Fiona Apple 'The Idler Wheel...'
Time Out says
Fiona Apple is nothing if not unpredictable. The unfathomably long album name ('The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do') is just the tip of the iceberg, though it’s nothing compared to her sophomore effort in 1999 that contained 90 words in the title. Renowned for her unapologetic views and forthright opinions, the Manhattan native once caused a furore for her controversial acceptance speech during the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, where she told the audience to not ‘model your life on what we think is cool’.
Nonetheless, one thing that has remained ever present throughout Apple’s career is her ability to channel intense emotions into words. Armed with just her piano and DIY-feel percussion by touring drummer Charley Drayton on her latest effort, she delivers ten stripped down, raw and heartfelt tunes that shift the focus onto her amazing vocals. Much of ‘The Idler Wheel’ explores dark themes of nasty endings, toxic relationships and the perils of love, with ‘Werewolf’, ‘Every Single Night’ and ‘Hot Knife’ especially resounding. On standout ‘Left Alone’, Apple poetically contends ‘how can I ask anyone to love me when all I do is beg to be left alone’; the bursts of drum beats and play represent the emotional turmoil and self-doubt so painfully prevalent in the lyrics.
Apple’s first record seven years is a lesson in brutally honest songwriting and is arguably her most resonating work since debut ‘Tidal’ way back in 1996 In an era when the term ‘singer-songwriter’ gets thrown around all too often to describe Taylor Swift-wannabes, it’s heartening to see the 34-year-old back in her element. Not easy listening by any stretch of the imagination, ‘The Idler Wheel’ is as unsettling as it is cathartic, but it is easily one of the most intriguing albums of the year so far. Wong Boon Ken