Favorite Albums of 2012: #3

3. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Pretty sure Epic Records finally got tired of fighting Fiona. From news articles, it seems they pressured her into re-recording her last one to mixed results, so this time she recorded one in private and then presented it to them. Thankfully, they were either tired or finally heard the marvel of her messy baroque style. Either way here is Fiona Apple laid bare. Trying to describe the album is like trying to describe the taste of strawberries. It’s that strange. And that good. Throughout, there are sounds you just don’t hear on a major release. It seems as if she and her drummer went on a religious quest to find the noises in their heads. Still, Fiona’s songwriting is strong. They are still based in pop, too. Somehow the crazy arrangements lie together with the melody in a co-mingling of musical coitus. Songs like “Every Single Night,” “Jonathan,” and “Periphery” stick in the head like a fairy tale story: magical, strange and unbelievable. Unbelievable because it’s still hard to believe her label would green light the release. The entire affair ends in the cacophony of everything that has happened before. “Hot Knife” is part tribal dance, part renaissance fair joy and part army of Fiona. “I’m a hot knife and he’s a pat of butter,” she cries over and over again until it’s just Fiona until an abrupt end. That is appropriate. The Idler Wheel… is Fiona. Love her or hate her, she is doing her own thing and she is doing it well.

Favorite songs: “Every Single Night,” “Daredevil,” “Jonathan,” “Periphery”

2 thoughts on “Favorite Albums of 2012: #3

  1. JohnJohn

    Actually Fiona demanded money to re-record Extraordinary Machine and Epic refused. After the “Free Fiona” campaign they gave her the money to record it the way she wanted. Fiona was the one who wanted to re-record the album not the record company.

    1. From what I’m reading Epic wanted something along the lines of Tidal and didn’t hear any obvious singles from the first recordings. They did say she decided on re-recording, but nothing on whether it was due to pressure from the label or your story. Jon Brion points the finger at the label and all the label had to say was that she was still recording they were looking forward to the release as well. Sounds like the story is somewhere in between.

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