Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2020 Ratings: #1 / 819
Year End Rank: #1
User Score
2020 Ratings: #2
Liked by 538 people
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The Independent

Manic descants, discordant pianos and abrupt changes in time signature at once complement and compete with each other in a carefully crafted clatter.

The Telegraph

This is an album that conveys one woman’s rage, vulnerability, confusion and wisdom in ways that we haven’t quite heard before.


Fiona Apple’s fifth record is unbound, a symphony of the everyday, an unyielding masterpiece. No music has ever sounded quite like it.

The Guardian
This seems not so much an album as a sudden glorious eruption; after eight long years, an urgent desire to be heard.
The Line of Best Fit
Some albums are worthy of such electric apprehension, and the chains leashing this poetic, wit-filled, ramshackle beauty should be broken. Fuck it. Fetch the bolt cutters. This feels special.
Consequence of Sound

Let’s not sugarcoat it. This is not an easy listen. Yet, for those willing to give it the attention it deserves, Bolt Cutters delivers a much-needed auditory exercise for the sequestered masses and surely one of the best albums to grace us in 2020.

A.V. Club

This album is Apple sounding assured with where she’s at in life and wishing the same for anyone holding similarly toxic cards.


The scope of Fetch the Bolt Cutters' meaning, its infinite feeling, will likely take years to fully absorb. An album like this doesn't come often, and an artist like Apple will never come again — she's given us an invaluable piece of light, a reminder to stay alive and awake and angry and kind.

Northern Transmissions

It’s a staggering artistic statement, one that doesn’t come along often, straight from her head and into all of our hearts.

Fiona Apple’s ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ Is a Vital, Visceral Call to Action for All of Us.
Loud and Quiet
Like the very best music, it contains multitudes – it’s a rallying cry for those without a voice, a deep lesson in empathy, a dive into a singular mind, a damn good pop record. Listen. Find out what it means to you. We’ll be talking about it for a long time.
Slant Magazine

On a purely musical level, it’s a bold experiment in pop craft, a collection of songs on which Apple stretches her talents in adventurous new directions ... Most importantly, the album is a vituperative catalog of the failures and pointless cruelties of a society propped up by fragile, nihilistic, patriarchal ideology.

Spectrum Culture

It may seem presumptuous to assume a brand new album is destined for that level of canonization, but let’s be clear: Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a triumph, one designed with emotional and creative fearlessness and made by someone with absolutely nothing to prove and the drive to make exactly what she wants to make.

The Young Folks
The album, is so complex and filled to the brim with emotion, that it requires multiple encounters. With every repetition of the Fiona Apple experience, new sounds and lyrics are discovered, making it an attentive journey that sees no end. Sonically intimidating at times, you can’t help but want to know more about each and every song.

Apple tackles a similar range of emotions on Fetch the Bolt Cutters that she has dealt with before, but in a new, fiercer way.

Entertainment Weekly

There is nothing diminished about the fierceness of her presence on Fetch the Bolt Cutters, an album that feels both playful and urgent, melodic and chaotic, expansive and crammed with tiny definitive details.

Rolling Stone

For longtime fans who are expectantly, perhaps giddily, steeling themselves for another brutal LP from Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters will not disappoint.

FLOOD Magazine

Fetch the Bolt Cutters is as cold as it is overheated, as vibrant as it is humble, as noisily rhythmic as it is solemn, and as set-back and alone as it is welcoming of friends and pets.

‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ feels like a seminal moment. Fiona Apple on a career of highs might just have produced her finest work yet. An album that we will surely look to as a cultural text, with its cutting commentary of contemporary culture and its feminist narratives.

It's rare to listen to a pop album and have no idea what comes next, and Fetch the Bolt Cutters delivers surprises that delight and bruise at a rapid pace.

While it’s certainly not an album for background listening, those who are willing to invest some time in it will be rewarded by one of the most remarkable records released this year.
Louder Than War

Fetch The Bolt Cutters is a remarkable album that couldn’t feel any more timely.


Bolt Cutters would be praised for its rawness and its bloodletting were it not for the fact that it is also charming, so considered, and so unapologetic for being the rattling, risqué record that it is.


Fetch The Bolt Cutters is mostly the soundtrack of liberation, not recrimination, with Apple's piano keys, battering on the walls and barking dogs as its percussive, beating heart.  And her words are wicked and wise.

Under The Radar

Guttural, soft, cacophonous, and poetic, Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a reminder of Apple’s genius and that we are all interconnected, one people, existing in a pulse.

The Arts Desk
This album turns the sound of panic attacks and partially overcome self-loathing into proudly rigorous art. It’s another step out of the title’s locked room.
‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ will cut straight to the gut for Apple fans old and new, and leave behind indelible messages about her life and illustrious career, now spanning two decades. It’s an intoxicating listen – and one of her best.
The Observer

Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a strange and exceptional record, even within the context of an uncommon career.


A bold and completely undiluted vision, Apple's fifth is something to behold.

Classic Rock
Forget the bolt cutters, Apple's already shed her last shackle.
The Needle Drop

Fetch the Bolt Cutters has plenty of great ideas, but is sometimes betrayed by its raw presentation and quasi-experimental direction.

The Irish Times
There is nothing close to easy listening on Fiona Apple’s new album, but that’s par for the course for one of the most intriguing songwriters of the past 25 years.
In the space of the 3 months Fiona Apple has quickly grown to be one of my favourite artists ever. I'm a little bit addicted to rating my favourite artist's discographies (as I assume a lot of us are and it's why we're gathered here on this site) and, for me, this is absolutely my favourite of hers now.
With raw, distinct instrumentation paired with hard-to-beat lyrical prowess, FTBC lets the listener feel lots of different and genuine emotions; it’s hard for me to find many ... read more
Listening to Fiona Apple’s previous works helps put this album to scale, as this has a magnitude and intensity like nothing she has worked on previously. It runs smooth like a hot knife through butter.

It seems to only get more intense and more appreciation from me the more I explore it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an album like this before. This is really a journey... but this isn’t a starting point for Fiona Apple that’s for sure

Edit(100 -> 92): this ... read more
There's a common Chinese saying I feel faithfully encaptures, in a weird way, the feeling and spirit when indulging in Fiona Apple's art — 留得青山在, 不怕没柴烧 — Where there are green hills, there is wood to burn. It's a phrase worth different meanings, but one can interpret it as taking care of good health, finding hope in life or building oneself strong enough so nothing may tear you down. The Bolt Cutters is a plethora of chaos, yet it's also a liberating starlight. ... read more
Throughout the past week, preparing for her first album in 8 FUCKING YEARS, I have been listening to all of her albums through once again, fully immersing myself in the quaint vignettes of her past. "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" is nothing different, albeit still invigorating, endlessly creative, and cleverly zany. Syncopated piano arpeggios and drum fills are still very prevalent, calling back to her past release "The Idler Wheel"... but this time, the entirety of the record ... read more
If I had to describe Fetch the Bolt crudely, I'd say it's a masterpiece that sounds timeless.Combining perfectly the winning combo in my opinion, a high level of instrumentalization, a splendid interpretation/writing and finally the fact that you will always be pleasantly surprised, has such points that you will ask yourself that she slows down, in order to have time to digest.

How far will it go ? As if her discography career wasn't already out of the ordinary for a "contemporary" ... read more
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Added on: March 16, 2020