I’ve been allowing myself to splurge on one album a month (or rather, I’ve allotted myself a budget of one album a month). Sometimes, to help myself decide which music to check out, I’ll visit a website like Metacritic, a great site that gives you an overview of new releases and how they rank among leading critics. Now if you were a teenage girl in the 90s like I was (or just a fan of wonderful music in general ) you can probably imagine my delight when I noticed that Fiona Apple is releasing her fourth studio album this month.
“Squeeeeeeaallll!” I squealed.
I resolved in that moment that that album would be my monthly music expenditure…but then I remembered that I’d just purchased The Notorious B.I.G‘s Ready To Die remaster from iTunes. But shortly on the heels of that realization I decided that I would simply break my rule and purchase Fiona Apple’s new album anyway, fiscal responsibility be doggoned. Just as I was about to search for Apple’s new album through my phone (as of this writing it’s not available yet) I read the name of the new album —The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do—and decided that I would not download but instead walk into my nearest music retailer (or, more likely, Target) and purchase the actual CD for the music and the liner notes.
Perhaps this new release boasts lyrics just as intriguing as Apple’s previous albums, including another eccentrically-titled set like 1999’s (deep breath) When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing Fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You’ll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You Know That You’re Right (or When The Pawn for short).
Fiona Apple has been, since she thundered and sulked her way onto the musical landscape back in the mid 90s, an intriguing artist and one of my favorites. She spoke to the confused, soulful and angst-ridden idealist in many a youngster—that is, if you were a fan of hers. Her wise-beyond-her-years jazz-tinged vocals and her prodigious piano talent were a force to be reckoned with (still are).
I think about this impending Fiona Apple release and it reminds me of all the exemplary female talent that flooded the music scene in the 90s. I try my darnedest to not succumb to musical nostalgia that borders on snobbery (i.e “Music really went to the dogs after my generation came of age”). But, to me, the 90s felt like an incredible and exciting time to be a young woman with a song in her heart, a mic in her hand and something to get off her chest. I suppose lots of people feel this way about the music of their formative years but it was the work of young artists that were growing up right along with me that really fostered my love for music. Singer/songwriters like Alanis Morrissette, Sarah McLachlan, Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos and Paula Cole made me wanna pick up a guitar and figure out how to set my journal entries to music. The list is, essentially, endless of great musical artists whose work spoke to me when I was young. I’m just grateful for their work…and for another Fiona Apple record. Now if we could just cajole Ms. Lauryn Hill for a new release (Please, L. Boogie?)