REVIEW: Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel is Wiser…

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Artist: Fiona Apple
Album: The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Ever Do
Genre: Indie
Label: Epic Records

Preferentially speaking, I have always been drawn to the dark and creepy side of both the arts and popular culture. With shelves cluttered with books by Chuck Palahniuk, walls covered with serial killer artwork and bookcases filled with research about sideshows and ten-in-ones, it comes as almost a shock that prior to this moment I had never let Fiona Apple seep into my world. Combining all of the things in life that I love (with the exception of baseball), Apple thrusts her music at me in such a manner that it might be compared to finding a soulmate. It was the sudden realisation that something previously unknown existed, and now I can’t stand to miss it.

Yes, I know it is a little early in the relationship to be talking about forever. But I can’t help it. I am that boy.

Fiona Apple is something unique that should be grasped with a heavy heart. She is the type of artist you want to run away from, yet also run away with. She is the Sylvia Plath of music. She is passionate and outspoken, yet jumbled and insecure. Throughout the The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Ever Do, Apple shifts and skirts the blame for the demon she has become. As her heavy handed subject matter crashes and collides through mentions of papercut heartache and  parasite-to-host relationships, Apple is quick to point fingers, avoiding any share of the blame. Hiding her sad bastard behind a thick wall of obscene gestures and middle fingers, the casual passerby might never unravel that Fiona was not only the victim, but also the main suspect of all of her pain.

Packed alongside her depression and anxiety medicine, Apple bundles her smooth jazz sound with her signature stand alone piano riffs. It isn’t difficult to picture Fiona slumping near the front of a skanky dive in a slumming neighborhood, drinking whiskey and water while pounding the keys of a broken down baby grand. Her music, while collected and brilliant also wanders into the domains of dirty and ragged. Each note is pointed and plunked with precision and aimed at making a mark on the listener. Like Tori Amos and Rachael Yamagata, Apple’s note selection is just as vital in conveying her darkened sound as the words she selected or the story she presents. The combination of the three is what makes Apple the legend she has become.

In my very modest opinion from a somewhat limited exposure to Apple, The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Ever Do shows a great deal of growth. Each uneasy listen seems to reveal just how talented she actually is.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Joshua Hammond

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