Friday, September 15, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 28: Fiona Apple - When the Pawn....

Album - When the Pawn Hits....
Artist - Fiona Apple
Key Players - Fiona Apple, piano and vocals. There was a series of string players as well on the record.
Produced By - Jon Brion

Released - November 9, 1999

What caused me to go back to this record? - For some random reason in the past week the song "fast as you can" seemed to be on the brain, for no reason. No radio or TV influence seemed to cause the song being in the brain.

Overview - This album was Fiona Apples second release. It has gone platinum in the USA and faired well on the US Chart, but it did sell less than her debut "Tidal". The first bit of trivia on the album is the title. The actual full album title is:
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 That 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

This was a poem that Fiona wrote after she read a poor review of her first album "Tidal". The title length is trivia in and of itself for another reason, its the longest album title ever. This album was pretty much split down the middle with regards to reviews. It was either hailed, or panned. In 2001 the album was nominated for 2 Grammy Awards, one being best alternative album. She did not win either award.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)

"On the Bound" opens up the record with some heavy piano notes. Fiona hits them with authority on this song. Her voice is in fine form with almost a "smoky/whisky" raspyness. "To your Love" has a very haunting chorus. Fiona seems to change both key and pitch well during the chorus. "Limp" starts off quietly and slowly builds to a rap tap drum line that has Fiona barking the chorus with strong conviction. She keeps the quiet/loud working throughout the song. This is the first song on the record that showcases a little more of the "band" with driving drums and a rock solid bass line holding it all in place. "Love Ridden" is a much more somber affair with the string section brought to full use. "Paper Bag" was the second single to be released from the album. If want to know what Norah Jones listened to before she "broke out" listen to this track. "A Mistake" could not be called a major departure from what you have heard to this point. Fiona really is in strong voice and again leads this with strong piano leads. "Fast as you can", this was the lead off single for the record and its obvious once the song gets started. This song has a great, almost spoken word delivery, and the band goes off at the end with Fiona on the organ. "Get Gone" has a more somber intro, using brush strokes on the snare drum but with the drums kicking in, it quickly becomes a stand out track on the record. The strings and vibes a nice touch. A song about relationships it would appear, it does offer some colorful language, but it pushes the urgency all the better. "I Know" wraps up the record on a quiet note. Fiona sings a little more "breathy" and the emotion in her voice adds a wonderfully haunting touch. It doesn't' end on a huge up note, but the overall listen is rewarding.

Where are they now? Fiona Apple toured in 2005 and 2006 for her 2005 release of "Extrodinary Machine". She worked with Johnny Cash on American IV doing a duet of the Simon and Garfunkel's classic "Bridge over Troubled Water".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the live experience) - Personally I have not seen her live. Each time she tours there are always underlying reasons for not getting a ticket and getting out to see her live. One of these days I'll smarten up.

FDF Overall take - Fiona gets sort of a bum rap for some reason. After her breakdown on stage in 2000 in which she cursed journalists and then stormed off the stage, to her bizarre MTV Awards speech, she seems flighty for sure. Sadly, many people have this pre-conceived notion of her. The popular opinion is probably even more biased since she has obsessive compulsive disorder and is a strict vegetarian. All that aside, if you play Fiona for a first time listener, they too, will find the beauty in her voice and song writing that is sadly overlooked.


At 10:10 AM, Blogger Sharon S said...

another great choice March.
I use Fast As You Can for Spin class.....

At 6:42 AM, Blogger Hotwire said...

don't know that i've very listened to her - i think i should give her a try.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Jerry Patrick said...

I am a huge fan of hers. Her music is timeless, and she is what I believe to be a lyrical genius.
Good stuff!


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