Thursday, July 19, 2012

Album Review: Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel... (2012)

Fiona Apple's brutal honesty can be summed up in one lyric that she keeps howling on "Every Single Night," the introductory song to "The Idler Wheel..." (there's more to that album title, but I'm not attempting to type that all out,):
"Every single night's a fight with my brain."

And because of this honesty she possesses and that she is able to express the borderline insanity that we all feel within ourselves, Apple is probably one of the most universally relatable musicians of our time, music genres be damned. Rappers love her. Jazz enthusiasts love her. Even the teenage girls working at your local ice cream shop blasting Ke$ha, are secretly jamming out to "Fast as You Can" in their cars. Apple has been MIA for SEVEN years. She posts on her website she's making an album one day and the music news websites go mad! Who else in the music industry really has this same ability to cause such a stir? Not a lot of people.

"Every Single Night" is stripped down and unmerciful. It starts off really slow, with her voice as demure as can be, and ends with her on the verge of belting out what she's been trying to say throughout the song, "I just want to feel everything."

"Daredevil," "Valentine" and "Jonathan" come next with soul, passion and pure rawness. Instruments especially on these three songs are very minimal but this album in general doesn't really have too much going on except for Apple's voice and piano. That's why in "Werewolf" when there's a random 2 minute cry of kids whooshing over your speakers, you pay attention to it. "Valentine" is probably Apple's only successful attempt to a happ(ier) love song. She also pulls a Taylor Swift on "Jonathan" but trust me, it's done way more tactfully. It's about Jonathan Ames, creator of the HBO series Bored to Death and ex-boyfriend of Apple. It's not necessarily a "break-up" song but more so an homage to their relationship.

She looses a little steam in the middle, which is a common occurrence with Apple, to be honest. I think she has such a specific world, that to be involved in it for an entire album can get a little exhausting for the listener at times. But it's worth it for the end: "Anything We Want" and "Hot Knife." "Anything We Want" sounds the most reminiscent to Apple's previous work and more developed with instruments and harmonies. Not to mention, it holds a pretty catchy beat throughout the song, with an "I've Been Working on the Railroad" motif. "Hot Knife" is a song that will probably be what The Idler Wheel... will be remembered by. It's like the stars aligned the day Apple and her sister, Maude went into the studio to record this. This 4-minute round WILL blow your mind the first time you hear it. And I'm pretty certain of that. It almost sounds like they could have done this song in one take, both Apple and her sister just seem so determined to finish, almost like a competition.

Apple is consistently good throughout her career and it's because she doesn't care about genres - music boundaries don't consume her. Because like I said before, her fanbase is so vast, she herself might not know how to categorize herself. My only disappointment with The Idler Wheel... is that we'll probably have to wait another seven years for her to produce something. But like this record, it'll probably be worth the wait.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. Hello, you have a great info about all this singer and and her songs. Keep it up and listen to any comments.