Fiona Apple
 When The Pawn... 
Hip Online   
Nov '99
by Rae Gun

When The Pawn is probably the longest album title in recording history, but don't let that irritating fact get you down. The firecracker we know as Fiona Apple is back on the attack. I was prepared to dish some blows to Fiona's latest release when I found it on my desk. So here we go. 

I was hooked immediately as "On The Bound" whipped me into shape. The funky beats and overpowering vocals just blew me away. One of my favorite tracks is the wonderfully full "To Your Love". The chorus is amazing and the bridge finds her getting pissed once again. And I found this word in the bridge, "desideratum." Wow. I don't know how she got all of those syllables to sound so good. That is a feat in itself. 

After only two songs I was in need of a break, but none was to be had. "Limp" was next on the agenda. The chorus marched on with "It won't be long till you'll be lying limp in your own hand". Ouch. After she kicks every male in the you-know-whats, she sits down and licks her wounds on "Love Ridden". "Paper Bag" promenades along remarkably, and if you listen hard enough I think you can hear Fiona smile. The words seem down, but it feels more like she is coming to grips and is happy to know we hear her confessions: "Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs to much to love."

Wildly entertaining is what I'd call "Fast As You Can". Sensual longing and the road to the backdoor is the only route Fiona seeks out of a relationship that's stuck in neutral. "The Way Things Are" is another ass kicker: "So keep on calling me names, keep on, keep on/ and I'll keep kicking the crap till it's gone." The album ends on a startling note with "I Know". It's a beautiful jazzy piece that sends fierce shivers up and down my spine. 

What do you say about an album that boasts ten great songs? Unique. Fiona has accomplished the seemingly impossible. Even Alanis' latest release has some gaps that need to be filled in, but Fiona has taken it up another notch. I found myself too often bored on her first release, Tidal , but When The Pawn hasn't escaped my cd player since I received it. I'm sold on Fiona.