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.