Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do”
It’s easy to think of Fiona Apple as the frail, unpredictable brat that called popular culture “bullshit” at the VMAs 15 years ago. Since then, few artists have articulated the complex, emotional static of their own minds like Apple has. She has released only four albums in those 15 years, and each time has ripped open her chest to reveal her aching heart. This year, we got “The Idler Wheel …,” her most devastating, rewarding release to date. Songs like “Every Single Night” and “Daredevil” are recorded documentations of Apple’s fast-firing synapses that can’t be tamed by anyone, while “Periphery,” “Regret” and “Left Alone” are world-weary, angry responses to the songstress’s realization that Hell really is other people. Compositionally, Apple has never been so minimal, but this stark atmosphere is what makes her musical poetry so effective. In her rawest moment on “Werewolf,” Apple describes herself as a newly formed, lonely volcanic island, but in sharing “The Idler Wheel …” this year, Apple has connected herself to anyone who dares to listen.