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

June 19, 2012 | Format: MP3

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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Of all the brilliant, talented female musicians of the 90s - Fiona Apple would not have been the one I'd picked to artistically reign supreme in 2012. But Idler is a masterful LP and Fiona effortlessly takes the crown.

I've watched and wept as Tori Amos has gutted her feminism by desperately clinging to her plastic surgery enhanced dolled up closeups. I've held my forehead in shame as Bjork recorded an album on her freaking I-phone, so out of touch she believes embracing elitist technology will keep her vibrant. And I've fallen asleep listening to Ani Difranco sing her ode to Occupy Wall Street.

So ya know, really, if I hadn't suffered a romantic disappointment the very same week Fiona Apple (Unidisputed Goddess of the Break-Up Album) released her first album in 7 years, I don't really think I would have had the heart to download this after all the disappointment that's come lately from my posse of favorite females of the 90s

Well, Gawd bless relationships that end in disappointment and Fiona Apple for documenting the misery that follows them in all its glory. If you've made it into your 30s, or 40s, perhaps even 50s divorced, never married, or not-otherwise-specified alone, ask yourself this question: Who exactly is singing our song? The formerly mentioned ladies are all confronting wedded bliss (and I wish them all the world's happiness) while the rest of us are marching on, facing the world alone, without a back up choir.

This release is enchanting. I found myself tapping my foot, nodding my head, and singing along. Fiona has matured - This album is complete from start to finish. It is a complete work of art, spilling over the edge with creative juice - no room for filler tracks or incomplete thoughts.
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Format: Audio CD
Short Review:
For fans EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE's darker side (perhaps more so of the leaked Jon Brion mixes), Fiona Apple's newest release will not disappoint. It continues the strange, creative journey that Apple started in the 90's but offers unexpected twists and turns. It may not be pretty, but it is sincerely and beautifully crafted. This album is one of the best of 2012.

Long Review:
Fiona Apple's instrumentation has always been minimal, usually consisting of pianos, bass guitars, drumkits, and a few other accompanying session players. This album however, feels bare-bones. While critics of EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE point to the album's production interfering with Apple's original intention, THE IDLER WHEEL.... feels like an open response to it. It feels like everything unnecessary has been stripped back until the only thing left is raw emotion and artistic intuition. Compare this with EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE, an album that sounded slick, polished, and glossy. This album isn't always pretty, but it sure is powerful. While she's never been known for her shyness, THE IDLER WHEEL... feels like her most confident and sure-handed album to date.

THE IDLER WHEEL.... (42:39) opens with the lead single "Every Single Night." This song, much like EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE's opener, feels like a mission-statement of sorts. "Every Single Night" sets the mood for the album. It's tribal, primal, minimalist, and dark. In the lyrics, Apple describes her creative process being a source of pain, uneasiness, and insecurity. "Valentine" is a dark and seductive love (or out-of-love) song, complimented by low strings -- there's a sense of urgency in this song (as well as others) that makes what feels like an accessible song into an uncomfortable squirm.
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Format: Audio CD
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...
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