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From the first track, Sleep to Dream, Fiona grabs you with her strong vocals, both in their performance and their lyrics. Fiona effortlessly transitions from such passionately angry pieces as Sleep to Dream to quieter, piano-centered pieces like Sullen Girl, giving us, through voice and lyric, a musical journey through the range of emotions that make up the ebb-and-flow of a young woman's journey through romantic life (that ebb-and-flow being the inspiration of the album's name, Tidal.)
Other notable pieces are of course the quite famous Criminal, with its jazzy, self-impugning look at romantic sin; The First Taste, combining a dance beat with all of Fiona's subtle lyrical poeticism, and the perhaps underappreciated Never is a Promise, a breathtakingly beautiful, melancholy song about the limits to which one can communicate one's essence, even to those one most deeply cares about.
Fiona sings with a maturity, her lyrics reveal a depth, her music demonstrates a passion most would say was "beyond her years." To me, Fiona demonstrates clearly that popular music created by a young person (Fiona was only 18 when this was released), need not sound like the general conception of what popular music created by a young person sounds like (e.g.. the Pop Princess Cabal.) No, this is the beautiful work of a profoundly mature young artist, and it is one that you cannot afford to miss.
"You say love is a hell you cannot bear/And I say gimme mine back and then go there for all I care," Apple sings in the first song, her alto suspended somewhere between a purr and a snarl. Backling her up is her own textured piano playing, backed by a heavy bass lick that pops up every few seconds like a tribal drum.
But unworthy lovers aren't the only topic that Apple tackles here. She also explores personal changes ("And I suddenly feel like a different person/From the roots of my soul come a gentle coercion"), hurting others in love, and "You'll say "don't fear your dreams"/It's easier than it seems."
Her songs are painfully deep in themselves, but it's all the more shocking and stunning when you realize that she was only eighteen when the album was released. Her music exudes the sorrow, anger and emotion of a woman twenty years older, mixed in with the ever-changing personality of a young girl. Music like this can't be calculated; it can only ever be real.
Her youth does show in songs like "Pale Summer," or certain awkward lines like "Oh, your love give me a heart contusion/Adagio breezes fill my skin with sudden red." It sounds a bit too overblown, in a high-school poetry way. But Apple has a rare way with simpler lines, giving them a verbal punch that a shadowboxer couldn't match. "I have never been so insulted in all my life/I could swallow the seas to wash down all this pride!" she snarls in the first song.Read more ›
I didn't like Fiona when I first heard her way back in '96 (seems like eons ago). I thought "shadowboxer" was boring. A year later I still didn't like her or her new song, "sleep to dream"--it was boring too. But I began to respect her, artistically. I knew she had talent and could sing and write very well (a combination lacking in today's music). By the end of 1997, I fell in love with her song, "sullen girl" and the rest of her album, through a friend's copy of "TIDAL".
Now "sleep to dream" is one of my favorite songs, and I also like "shadowboxer". "Sullen Girl" is a song anyone, male or female, could relate to in regards to the lyrics:'Days like this, I don't know what to do with myself . . .' Of course the song turns out to be about her rape. The rest of the album is flawless. Even the slower, less appealing tracks, "The Child is Gone", "Slow Like Honey" have a unique, beautiful sound. It's hard to pick a favorite track cuz there's so many good ones--"Never is a Promise" is a meditation on hopelessness and that familiar suicidal urge, "Criminal" is one of the best songs to hit the airwaves in years, and "The First Taste" is perfect.
Overall, this is an impressive debut. It's rare to find a young female artist who can sing AND write so well.
"Tidal" is mindblowing. Dark, murky, and soulful. You fill different after you listen to it. As a songwriter, her songs are blunt, emotional, pensive, and self absorbed yet strangely revelant. This is a woman who knows she's screwed up but unlike Alanis Morrisette she isn't going to ground herself in her pretenions. She's world weary... Opening with "Sleep To Dream", a stalking theme of romantic collaspe with biting lyrics and thundering piano taps. "Sullen Girl" is powerful as Fiona poetically reancts her rape. In fact this whole album is just powerful...for lack of a better word. "Slow Like Honey", "Never Is A Promise", the murky "Shadowboxer", "Criminal", "Carrion"...it's very hard to believe that a 17 year old girl wrote this. But she did. Her soulful vocals ache with disappointment, regret, and pain. Amazing...
"Tidal" is one of the best albums of the 1990s and one of the best debuts ever. Fiona's somphmore release "When The Pawn..." was more mature and poised. And even topped "Tidal" as it was more three-dimensional. Although Fiona's indoscryatcies and unapolegtic stance has scared off many, her gift can't be denied. This is deeply emotional stuff right here. And in that, Ms. Apple has no peers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is definitely a great first album from Fiona Apple. Fans would say "When the Pawn" was the best; but Tidal indicated early on what an amazing songwriter she is. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Franzine Artista
I don't listen to pop, so I over looked this very interesting album when it was released.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have owned so many copies of this cd, but I always loose them..Published 5 months ago by edible darling