Song of the Day #4,185: ‘Periphery’ – Fiona Apple

Best Albums of the 2010s – #7
The idler Wheel… – Fiona Apple (2012)

I’ve noted that several artists on this list have had a lean decade, production-wise. Fiona Apple takes first prize in that regard, releasing only one album over the last ten years, 2012’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do.

Most people just call it The Idler Wheel.

This album, Apple’s fourth in the 24 years she’s been recording, is raw, beautiful and challenging. It’s a true art record on which she experiments with sounds and structures but manages to still deliver a solidly entertaining batch of songs.

Apple originally recorded these songs as demos for her next album but liked the grittiness of those first performances so much she used them on the album itself. Working with drummer Charley Drayton as producer, she added percussion using mostly natural sounds. On this song, for example, you can hear the sound of feet dragging through gravel. Another track features the sound of children on a playground.

The result has an organic scruffiness but one that always feels fully realized. Apple might have only one album in her every seven years or so, but when they’re this rich and rewarding, it’s worth the wait.

[Verse 1]
Oh, the periphery
They throw good parties there
Those peripheral idiots
Always have a bite to bear
Bear it, if you can
If you really want to

[Verse 2]
Go to the periphery
Have them celebrate your name
Have them forge you a pedigree and then you’ll be
Left to run the races, lame
Run it if you want
If you think it’s worth it
But not with me

[Chorus]
Cause I don’t appreciate
People who don’t appreciate
All that loving must’ve been lackin’ something
If I got bored tryin’ to figure you out
You let me down
I don’t even like you anymore at all

[Verse 3]
Oh, the periphery
I lost another one there
He found a prettier girl than me
With a more even-tempered air
And if he wants her, he should get her
Cause I think he thinks she’s worth it

And maybe they’ll move from the periphery
Buy themselves their own plot of land
And I’ll care in a different capacity, I’ll just be
Hoping he makes a good family man

And if he finds himself yearning
For his throne on the silly side
There’s nothing wrong, as long as he’s learning
Besides, he can take it up with his bretheren
Or with his bride, just not with me

[Chorus]
Cause I don’t appreciate
People who don’t appreciate
All that loving must’ve been lacking something
If I got bored tryin’ to figure you out
You let me down
I don’t even like you anymore at all

[Extro]
Oh, the periphery
Oh, the periphery
Oh, the periphery
Oh, the periphery
Stole you away
Stole you away
Away, away
Stole you away, away

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,185: ‘Periphery’ – Fiona Apple

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I guess she’s due for a new album in the next year or so!

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