OROnce the dust settled over the UK lockdown in the spring, he began to hear a kind of cautious optimism. Perhaps, on the other side of all this, a better, less capitalist, kinder and more humane world could be possible. Until then, there was Fetch the Bolt Cutters.
When Fiona Apple released her fifth album in April, its title quickly became a meme for those who felt smothered by their own four walls and wanted out. Apple had another kind of freedom in mind. He had almost left public life years before to live in Venice, California, with his housemate and their dogs, and most of the time he would leave the house for a walk on the beach at dawn. The isolation gave him the distance to observe the workings of the world and propose something better.
Recorded during a five-year spell, Fetch the Bolt Cutters encompasses every euphoria and desperate roar of Apple’s introspection. He used that period to build the homemade rhythms that created the album’s unique nervous system: the percussion instrumentation includes “jingles and neck hits,” “lighter on Wurlitzer” and “water tower.” His unconventional song structures follow the flow of his thoughts; his piano struts like a ship in a storm and curdles from tender to sour like a time lapse of rotting fruit. At any moment, the sweet and scenic harmonies can disappear under the industrial din. That mercurial force draws you in every moment as Apple navigates between historical incidents that once diminished it.
She pulls on their common thread. High school girls taught to despise hipsters echo how a man tells his new girlfriend that his last one was crazy about keeping them apart. The accepted rules of an industrial dinner make open truths unwelcome and nurture a larger culture where glamor can mask abuse. Exploitative men foster codes of silence and mistrust, which makes it more apparent that Apple wants to save a woman from a mutual abuser than for her mistreatment to pass: “I see him let go of your hand, I want to come between you.” he sings in the Newspaper, his voice shaking as if he had the strength to hold back, “but it’s not what I’m supposed to do.”
Its cheerful expansion challenges the decorum that keeps things the way they are. “Kick me under the table all you want, I will not shut up, I will not shut up,” he sings at that dinner at Under the Table, reveling in the childish, sing-song stubbornness. Many people first met Apple as the abandoned teenage girl twisted into dark corners in the 1997 video. Offender. The too-close selfie on the cover of Fetch the Bolt Cutters can’t contain his googly-eyed joy, a hint to his abundant disregard for restrictions. “I grew up with the shoes that they told me I could fill,” he sings in the spacious title track: “Shoes that weren’t made for running uphill / And I need to run uphill … I will, I will, I will.” song ends with her catching her breath, surrounded by barking dogs and high-pitched bass vibes, climbing to the top.
Apple’s latest album, 2012’s incandescent The Idler Wheel, was filled with ornate language: a spectacle and a raised guard. (“How can I ask someone to love me when all I do is beg to be left alone?” As he asked on Left Alone.) Fetch the Bolt Cutters is more direct, its goals are unequivocal. Apple’s comic timing fuels the energy behind every second. She delights in skewering performers and proving her swagger to gain size, be it with the humorless Rack of His musician, whose graceful guitars are all for show: “lined up like eager fillies, stretched out like Rockettes legs,” he sings suggestively, or seeing what it feels like to be the big cheese: “Ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies”, he sings in Ladies, like a big shot who opens his arms in an evening, even though he knows it will come out empty.
His wit is sharpened to bare those affectations. For Her is a complete play in less than three minutes: a chorus of breathless women in close harmony (Apple, in infinite layers) who watch a movie executive manipulating the world at will, debasing the stars, making ” your girl “clean up your mess. and confident of getting his way with his abuse. Apple leaves you nowhere to run. She disengages from their harmonies, the golden layers of her own voice fade into a ghostly lullaby and she roars, “Good morning, good morning / You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in,” lifting the tune of Singin ‘in. Good morning from the rain. The musical classic promises a bright new day. Apple too.
Invested in self-knowledge, not morality, Apple goes back to her teens, when she said her relationship with other women was ruined for the first time. In the title track, she remembers taking mean girls seriously who made fun of her for being out of style and being sensitive. “I listened because I hadn’t found my own voice yet,” he sings. But another song, Relay, centers a chorus Apple wrote when he was 15 years old: “Evil is a relay sport when the burned-out spins to pass the torch,” it sings with the zeal of a new recruit. Not only did he already have a voice (he signed a record deal at 17), but also a deep understanding of how bad deeds feed like a virus. Over 25 years later, complete the song and break the chain. The verses tinkle as he attacks a superficial and complacent person, the superficial beat enlivens Apple’s vitriol. But she climaxes with a silent apology: “I’m sorry,” she says, deflated.
Build Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ revealing concept of love. There is no conventional romance. Some have suggested that Cosmonauts is too pretty to fit here, but maybe that’s a clue to her awkward vision: Director Judd Apatow had asked Apple to write a song about monogamy for This Is 40, which she performed as a drift. lonely and resentful of space. . “You and I will be like a couple of cosmonauts, except with much more gravity than when we left,” he sings delicately, before letting his voice carry that weight. (It didn’t make it to the movie). It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the concept of inescapable pressure also guides Heavy Balloon, a beautiful song about how depression crushes growth, both intolerable situations. Although it is also a love song: “People like us, we play with a heavy balloon,” he sings, extending a hand to anyone who is desperate. On Ladies and Newspaper, Apple knows that its appeals to women to share the burden of being abused by the same man will not pass, but throughout the album, the women in his band and their family, and many layers of Apple itself. , they sing. together in recess chants, a cappella and spiritual harmonies, a vision of truth released through the community.
Fetch the Bolt Cutters contains a lifetime of compassion. For long-term fans, part of the shock of Apple’s fifth album was knowing how long she has survived to reach this lucidity: She was raped by a stranger at the age of 12, pushed into an exploitative, male-dominated music industry at 16. .and have experienced mental health and substance use problems. There is no shortage of brilliant and biting wisdom on each of her albums, but Fetch the Bolt Cutters is exceptionally sincere and patient; aware of the difference between who you are and what people have said you are; between knowing something intellectually and being ready to listen to it or let it go.
It was the perfect album for the lockdown: Apple’s cuteness and sense of justice subverted the cult of Stoicism that hardened in an intolerable year and said it was okay to wait more. But it is also a complete toolbox for the future. “Whenever you want to start, start,” he sings in I Want You to Love Me. “We don’t have to go back to where we’ve been.”
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.