Fiona Apple, An Extraordinary Machine

by | Nov 1, 2013


Fiona Apple writes, composes and performs her personal songs with alternative rock and decadent jazz accents as well as world-inspired tones. She has a way with words that betrays her heartfelt and honest lyrics to their core. She sings of how she feels and this is literal music integrity: there is nothing in a Fiona Apple song that is not Fiona Apple, the self-penned extraordinary machine, be it in her depressions and self-loathing, or more generally her inner psychological trips or relationships.  To quote her, “I wanted to write a happy song. I didn’t know how.” Don’t expect to hear these common themes explored commonly: there is so much more to find between the lines  of an Apple track. Those are songs to rediscover over time and to continually admire for their unique and original perspective. Don’t expect either that all is grim in her world. She is as positive as can be, influenced and empowered as she is by Maya Angelou as can be unmistakably heard in Extraordinary Machine. However, she is a no nonsense girl, who says it like it is, but with so much style. She has got a devoted fan base (that includes yours truly) whom profoundly respect her staying away from the inevitable distractions of trends and as a consequence of the pop charts. Fiona Apple, the shadow boxer, the sullen girl and mostly the child poetess with a tendency to unearth the bile and pain within is yet a pleasure in the paradoxical beauty that an ugly pain can have when it is phrased that stylishly and voiced that rawly, deeply and honestly…

Fiona Apple in ten songs:

1. Criminal – Maybe the song that defines her work the best and still her best single to date. What is amazing about this song is not just the impeccable lyricism in the guilty plea, but the feeling that it left us that there was even subtle, surely latent, a little bit of definitely “un-low” sarcasm 2. Window – Only Fiona Apple can brilliantly write of the feeling you have when you are set aside for someone else in a relationship through justifying her breaking not any but the window – brilliant 3. Every single night – The single that topped our 2013 playlist of favourite tracks playlist. Tiki writes: “Fiona Apple takes the time to mould her songs from her inner complex riches and it echoes in the precise instrumentation, the sleek lyricism and the integrity of the delivery. Honest and witty introspection triumphs. 4. Sleep to dream The song that introduced us to Fiona Apple. There was no way that we could not have fallen in love with this unlikely poetic but sharp fighter. 5. Not About Love There is so much realistic recognition of both faults in a breakup that she can easily rest her case once she has finished singing 6. Across the universe In October 1998, Apple recorded this Beatles’ song credited to the prolific duo Lennon-McCartney as well as “Please Send Me Someone to Love” for the soundtrack of the film Pleasantville. Her rendition emphasizes both the delicacy and the plaintive sides of the ballad while it also, her video helping, lifts it all up to insist on the passage “Nothing’s gonna change my world” which is, after all, the final point made by the song. 7. Never is a promise Amazing piano-based track even if at times here her lyrical cadence almost voluntarily venture away from the almost nostalgic mood to our slight dismay 8. A Mistake Do not mistake the mood here for playfulness, Fiona is serious and as only she can, she’s got the instrumentation to match the mood of the song 9. Bridge Over Trouble Water – A moving cover of Paul Simon’s classic beautifully blending the unique rendition of Johnny Cash with the backing of Fiona Apple 10. Extraordinary Machine There is something of Maya Angelou’s legacy in the strength- and pride-against-all-odds found in these lyrics, a pleasure matched by the precise and playful instrumentation