Feedback: Jackson Farley on Fiona Apple's new release

By Jackson Farley | Aug. 24, 2012

Tags: Fiona Apple Music

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You know the cozy feeling you get after eating a big, warm home-cooked meal? Not the bloated, why-did-I-eat-that-last-biscuit feeling, but rather, that full and satisfied feeling? That same feeling also occurs after listening to the beautiful Fiona Apple’s new release “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” (which for obvious reasons, we will refer to as “The Idler Wheel…”).

Released in June, Apple’s much-anticipated album was instantly acclaimed and received top-notch ratings by the “big dogs” in the music reviewing world such as Spin, American Songwriter, Entertainment Weekly and many more. Apple’s fans devoured the new album, especially since “The Idler Wheel…” was her first release since 2005. And when you go through the album track by track, it’s clear that the wait was undoubtedly worth it.

“The Idler Wheel…” is a strange yet breathtaking piece of art. Each song drips with emotion, capturing the raw beauty in both the lyrics and Apple’s raspy, sultry voice, giving off a late-night coffee shop style vibe. Lyrically, “The Idler Wheel…” succeeds just as Apple has done a wonderful job of doing in the past. Saying that Apple is creative lyrically would be a gross understatement – her elegance lies in the deep, strung out thoughts that permeate through each song. Apple holds nothing back and digs deep to produce vulnerable and awe-inspiring lyrics. Pair that up with that warm, soothing voice, and you’ll be one happy listener. And at this point, if you still aren’t happy, see a doctor.

If you had to use just one word to describe Apple’s album as a whole, a good choice would be “hearty.” Think thick, beefy stew. The comparison seems silly, but if you listen enough, you’ll see the deep layers in her songs, and you’ll get that “full-belly” feeling when finished. “Hot Knife” is one of the most simple yet complex songs on “The Idler Wheel…” Apple chants, “If I’m butter, then he’s a hot knife” for a majority of the song, repeating this interesting metaphor over and over again. However, below the surface, this song has depth and feeling.

The use of irregular band instruments and chiming harmonies adds to the overall warm feeling the song releases. “Every Single Night” and “Daredevil” both put off a catchy, dance-in-the-park vibe and once again showcase the power and control of Apple’s vocals. Songs like “Jonathan” come across as very abstract, with no apparent or expected rhythm, which some listeners may find hard to listen to. Others find it fascinating and different, breaking the mold of most female singers in the music industry.

After listening to “The Idler Wheel…,” it’s hard to not be captivated by the soul Apple squeezes into each and every part of her work. While the album may seem heavy and personal at times, in the end, a sweet resolution seems to appear, leaving lingering contentment. Along with that contentment comes a desire to invite Apple to dinner at your house and drink hot cider with her for hours. Maybe that’s just me, but when an artist produces an organic and tender work like “The Idler Wheel…,” it’s easy to fall in love with it and choose bits and pieces that we relate to. And that’s the allure with Apple’s artistry – her lyrics expose just enough to peek into her life yet also leave an enchanting mystery behind as well.

In essence, Fiona Apple is a breath of fresh air. “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” hit a home run and was praised by music enthusiasts everywhere. So whether you’re trying to find new music to listen to while you eat your thick, hearty stew or simply trying to find a real artist who shows real emotions, Apple’s “The Idler Wheel…” is a sure shot.

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