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186) Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters


Fiona Apple appeared in 1996 and won numerous praise and awards. I listened to her first album, Tidal. There was talent clearly but couldn’t get into it.


Her second album had a title that was ninety words long, I thought no that’s nonsense, open minded as ever.


Fetch the Bolt Cutters arrived, and every magazine was making it album of the month, so must try again.


If I tell you, it’s mainly her voice, piano and percussion and was improvised in her house you may think Dear God no. The percussion, from what I have read, involves hand claps and banging on her floor and walls and basically anything lying around. Her voice is fantastic throughout capable of tenderness, harshness, beauty and just plain off the wall.


Opener I Want You To Love Me is classic piano as Apple holds onto the note and her vocal becomes more expressive but she is clearly in control.

Shameika has a chippy piano that would fit into a cabaret with a lyric of “I’m pissed off funny and warm,” getting me, and the title track is built on just percussion with Apple almost talking, free styling with an effective repeat/duet in the background and her dog barking for good measure.


Under the Table has the most expressive vocal performance layering and layering, simply wonderful and the almost hypnotic Relay will suck you in.


The dogs are back on Newspaper, but this is powerful stuff with the line “To make sure that we’ll never be friends” repeated more than once, raw, and honest.


Ladies has Apple trying to sing the word in different style each time and has a great bass and the almost shouty moments in Heavy Balloon thrill.


A big breath/sigh takes us into For Her where Apple multi tracks her voice over a brutal song of abuse. Simple, effective and stays with you.


This is an album I will go back to again and again and sure will discover lyrics, instruments, moments I have missed but its also an album that has surprised me with its inventiveness, power, and songwriting.


Well worth a listen.






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