Album Review: Fiona Apple-Idler Wheel

We’ve all heard the cliché breakup albums, from Adele’s 21 to Justin Timberlake’s Justified, but Idler Wheel, the latest album from Fiona Apple is far from cliché. Underneath a disguise of dark and dreary lyrics is a vulnerable Fiona Apple, who has suffered from what sounds to be a rotten broken heart, and wants nothing more than revenge.

Following a seven-year pause since her last album debut, the singer has had time to reflect, regret and ultimately move on from ex Jonathan Ames.

 Idler Wheel might not be a crowd pleaser, due to its daunting mood and awkward wandering at times, but it’s sure to be renowned for its brutal, necessary truths.

Opening the wound is first track “Every Single Night,” which centers on the inner demons Apple faces and the struggles she has with her biggest enemy: herself. Screaming “Every single night’s a fight with my brain,” Apple reveals her endless battles with facing her feelings and the lesson of letting go.  Compared to tracks on Extraordinary Machine “Every Single Night,” is familiar territory, with a free-jazz flow and scattered percussion of co-producer Charley Drayton. Fans will definitely appreciate the raw lyrics that echo throughout this track.

Diving deeper into her torn heart tracks like “Daredevil” and “Left Alone,” illustrate the complete and utter torment that comes with being betrayed by someone you love, followed by the harrowing emptiness the heart feels once the pain is able to subside. Apples painful shrieks set to a powerful piano melody captivate the listener, and make you feel every single cry of sorrow.  

The most controversial track on the album titled “Jonathan,” calling out Ames by name,  is a song for any girl out there who wished she would have said what she really thought to the last jerk who shattered her heart. Sure it may be a little immature, but definitely entertaining. 

If that wasn’t enough to get back at her ex, Apple closes with the fun and catchy “Hot Knife” that hints at lustful encounters with a new, unnamed someone crooning “If I’m butter, than he’s a hot knife.” Along with some of the best vocals of any of the other tracks and catchy lyrics, Apple delivers a pleasant change in tune as she finally tastes pleasure again.

Idler Wheel, though not your traditional Fiona Apple album, deserves credit as being one of the most daring and sincere albums out there this summer. It takes a true “daredevil” to explore those dark, eerie places that we all have inside of us. With this album, it’s Fiona: 1, Ames: 0.

Photo Courtesy: NYTIMES.COM

Photo Courtesy: Nick Mickolas

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