Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine

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Extraordinary Machine
By: Fiona Apple
Year: 2005

I’ve been an avid Fiona Apple fan since the early days, when Tidal first came out, and I heard the song “Shadowboxer” for the first time. I’ve just always been moved by her sultry, deep alto voice, creepy piano melodies, and disjointed but catchy lyrics. But I was even more a fan of her second album, When the Pawn . . . which showed so much growth as an artist and composer.

But I waited and waited for a third album. And then I waited some more. Finally, four-plus years since the release of her second album, Fiona finally blessed us with an album, and a great one it is. I think it’s probably her best; I’m absolutely enamored with it.

This album is everything that I’ve come to expect from a Fiona album. Its lyrics are disjointed, but eerily coherent. Her piano is more enjoyable than before, and the production is top-rate. In some songs, she uses an entire orchestra to get the effect she’s looking for. While this album has shown up on lots of critic’s lists of “Best Albums of 2005,” it’s the only one that I heartily agree with. This really is a wonderful album.

Tracks to catch: “Extraordinary Machine”: A solid opener, with great orchestration and weird rhyming schemes. “Get Him Back”: possibly my favorite some on the album, it bursts with energy and heart. “Tymps (the Sick in the Head Song)”: My other favorite, featuring another weird rhyme and a rhythm that gets trapped in the head.

Objective Rating: 9 out of 10
As mentioned above, the production quality is high. The band she plays with has some great synergy, and her vocals are as dark, sultry, and sensual as ever. A great album that deals with the topics of loss and retribution.

Biased Rating: 10 out of 10
There’s no need to lie. I’m a Fiona fan. I think she’s one of the most talented female artists out there right now. While she certainly doesn’t reflect the usual types of music we review on this site, her tunes are anything but plain, and really deserve a listening-to by all real music aficionados. I can’t stop listening to this disc. It’s infectious.


  1. i love fiona but the leaked album was much better. i like this one too though. well everyting but tymps =(

  2. You didn't like tymps? You make me want to cry. I love that song! Hey, I guess different strokes for different folks. i still think this is her strongest album to date. I just pray it doesn't take her another four years to put out the next one, I might not live that long . . .