Song of the Day #603: ‘Red Red Red’ – Fiona Apple

Today and tomorrow I’m going to take a look at the difference song production makes by highlighting two versions of the same song given completely different studio treatments.

The song is Fiona Apple’s ‘Red Red Red,’ which appeared on her third album, 2005’s Extraordinary Machine. It’s hard to believe the album came out five years ago already. That means we’re approaching the 6-year delay between her sophomore album When the Pawn… and this one. Only now there’s no new album on the horizon, no promise of new material. I really wish she’d record more often.

Today’s version of ‘Red Red Red’ is the official one, produced by Mike Elizondo and sequenced near the end of the album. It’s a slow, mournful song about romantic resignation. I particularly like the second verse, which compares the hard work of diamond mining to the effort spent on a relationship. Is it only because an ill-advised love beats the hell out of us that we feel it’s worth the trouble?

I don’t understand about complementary colors
And what they say
Side by side they both get bright
Together they both get gray
But he’s been pretty much yellow
And I’ve been kind of blue
But all I can see is
Red, red, red, red, red now
What am I gonna do?

I don’t understand about
Diamonds and why men buy them
What’s so impressive about a diamond
Except the mining?
But it’s dangerous work
Trying to get to you too
And I think if I didn’t have to
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill myself doing it
Maybe I wouldn’t think so much of you

I’ve been watching all the time
And I still can’t find the tack
But what I wanna know is it okay
Is it just fine
Or is it my fault
Is it my lack

I don’t understand about
The weather outside
Or the harmony in a tune
Or why somebody lies
There’s solace a bit in submitting
To the fitfully cryptically true
What’s happened has happened
What’s coming is already on its way
With a role for me to play

I don’t understand
I’ll never understand
But I’ll try to understand
There’s nothing else I can do


2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #603: ‘Red Red Red’ – Fiona Apple

  1. Dana says:

    Maybe I’m just sleepy this morning, but this song just put me in a coma.

  2. Clay says:

    And yet you could still type!

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