Artist: Fiona Apple
Album: “The Idler Wheel ...”
Label: Epic Records
After making a name for herself at 19 with her acclaimed debut “Tidal” in 1996, Fiona Apple slowed down and almost ground down to a halt. Now 34, she releases her fourth album after a seven-year break, and the title’s a mouthful: “The Idler Wheel is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do.”
But the dense name is indicative of the album’s rich material and her fearlessness in taking her time to do the music she wants.
Stripped down to 10 tracks and using instruments scarcely, “The Idler Wheel” presents the listener with a deceptive facade of frugality, when in fact, as with all of Apple’s work, it blooms into a rich tapestry of emotional stories. She pours herself vulnerable and raw into the music, particularly on “Every Single Night,” “Periphery” and “Anything We Want.” Apple’s voice exudes a mix of confidence and hurt, modulating itself perfectly to the atmosphere of each song.
Apple brings to the table her impeccable lyric-writing skills and instinct for the most wonderful turn of phrase. After all, who else would put in the same song words like “orotund,” “reticulate” and “valedictories” and get away with it?