Fiona Apple’s much awaited new album, The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, is a grower, a creeper, a slow burn. Though it did not knock me over and rip me up the way both Tidal and The Pawn did, I find myself hitting repeat on a few songs already, letting them seep slowly beneath my skin. I am finding the songs haunting. They seem to traverse just a few steps behind me, wavering a little, echoing a little. Certain songs, especially Valentine and Werewolf, seem to be evolving into shadows cast around me in the middle of a hot, Summer day.

Regret is the hardest song to hear. The raw, ragged vocals, which harken some of my own sleepless consecutive nights and the toll they take, hurt to hear. Hot Knife is a play it again kind of song. Sexy, infectious, and a bit tongue-in-cheek (and tongue in some more adult places), this may end up in my favorite songs list by day’s end. I am listening again, right now, wondering how this would sound paired up with Tidal’s Criminal (somehow I keep thinking they would make one hell of a song pair).

There is pain here, punctuated by that sometimes bitter, sometimes cloying, and sometimes kick-ass strength that often comes at the end of a relationship. This morning I played this album on shuffle, and it felt like a sonic toss around in the roller coaster known as loss, and the stages thereof.

I do not love this album yet (though I want to), but I am not letting go of it yet, either.

Valentine :: Fiona Apple

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