Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Apr 17, 2020 (updated Dec 8, 2020)
95
Preamble:
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 other artists who do this better. There are bops and there are ballads, there’s blame and there’s ample opportunities to bawl your eyes out.

Thoughts on some of the tracks:
’I Want You to Love Me’ is an old song, but freshly recorded. It’s a fantastic introduction to the album which, to me, also acts as a kind of premature swansong; Fiona recognises that she may have made a recognised impact in her lifetime and that this new album will further that recognition. Rolling, playful pianos with idiosyncratic vocal displays. *Dolphin noises*
’Shameika’ has Fiona reflecting on a childhood bully (the titular Shameika, an apparent oracle) giving an offhand compliment “you have potential”. The imagery of Fiona “march(ing) down the windy, windy sidewalk slapping my leg with the riding crop” to “come off tough” makes me smile. In fact, the whole lyrics and instrumentation of this song bring me joy.
’Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ has Cara Delevingne as a cat and singing the chorus and cameos from Fiona’s dogs. This has particularly reflective lyrics on an album full of them.
’Under the Table’ is a recount of a disastrous follow-on dinner date to her emotional meal in 2012’s brilliant ‘Valentine’ (probably).
’Relay’ has Fiona feeling begrudged jealously, but also conversely acknowledgement that some of those who experience trauma CAN relay it to other. The sharp-tongued chant “Evil is a relay sport; When the one who's burnt; Turns to pass the torch” demonstrates this.
’Ladies’ was instantly a classic for me. It has no experimental pots-and-pans instrumentation but it’s very soulful, calming pace is wonderful.
’Heavy Balloon’ is about being miserable and plant growth habits, so automatically has to be a favourite. In all seriousness, the similes and ultra-cool percussion & drum are fantastic.
’Cosmonauts’ is another passionate emotive track; the mention of a space traveller reminds me a lot of a lyric from another great song ‘Ordinary Life’ by another one of my favourite artists, Ezra Furman. “I was just like an astronaut cut from the ship; And floating and waiting to die” Ezra sings.
‘Drumset’ is fun and silly song about false presumption.

Fetch The Bolt Cutters is easily my AOTY so far and 'being a 95' that automatically makes it one of my best albums ever! Only time will tell if this deserves the mad early praise we've given it.

EDIT ONE April 2020: I've just trimmed down this review. I'll admit I messaged a lot of you to read this review, as I was pleased with what I could come up with in half a day, but it's not worth the crazy number of likes you've all given. Thanks for the appreciation of my little rundown, but a couple of you deserve all these likes more than me.
EDIT TWO 17/10/20: this is a very basic review - I've only kept it because I'm a like-whore!
EDIT THREE 15/11/20: I've finally come to a conclusion of what this album means to me; It has helped keep my thoughts in check, with what I've been conditioned in this society of toxic masculinity.
19 Comments
Apr 17, 2020
I think you could have pushed really further in the lyrics because they are very interesting not only for understanding the actual life of Fiona but how all events of her life bring her actual state of mind and how it reflects in the overall production.
Otherwise : 👍
Apr 17, 2020
Fantastic review! Clearly well thought out and really liked that you wrote about each song individually.
Apr 17, 2020
I would certainly love to discuss what I get from individual lyrics but I do find the analysis from Genius and what other users get out of the lyrics themselves quite important (and in this case Fiona has given a decent rundown of the lyrics herself) - https://www.vulture.com/amp/2020/04/fiona-apple-fetch-the-bolt-cutters-songs.html?fbclid=IwAR07c3vC5gqhsJjkWEyni9dH3nDSMGX1crmaGp8qP3uBlOOmjb500UNI78U.

I have a feeling as I let this album soundtrack my lockdown experience I might update my lyrical thoughts.
Apr 17, 2020
Haven't listened to the album yet, but I really appreciate how in depth this review is! Good job. :)
Apr 17, 2020
Oh no a lyrical explanation about all tracks isn't something I imagined (as you said, fiona and genius are here) but how you feel about it (I give an example but overall it's your experience, so maybe the lyrics made you think in other ways)
Apr 17, 2020
I never mind checking out reviews. Followed, great write-up!
Apr 17, 2020
fantastic review!!
Apr 18, 2020
Hi guys, I've got something to say about all of this.
I was very very excited to hear this album and, as you can see, I was definitely not disappointed with what Fiona's put out. I was unsure whether to wait and do a proper review after listening to for a few weeks, but to be honest I was very keen to say whatever I felt about the tracks. In my defense I did as much reading into as possible and didn't want to relay too much of what some of you had already seen but far better done. Some reviews are "straight facts" and some are personal interpretations.
So after deleting it I wanted everyone to see it again!
It definitely doesn't deserve this many likes (especially compared a good handful of you lots reviews).
Is there a site where half-baked rambling reviews are a bit more accepted?
Apr 18, 2020
This site is perfectly acceptable for that.
Apr 18, 2020
Oh. Good!
Apr 18, 2020
Oh yeah this is perfectly acceptable,personnally I have tons of albums where I did write a first impression. Most of the type I re-write the reviews or just let it be like that if I didn't change my mind. Sometime some albums will just remain first listening because I'm fucking lazy haha
Apr 18, 2020
great review!
Apr 19, 2020
'if I don’t have much to see about it' - you mean 'say about it'? that's the only thing i noticed. I don't know for sure, but I think this would have read better as paragraphs of text, including just talk a little about a few songs, and then keep track ratings separate? It's all good though, you put your opinion across and that's what counts/

Epic username too
Apr 19, 2020
I'm practicing my reviewing with every "in-depth" one I do. I have a few favourite albums in mind to practice being a wee bit poetic and less regimented.
Apr 19, 2020
A nice, clean read. Not too in depth but I think that wasnt your goal. Cheers.
Apr 20, 2020
As you asked to be roasted, I'm here :D ok so now that you've pushed yourself in each tracks and sliced them to understand the lyrics (good written review), there is one last work (and it's the more simple one, but I'm surprised that some are struggling to deliver it like Brad) : at the end, what is the message of the album (or what you think that it could) ? How it touched you (I read an impression of each tracks but not for the entire album) ? Since the beginning of the reviewing process of FTBC and my thought about the evolution of AOTY, I didn't see much people to talk about the music but also their experience in most of the reviews ! This is because some reviewers are great (a great example : fantano, specially early days where he was really digging to it + his early community), they achieve to technically talk about the music AND transmit their passion. Maybe I think too much ... nothing is too much when you are nailing haha
Apr 23, 2020
great review
Oct 18, 2020
why did this one-line meme review get so many likes
Oct 20, 2020
Eh?
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