Song of the Day #1,636: ‘Jonathan’ – Fiona Apple

the_idler_wheelTop Songs of 2012 – #3

I’ve been pleased to see Fiona Apple’s latest album (after a seven year break) sitting at or near the to of one critic’s list after another.

The Idler Wheel… is a dark and difficult record but a deeply rewarding one. It epitomizes what it means to create art through popular music and it’s the best album I heard all year.

It’s difficult to single out one song on this album, because they all feel very much part of the whole. But ‘Jonathan,’ Apple’s reminiscence of ex-boyfriend author Jonathan Ames, feels like a good representative.

Apple marries two piano riffs — one discordant and one upbeat — to approximate the up-and-down nature of the relationship. The only other instrumentation, as on much of The Idler Wheel…, is provided by the percussion of found sounds and the avant garde drum work of Apple’s co-producer Charley Drayton.

Apple has never seemed so in command of her art as she does on this album, even as her vocal performances brim with emotional turmoil and chaos. As a writer and performer, she is simply on another level than most artists working today.

Jonathan, call again
Take me to Coney Island
Take me on the train
Kiss me while I calculate
And calibrate and heaven’s sake
Don’t make me explain

[Hook]
Just tolerate my little fist
Tugging on your forest chest
I don’t wanna talk about
I don’t wanna talk about anything
I don’t wanna talk about
I don’t wanna talk about anything

Jonathan, anything
And anyone that you have done
Has gotta be alright with me
If she’s part of
The reason you are how you are
She’s alright with me

[Hook]

You’d like to captain a capsized ship
But I like watching you live

Jonathan, call again
Take me to Coney Island
Take me on the train
Kiss me while I calculate
And calibrate and heaven’s sake
Don’t make me explain

[Hook]

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,636: ‘Jonathan’ – Fiona Apple

  1. Dana says:

    This is a bit too avant gard for my personal consumption, but I remain impressed with apple as an innovative songwriter.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Pretty interesting. Not top 40 material but pretty cool. Love the lyrics.

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