When The Pawn...
Q · Mar 2000
by John Aizlewood
When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight And He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember the Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know that You're Right.
Some people make it so difficult for themselves. Take 22-year-old Los Angeles resident, Fiona Apple: a songwriter of real depth; sufficiently physically attractive to avoid scaring horses and beneficiary of a marketing budget that would keep Poland afloat for a few months. Then, she - and it surely was her - calls her first album that, as if she were a rather dim first-year student at a minor former-polytechnic.
Beneath childish idiocy, however, lurks a handsome record, well worth persevering with and a massive step forward from 1996’s three-million selling debut, Tidal.
Part Jewel-with-tunes, part Tori-Amos-without-kookiness, it noodles, but only rarely and on " Limp," fuelled by Apple’s own stomping piano, is unafraid of a soaring chorus to complement the angular verses. She swears on " Get Gone," croons on I Know and pretends she’s The Beatles on " Mistake."
Most of all though, she’s a piano-led Aimee Mann. Jon Brion, producer of
this record, also helmed Mann’s wonderful Whatever album and whilst short of
that league, Apple makes a decent fist of the angry but unself-indulgent thinking woman’s record. But she’s probably regretting that title even now.
(Like this? Try these…Kate Bush "Lionheart", Jewel "Pieces Of You", Maria McKee "Life Is Sweet")