It’s only the greatest day of every week. Life’s hardships seem to drift away and the stupidest of things (like Snoop Dogg’s change to Snoop Lion) are but the tiniest annoyances which brand new albums placate.
In case you didn’t know, album drop Tuesday is exactly what it says: it’s when new albums “drop” (from heaven, presumably), or to put it in less slangy terms: are released in the U.S. Why is this the case? To me it doesn’t quite matter, so long as I get my new music when I expect it, but NPR has some theories if you’re interested in reading about them.
Anyway, the album release schedule is across the genre-board, so you can expect to find your new release no matter how arcane the genre-online, in stores, on CD Baby, through band websites, etc.-every Tuesday; this includes re-releases of popular old albums as well as life’s little annoyance in the form of EP’s (a big ass tease if you ask me).
Allmusic.com has a great list of what’s coming out every week, which you can browse by artist, genre, re-release, alphabetically, or by record label.
To celebrate today’s album drops, I’m going to go back a few weeks and give you a quick review of an album that came out on July 17: Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.
I remember when Fiona Apple first came out very distinctly: I was in the watch-MTV-every-free-moment mode (and frankly would have stayed that way had they not stopped playing music…), and this-to me-very disturbing music video by a gaunt, sullen woman-child with a good beat and a slightly less sing-songy hook than the average pop song came on and I was mesmerized (morbidly). I can’t say that I loved her right away, but her style is not what I grew up with or gravitated toward often at the time, and let’s face it: we like what we know.
In learning more about Fiona Apple the person, she has had a bit of a tormented existence (which, we all know, makes the best music), having been raped in her adolescence and born a very pensive individual. What is most striking about her music is how she has chosen to deal with herself and others through the unraveling of her songs. And that’s exactly what they feel like: they unravel, and how they do so is completely governed by emotion as opposed to sequence or heavy-handed control.
In terms of The Idler Wheel…, she (and every other artist) deserves to have her work examined as a stand alone piece of art. But, because humans love connections, it’s hard to separate this from her previous work. What is striking is that while Fiona Apple is more uncomfortably reclusive and gamine than she has ever been these days, her newest effort finds her shedding even more orchestration than Extraordinary Machine, and we see that her voice and lyrics stand up best against a minimalist background (this is not to say that it isn’t a complicated album). She is surprisingly more powerful than she has ever been. It seems that she feels comfortable enough with herself to strip away the electronics and random instruments, trading them for increased percussion and letting her voice do exactly what it is compelled (called) to do, and nothing less.
From even the album cover, the entire package separates itself from everything that is currently circulating the airwaves, and puts itself at a much different place than the previous three albums. It is coherent and creative, and not radio friendly, but not so isolating that only die hard fans will go for it.
To me, each of her albums serve a different purpose and I find myself neither wishing this album was like any of the other three, nor would I put it on a pedestal above them. It finds its place very comfortably in the-fourth-album-in-16-years slot, and Apple again places herself firmly above most other artists privileged enough to have a label backing them.
Favorite Songs: Every Single Night, Daredevil, Valentine, Left Alone, Hot Knife (that’s half of the album, right there… the other half’s good too)
Problematic Elements: Everything. It is honest and true and simple yet complicated, and some may not like their music that way.
PS: Fiona Apple is reportedly a vegan.
*Don’t worry, I will give a more scathing review in due time. Just wait for Snoop Lion’s album to come out… If you want to read something more controversial, this review pretty much sums up how I feel about a certain woman-beating “artist” whose album just came out.