Today marks the release of Fiona Apple‘s first album in seven years, “The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do“. National Public Radio has been streaming the album since last week, and we’ve barely been able to stop listening to it.
As you’d expect, every track seethes with the kind of raw emotion Apple is known for. The first track and lead single, “Every Single Night“, is powerfully arresting in its beating rhythm, echoed by equally potent imagery in the accompanying video (which gave us all the heebie-jeebies, by the way):
On the track, Apple almost whispers “I just wanna feel everything,” and the honesty behind the sentiment is evident throughout the album — in the poetic lyrics, striking choruses, even in the dull, invasive stare Apple has perfected in her performances and videos. Many songs are close to (or at times, completely) a capella, driven by percussive vocals and Apple’s strong understanding of her own voice. In the age of autotune, few artists can be as convincing and as genuine in their emotions as Fiona Apple continually proves she can.
While some songs seem to harken back to the piano-beats of her previous album, “Extraordinary Machine“, overall, her growth over the last seven years is fully evident in each track. It is rare for an album to live up to the hype after this much waiting and anticipation, but “The Idler Wheel…” actually surpasses it. The scattered melodies, the pulsing rhythm of Apple’s voice, and the enduring love, pain, and heartbreak are nothing less than you’d expect, combining into an epic ten-track experience that has definitely been worth the wait.