fiona apple - The idler wheel....
Put this record on and trust yourself in the hands of a master songwriter, one of the most self assured singers, and one of the most amazing creative talents currently putting out music. Fiona is never one to rush things, and that is fine with me if every record is as fine as this one--her voice is varies from gentle, flexible, supple melodicism to sweet and plaintive to whipcord tough soul, sometimes in a moment that stretches longer than the second it takes to sing. She is strong, she is in control, and she is here to show you that she is only getting better at what she does.
"Every Single Night" starts out quietly, with a vibraphone/toy piano sound, joined by an acoustic base; she starts softly, soon becomes demanding: "That's when the pain comes in...Like a second skeleton/Trying to fit beneath the skin/I can't fit the feelings in/Every single night's alright with my brain." There are not words at my disposal to describe the emotional changes that this song brings you through, but it had my mouth open in disbelief, it was so powerful.
"Werewolf" is another standout track, starting with "I could liken you to a werewolf the way you left me for dead...But I admit that I provided a full moon..." set to a chiming piano. This dichotomy, this my fault/your fault push and pull is something that she excels at, and this song is no exception, and it is developed into a description of an obsessive relationship, full of pain but full of fire: "We are like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity/ But we can still support each other, all we gotta do's avoid each other/Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key."
"If I'm butter, then he's a hot knife, He makes my heart a cinemascope..." she croons to an insistent tom tom beat on "Hot Knife" and soon a dark dancing piano figure comes in, and Fiona, tight and controlled begins harmonizing with her sister, twisting in and out of each other's melodies, forming a complex web of sound that is still focused and sharp. It is an astonishing achievement that she pulls off with laser like focus, and her sister's voice is not only a fantastic counterpoint to her own, but is hauntingly similar.
This may be Fiona's finest album, but will not please everyone. None of these songs are probably going to blaze up the top 40--but they should. None of these songs will give you peace, leave you alone, let you rest. They will infect your consciousness with their insistent beat, their multi-layered meanings, and their incredible vision. This is a mature album from an artist who is simply satisfied only when she has put out greatness. Strongly recommended.
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