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

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music,   From Issue 760   By: Robert 'Bo' White

06th December, 2012     0

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. This is developed, mature, and different than anything else she's put out so far. Yet, it's a natural evolution from where she started. For a seven year absence, there is no anxiety here. Fiona is calm, calculated and serene. 
"I can love the same man in the same bed in the same city 
But not in the same room, it's a pity, but 
Oh, it never bothered me before 
Not 'til this guy, what a guy, oh God what a good guy 
And I can't even enjoy him 
And now I'm hard, too hard to know 
I don't cry when I'm sad anymore, no no 
Tears calcify in my tummy 
Fears coincide with the tow 
How can I ask anyone to love me 
When all I do is beg to be left alone? " 
Her skill as a pianist is formidable and she finally steps into her own as a competent musical rival to all of her contemporaries. She bends her piano to her will and holds it spellbound. Fiona's strong Jazz roots give this album a distinguished flair you won't find anywhere else in the last or the next decade.

She is heart-broken, yet absolutely her own, a complete, and fulfilled human being who can't help but keep rockin' on. Taking the road less traveled has left Fiona to fine tune and craft a passion that her contemporaries traded in for settled stability - This album is riddled with bipolar angst that refuses rest or regret and therefore stays vital, restless and alive. 
Her trademarked confessional passion is here, but it is no longer a young woman's passion; honest and inspired, Fiona's talent has ripened, and it is so bitter-sweet it will leave you salivating and craving more with spit dripping down your chin.


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