Superlong album title is definitely perplexing: What's Fiona trying to say?
Alarmingly self-confident pop pianist Fiona Apple released the world's first album with a 90-word title—a mouthful of mixed chess and boxing metaphors that practically dares consumers to switch to the competing brand, Tori Amos. (Apple is rumored to be writing a 12-stanza terza rima for her next CD's title.) But what is she trying to say? Spin prevailed upon several analysts for a glimpse into Apple's creative, albeit baffling, soul.
POETRY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, Phillis Levin:
"The highly regular rhythm is potentially mesmerizing, especially since each line contains a caesura—a strong pause—after the second emphatic beat. Another hour of attention might have allowed Ms. Apple to turn what seems like a very rough draft into something more accomplished. As it stands, the title frustrates more than it pleases, though it clearly wants to be emotionally and intellectually convincing."
LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR, NORTH-WESTERN UNIVERSITY, Jason Merchant:
"Linguistically, this title is simple in structure, but it goes far beyond the average human capability for word or sentence recall. It seems like a secure conclusion that no listener will be able to go to the store and ask for this album by name. Taking the first letters of each line, 'WWATSAAA,' comes close to the Dutch phrase wat saai, which means 'how boring.' "
JUNGIAN ANALYST, Virginia Apperson:
"This title-poem speaks to a massive yearning in our culture to learn to believe in one's self. Ms. Apple's self-assured pawn reminds me of the
archetypal fool who ultimately gets the gold or the girl by using skills that are not valued by the ruling principle. Her previous album was characterized as angry and bitter, but this poem
STAFF WRITER, THE CYBER BOXING ZONE, DscribeDC:
"The trippy, disjointed verbosity suggests Ms. Apple may have taken one too many power punches to the noggin. Refer to The Physician's Desk Reference entries concerning the effects of dementia
pugilistica, a neurological disorder affecting veteran boxers that frequently manifests itself in cognitive difficulties."
[ha! now, let's look at his "trippy"
ASSISTANT EDITOR, CHESS LIFE MAGAZINE, Peter Kurzdorfer:
"Pawns are individually the weakest guys on the board. Yet kings are also weak—they cannot travel over the entire board in one move. What distinguishes the king is his importance. So the least important piece's thinking like the most important is quite an outrageous dream. Fiona sees herself as a pawn who can be so much more."
PHONE PSYCHIC, Frances:
"This is someone you care a lot about, right?"
Spin: It's someone I don't know very well.
"Well, anyhow, this person thinks you're a man of tremendous capabilities, and you have to do what you think is right within your own mind. If you guide yourself from within, she feels you can overcome obstacles and deal with enemies. Are you into sports?"
"Well, the boxing ring could have to do with the big theater of life. There are all kinds of battles we're all fighting—it doesn't have to be a fistfight with another man."
Spin: That clears things up.
"I'm also good at giving tarot card readings."
Spin: That's probably all I need.
"What about crystal scarring?"
Spin: No, thank you.