Ironically, Tidal is both the biggest success and the most forgotten record in Apple’s 25-year career. She has released only five albums during that span, and it was the second, 1999’s When the Pawn…, that made her a critical darling and indie icon. The three releases since have met with lavish critical praise as her music has become less commercially accessible.
‘Fox in the Snow‘ – Belle and Sebastian (1996)
Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Fox in the Snow’ has shown up every time I’ve done some sort of “desert island discs” feature on this blog, and I wasn’t about to exclude it now that I’m coming up with my definitive list of favorite songs.
As with several songs on this list, ‘Fox in the Snow’ is my favorite song on my favorite album by one of my favorite bands. That status doesn’t apply to about two thirds of this list, but when it does the song in question is usually a key reason that artist became a favorite.
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.
That percussion comes in the form of traditional drum sets, but also all manner of found objects. Apple recorded the album in her house, and she turned her house into an instrument. She told one interviewer that she came to view the house as a member of the band. On one track, she is credited with playing a “chair.”
That takes a very dark turn on ‘For Her,’ a song inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal and Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. That song packs four distinct musical movements into its two and a half minute running time and includes the jarring lyric “Well, good morning, good morning, you raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in.”