Pitchfork’s Interview with Fiona Apple

The singer-songwriter speaks openly about the joys of feeling pain, the most consistent relationship of her life, and her bold new album, The Idler Wheel.

“The Idler Wheel is Apple’s barest album, and its homespun instrumentation is gorgeously uneasy; clenched fists, feverish admissions, and nerve-shredding minor chords menace each warm melody. And, at 34, the singer’s energy is coiled as tightly around a core of human emotion as it was during her Tidal days in the 1990s. She still seems so tethered to pure feeling that she has nothing left to expend on the practical and logistical concerns of the world around her– driving a car, using a social media platform, taking a photo for a magazine spread. It’s nearly impossible to imagine her checking her email or sorting out a calendar. Perhaps that’s why her comeback is so exhilarating– she’s giving listeners a much-needed jolt from desensitizing technology and infinite fragmentation. She’s always of the moment because she can’t step outside of it.”

The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do?

“If you think about it, the driver of the screw has one job and he is always trying to change things. But the idler wheel is there and has this great effect on what the gears do; the idler wheel knows the machine much better than just this one thing that’s performing this one task.

For the second line, I had read about whipping cords in a nautical book that my last boyfriend had. I read that when ropes get frayed at sea, you can repair the frayed ends of the ropes with whipping cords that are very strong. This goes right back to the parenting thing– if I had a kid, and I had a choice between teaching somebody how to avoid trouble, or teaching them how to get out of it, I’d teach them how to get out of it.” Read More

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