5. 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
Fiona Apple is back with a damn dynamo of an album. Musically, this is almost entirely piano and occasional percussion. It’s a very stripped-down album, putting the focus on Fiona’s voice. It’s fierce on this album. So is the piano playing; sometimes you can easily picture Fiona slamming down on the keys with all of her force. It’s hard to write about this album, actually. It’s hard to convey why these simple songs with simple arrangements are good enough to be my fifth favorite album of the year. It has to do with the fresh, loopy vocal lines, the physicality of the piano playing. And it has to do with the production, and the little flourishes it takes when it needs to break away from the minimalism. Take the standout track “Werewolf” for instance. It’s about the speaker realizing that her relationship went sour because she brought out the worst in her partner. On the 3rd verse you hear the sounds of playing (screaming?) children in the background. It takes the song to a whole new level of creepiness and makes the damaging nature of that poisoned relationship all the more palpable. The track “Hot Knife” keeps layering on different vocal lines, some contrasting, some harmonized, played simultaneously, training your ears all the way, so that by the end of the song you’re keeping track of like eight different vocal lines all saying separate sentences (or at least saying them at different rhythms). These are just great songs, period.
Originally Posted by Delano
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