Song of the Day #4,340: ‘Heavy Balloon’ – Fiona Apple

Some albums make for great background music. Some are perfect for dance parties. Some get the whole family singing along on a road trip.

Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters is none of the above. This is an album best listened to alone, headphones on, with the lyrics in front of you. Or, as I’ve discovered over the past couple of weeks, alone, headphones on, while jogging around the neighborhood and keeping a wide berth from potentially infected passers-by.

The solitary quality of the album hit home awhile back when my wife said she’d seen a lot of people raving about it and wanted to give it a spin. She fired it up on our living room speakers with my daughters in the room.

I protested, saying “you are definitely not going to like this, especially the first time through” but my warnings went unheeded. And sure enough, the three of them were perplexed and uninspired by the decidedly non-traditional songs.

One song, ‘Heavy Balloon,’ did earn strong reviews from the tough crowd. It’s not the most commercial-sounding song on the album — in fact, I think it’s pretty much in the general sound and spirit of the whole record — but for whatever reason this was the one to hit.

I’ll continue to love and learn Fetch the Bolt Cutters through my headphones, but this track, at least, might find its way into the mix on our next family road trip.

[Verse 1]
People like us, we play with a heavy balloon
We keep it up to keep the devil at bay, but it always falls way too soon
People like us, we play with a heavy balloon
We keep it up to keep the devil at bay, but it always falls way too soon
People like us, we play with a heavy balloon
We keep it up to keep the devil at bay, but it always falls way too soon

[Chorus]
I spread like strawberries (I spread like strawberries)
I climb like peas and beans (I climb like peas and beans)
I’ve been sucking it in so long
That I’m busting at the seams
I spread like strawberries (I spread like strawberries)
I climb like peas and beans (I climb like peas and beans)
I’ve been sucking it in so long
That I’m busting at the seams

[Verse 2]
In the middle of the day, it’s like the sun
But the Saharan one, it’s staring me down
Forcing all forms of life inside of me to retreat underground
It grows relentless like the teeth of a rat
It’s just got to keep on gnawing at me
And it constricts like a boa on a hose, nothing flows
So the pressure grows instead of the seed

[Verse 3]
People like us get so heavy and so lost sometimes
So lost and so heavy that the bottom is the only place we can find
You get dragged down, down to the same spot enough times in a row
The bottom begins to feel like the only safe place that you know
But you know what?

[Chorus]
I spread like strawberries (I spread like strawberries)
I climb like peas and beans (I climb like peas and beans)
I’ve been sucking it in so long
That I’m busting at the seams
I spread like strawberries (I spread like strawberries)
I climb like peas and beans (I climb like peas and beans)
I’ve been sucking it in so long
That I’m busting at the seams

[Outro]
(I spread like strawberries), I spread like strawberries
I climb like (I climb like peas and beans)
I spread like strawberries
I climb like peas and beans
I spread like strawberries
I climb like peas and beans (That I’m busting at the seams)
I spread like strawberries
I climb like peas and beans

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,340: ‘Heavy Balloon’ – Fiona Apple

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    My money would have been on “Shamika” catching on with the family.

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