When The Pawn 
Fiona Apple
fipol   Oct 20 '99
fan reviews

I HAVE to post! 

Today, I received an advance copy of "When The Pawn..." and I've played it over and over - I just can't get enough! 

I don't want to spoil the discoveries for everybody else, but how can I be expected to keep quiet when I've just heard ten new Fiona songs?! I have to talk to somebody! 

First off, let me say a few words about expectations. Like all of Fiona's fans, I've been waiting three years for this moment and it hasn't been a day too long in the coming. However, I must admit that I've had my doubts as to whether the arrival of Fiona's new album mightn't be the moment I lose interest. My tastes have changed considerably since the release of "Tidal" and Fiona is one of the handful of artists who has survived the crossover, but it means that she now fills a very different niche within my record collection than she previously did - not that my opinion of or response to "Tidal" has changed, but simply that it sits within a different context. 

This slightly precarious position was made even less secure by the fact that Fiona only has one album to her name and, however good those ten songs are, they can't really provide substantial "proof" of an artist's potential to continually interest or challenge. 

So, when I sat down to press "play" today, I brought a lot of baggage to the occasion, but, as "On The Bound" struck up, every doubt and every preconception MELTED into oblivion, never to return. 

This record is extraordinary. 

I buy a lot of music and it takes something really special to convince me to bestow such high praise on it as "When The Pawn..." inspires me to do. 

The thing that is so impressive is that Fiona didn't have to make an album THIS great. Something even half as good would've been more than enough to satisfy fans and critics, but it seems that Fiona is only content with completely blowing us away! 

This is everything you imagined Fiona was capable of and so much more. The Fiona we know and love is absolutely still there, but she's flexing her musical muscles in a hundred new directions - from anthemic torch songs to warm, delicate beats, from complex jazz rhythms to haunting string-laden melodies - the arrangements are more ambitious and sympathetically constructed than before and vocally Fiona is really pushing herself to soaring new heights. If your heart is not on fire and your throat seized-up by the end of the mighty triumvirate of "The Way Things Are", "Get Gone" and "I Know", then you don't deserve to own this album! 

I've probably said too much already, but of course each listener will bring to and take away unique things from "When The Pawn..." - nobody can experience art on your behalf - but, I can only say that, having had the pleasure of this particular experience myself, I am envious of anybody else whose revelatory moment has yet to come :) 


- Sally