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June 15, 2012 / jhsaeger

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

    Fiona Apple ends her seven-year album hiatus next Tuesday when she releases her fourth studio record, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. As the LP’s title may intimate, Apple has a lot to say.
    In her first record since 2005’s Extraordinary Machine, The 34-year-old’s song writing is not always pretty and is at times downright angry, a style that is dually reflected in both her lyric writing and piano playing. Unlike her 1996 debut record Tidal, Idler Wheel lacks the more mainstream sounds of tracks like “Shadowboxer” or “Sleep to Dream.” Over the course of the album’s ten tracks, Apple’s music remains similar in concept although more chaotic and less polished than her earliest material.
   This is evident from the start of the album with “Every Single Night,” which invokes a simple chorus mixed in with music that is at times reminiscent of a lullaby while she delivers a very verbose and bold set of lyrics. Idler’s Wheel’s choler continues best in the tracks, “Left Alone” and most especially “Daredevil,” where her feelings bleed through the song’s chorus. The deceptively-titled “Valentine” may best summarize Apple’s songwriting in Idler Wheel, where she reels the listener in gently before delivering a most direct line,
“You didn’t see my valentine/I sent it via pantomime/While You Were Watching Someone Else/I stared at you and cut myself.”
     If Idler Wheel has taught her audience anything, Apple has not mellowed with age. Where here atypical style falls on the musical barometer of the individual listener will determine whether an audience enjoys or dismisses the songwriter’s angst. Her most fervent fans are most likely to love the record.
     Fiona Apple’s 2012 North American tour resumes on June 19th in Ithaca, New York and will include spots at Upper Darby, Pennsylvania’s Tower Theater and Seattle, Washington’s Paramount Theater. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do will be available as a compact disc, digital download, vinyl, and a deluxe edition package including a 40-page book, a pair of photogragphs, and a DVD of five songs from Apple’s 2012 set at SXSW.  

2 Comments

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  1. Rosie / Jun 15 2012 1:52 pm

    Where here atypical style falls on the musical barometer of the individual listener will determine whether an audience enjoys or dismisses the songwriter’s angst. Her most fervent fans are most likely to love the record. Jeez, John, that's damning with faint praise! I guess I am fervent – I love it.

  2. John Saeger / Jun 15 2012 11:23 pm

    I think a lot of people will love it, but it might not neccesarily have broad appeal.

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