeting ethnic and religious minorities. So there was plenty of crisis to go around. Resistance, though, makes clear (to those who didn't already know) that Amos's art has been born from global turmoil since even back in her days as a teenager singing cover songs at a D.C. gay bar. Even if you're not particularly a fan of Amos's music, Resistance is compelling as a document of what it's felt like to be a person of conscience making music over the past four decades. I reviewed Resistance for The Current.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I thought I wasn’t going to read this. After reading Ani Difranco’s memoir and all of the TERFy and racist bullshit in there, I was scared to read Tori’s book. I can deal with my perception of Ani being ruined. But Tori? No, absolutely not, I could not deal if the woman whose music has guided and comforted me for thirteen years turned out to be a shitty person. But then the pandemic hit, and I started to feel like I needed something comforting and familiar but also new. So I read a few reviews h I thought I wasn’t going to read this. After reading Ani Difranco’s memoir and all of the TERFy and racist bullshit in there, I was scared to read Tori’s book. I can deal with my perception of Ani being ruined. But Tori? No, absolutely not, I could not deal if the woman whose music has guided and comforted me for thirteen years turned out to be a shitty person. But then the pandemic hit, and I started to feel like I needed something comforting and familiar but also new. So I read a few reviews here to confirm that there wouldn’t be any TERFy or racist shit and then purchased it. And wow did it end up being oddly prescient for what we’re living in right now....how does she always just know? I don’t think I’ve ever heard her talk about her creative process in as much depth as she does here, and it’s fascinating. I know people will say it all sounds a little woo-woo, New Agey, which I think is incredibly dismissive and a bit rude, but listen to some interviews with her and read what she’s saying here, and I think it’s abundantly clear that this is all very much real and something really sacred. My one minor criticism is the organization is a bit scattered but honestly, just roll with it and don’t think too much about it.

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