Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh, Fiona: My Favorite Sullen Girl Returns!

Seven years: It's a very long time; it is no time at all. Seven years ago, I was 21-years-old, living on 2nd Street in Bloomington, having a great time and having a miserable time. Seven years ago I was listening to Fiona Apple.

Seven years ago it was 2005, and Fiona Apple had just released Extraordinary Machine, her first album since When the Pawn... in 1999. I was giddy and talked a lot to anyone who would listen about how Fiona Apple's first two albums helped me survive high school. I loved Extraordinary Machine (but not as much as her others) and couldn't stop staring at the album artwork, with Fiona looking as beautiful as ever and really, not so sullen at all.

Besides, she was singing songs like this:

So while that album couldn't possibly take the place of Tidal in my little sullen girl heart, or When the Pawn... it didn't have to—because Fiona and I had already sealed the deal long before then.

Whether she was moaning "I tell you how I feel but you don't care"; mouthing off, "If you wanna make sense, whatcha lookin' at me for? I'm no good at math"; or asking and pleading, "Shall I release you? Must I release you?" Fiona seemed to have felt every emotion I was going through, or maybe ever would, starting from when I first heard her announce to the world as she was taking off all her clothes and staring into the camera:

"I've been a bad, bad girl"

It didn't matter that in 1996, I was only 12. Or maybe it did. Because when you look at it that way, I've been listening to Fiona for pretty much my entire life. Maybe seven years isn't that big of a deal, in the scheme of things. And so, after a seven year wait, she has released a 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

It's a mouthful, and I love it. And I love that you can stream the full album on NPR rightnow. (Like right this very second.) And I love that she released a video for the first incredibly badass single, "Every Single Night" and she's wearing a fucking octopus on her head, not to mention singing about how "every single night I endure the flight of little wings of white-flamed butterflies in my brain" because maybe, some people hear that and think, "What the fuck?" but I hear it and think, "Exactly, Fiona, exactly."

There's also a song called "Werewolf," and it's currently fighting with "Jonathan" to be my favorite track on the album.

Seven years ago I was listening to Fiona Apple, and I was listening to her seven years before that, and still before that. And I suspect that seven years from now, if I'm lucky, I'll still be listening to Fiona, having a great time and having a miserable time. I'm going to see her in concert on July 10. I'm so excited, I don't even know what to do.

For more of my favorite sullen girl, read her interview with Pitchfork. Listen to Tidal. Listen to everything. Roll around in your underwear. Put an octopus on your head. Just do whatever the fuck you want. It's what Fiona would do.

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