When The Pawn...
Fiona Apple
 Sublime Silliness
Nov '99

by John Sakamoto

GENRE: Confessional pop 
FORMAT: Album 
TYPE: Studio 
ENHANCED: Yes (link to website only) 

RELEASE DATE(S): Nov. 9, 1999 

PRODUCER(S): Jon Brion 

NOTES: Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, Pearl Jam) drums on eight tracks. Producer Brion plays virtually everything else. The 90-word title is actually a poem. 

Given the speed with which Apple became an object of derision in the wake of the wounded-doe of an album that was "Tidal", it wouldn't be surprising if this follow-up consisted entirely of sullen diatribes against the media. Instead, "When The Pawn..." makes a remarkable stylistic leap and manages to effect a stance that is both grown-up and emotionally open. "So be it, I'm your crowbar/If that's what I am so far/Until you get out of this mess ..." Apple may have toughened up some in the past three years, but she still can't help but lead with her heart.

RATING: 3.5 (out of five) 

SIMILARITIES: Tanita Tikaram, Imani Coppola 

BEST TRACK(S): I Know, A Mistake 

WORST TRACK(S): To Your Love 

THE BOTTOM LINE: This is that rarest of sophomore albums: one that should impress acolytes and sceptics alike