The enchanting Fiona Apple has turned over a tricksy new musical leaf with the release of her latest album, Extraordinary Machine. The machine is she and extraordinary she is! Fiona’s music on this new album is no longer solely glum and gloomy like her previous public efforts. She now presents us with a sexy curiosity and a jaunting, lilting, melodic sense that is bright and blossoming in a dull Pop music world.

The tracks on her album I am now best enjoying are Window and Please Please Please but the top pop turnover song of all is the one for which the entire album is appropriately named:Fiona Apple Turnover Extraordinary Machine because it jiggles and snakes and chimes in with spirit — with actual chimes!

The instant that song starts, the notes begin to tumble and float in mid-air and you are ensnared by the brassy syncopation of her luscious, lucid, smoldering and smoky voice. There are no drums on that song.

There are, however, plucked strings and woodwinds: It’s Fiona Apple Does Broadway on Steroids! That song is a curious mix of odd styles and conflicted intents and it works daringly well, but I can well imagine those who are unable to hear the genius in her, and in her song, and they would hate every note and fiber in each fine moment of the performance.

Fiona cannot worry about, or even acknowledge, the mediocrity surrounding her because mediocrity only recognizes itself while genius recognizes all.

Here’s a lyric sample from that song’s chorus and notice the delicious double rhyme in “find me” and “behind me” as further evidence of the quirky smarts beneath the structure of the melody:

If there was a better way to go then it would find me I can’t help it; the road just rolls out behind me Be kind to me or treat me mean I’ll make the most of it; I’m an extraordinary machine

Then, strangely, at one point in that song, Fiona goes into a bizarre and wonderful falsetto and sings the following in a ghostly, haunting manner that makes you laugh out loud:

Do I so worry you You need to hurry to my side, it’s very kind But it’s to no avail I don’t want the bail I promise you everything will be just fine

I challenge you to listen to that Extraordinary Machine track and not repeatedly sing, for the rest of the day, nay, the entirety of your life. “I’m an extraordinary machine” …because the melody sticks in you hard and stays with you softly always and that is forever the mark of a classic song and a superstar talent.

Fiona Apple is back, and while she still cuts, she now makes you chortle and grin while you bleed out. This Fiona Apple Turnover is well-done!

49 Comments

  1. So, David… Extrodinary Machine,
    The chime is great! And that bassoon… sounds like a contra bassoon too! (famous in Operas for its comedy) Clever! Awesome! Swingin.
    Her voice reminds me of Rickie Lee Jones at times.
    Glorious. Love it! Fabulous! Thank You for introducing me to her! (Hello Miss Fiona Apple)

  2. Hi suzanne!
    I am glad you found some fun in “Extraordinary Machine!” I appreciate your analysis of the song. ๐Ÿ™‚
    If that was your first exposure to Ms. Apple you should also listen to “Sleep to Dream” and “Criminal” as examples of her previous smash hits for comparison as to how far she’s traveled musically today.

  3. Hi suzanne!
    I am glad you found some fun in “Extraordinary Machine!” I appreciate your analysis of the song. ๐Ÿ™‚
    If that was your first exposure to Ms. Apple you should also listen to “Sleep to Dream” and “Criminal” as examples of her previous smash hits for comparison as to how far she’s traveled musically today.

  4. I’m thrilled you did a review on Fiona (and what a fantastic one it was) although I downloaded her album months ago when they sent it out over websites and was slightly disappointed by it. Mind you I’ve been a hardcore Fiona fan since day 1 and still listen to both albums regularly so I’m I guess stuck in her old ways. One of the reasons I adored her so much was her pain and it was a pain I could relate to.
    I want to officially buy the album and give her more of a chance. If anything I will always love her writing…I honestly think she’s the most amazing poet ever. I love how colorful her words are and how deeply they can sink into you.

  5. I’m thrilled you did a review on Fiona (and what a fantastic one it was) although I downloaded her album months ago when they sent it out over websites and was slightly disappointed by it. Mind you I’ve been a hardcore Fiona fan since day 1 and still listen to both albums regularly so I’m I guess stuck in her old ways. One of the reasons I adored her so much was her pain and it was a pain I could relate to.
    I want to officially buy the album and give her more of a chance. If anything I will always love her writing…I honestly think she’s the most amazing poet ever. I love how colorful her words are and how deeply they can sink into you.

  6. Hello Robin!
    Her new album is quite strange. I find great pleasure in that change from ordinary expectation. I understand how her new musical growth could be jarring to hardcore fans. I don’t think her record label was happy with this album, either. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I admire Fiona for going her own way and I honor her journey to follow her own Muse. :mrgreen:

  7. Hello Robin!
    Her new album is quite strange. I find great pleasure in that change from ordinary expectation. I understand how her new musical growth could be jarring to hardcore fans. I don’t think her record label was happy with this album, either. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I admire Fiona for going her own way and I honor her journey to follow her own Muse. :mrgreen:

  8. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely admire her. I had admired her also when she made her 2nd album just as she wanted without just making a remake of the 1st. Some people didn’t like the 2nd because it wasn’t enough like the first but actually the 2nd (while at times maybe strange too) ended up being my favorite. She’s a genius and ahead of her time I think. I plan to give her new album some more time to sink in. I think it might go well with a long hot bath…

  9. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely admire her. I had admired her also when she made her 2nd album just as she wanted without just making a remake of the 1st. Some people didn’t like the 2nd because it wasn’t enough like the first but actually the 2nd (while at times maybe strange too) ended up being my favorite. She’s a genius and ahead of her time I think. I plan to give her new album some more time to sink in. I think it might go well with a long hot bath…

  10. I am with you, Robin, and I understand what you are saying.
    The new album is more intellectual — you have to listen to the words and figure out why she positioned them against each other. The album is a puzzle of her mind.
    Her previous albums, to me anyway, were emotional, venting, tidal waves of feelings — satisfying, sure, but if you want to grow you have to challenge yourself to blaze a new direction every now and then…
    Alanis Morissette tried to move in a new direction and failed and went back to her old stuff but with an acoustic twist. I don’t think Fiona will fall back into the safety of that temptation.

  11. I am with you, Robin, and I understand what you are saying.
    The new album is more intellectual — you have to listen to the words and figure out why she positioned them against each other. The album is a puzzle of her mind.
    Her previous albums, to me anyway, were emotional, venting, tidal waves of feelings — satisfying, sure, but if you want to grow you have to challenge yourself to blaze a new direction every now and then…
    Alanis Morissette tried to move in a new direction and failed and went back to her old stuff but with an acoustic twist. I don’t think Fiona will fall back into the safety of that temptation.

  12. You’ve intrigued me and once I have $$$ again I plan to buy it for sure. Anything she does interests me…I’d love her to do a book of poems someday.
    It’s good to grow but it’s not always easy. People don’t accept change well but for the artists I love I’ve been willing to go along for the ride. Take Kevin Spacey…he never does what everyone expects of him and I think he’s just brilliant.

  13. Hi David.
    I’m listening to Sleep to Dream right now. Pretty angry. Ok, that’s enough of that.
    Now I’m listening to Criminal… better. It’s pretty thick with organ, piano, drums, synthsized flutes, and her voice.
    (You know, I have a really hard time with all of this computerized orchestral string playing. It just grates! Somehow the synth pizzicato and winds don’t bother me as much in Extraordinary Machine.)
    OH WOW the best part if this Criminal song is the ending part with the little Eastern sounding melodies and rhythmic stuff and the random piano chords and crashes and scales… COOL! Now that is well written!
    I’m impressed that she does her own writing.
    Now I’m listening to Window. Yes, yes, yes, much better. This is great stuff. I like the prepared piano sound backing up verses. Kind of tin foil on the keys and out of tune a bit. And the glockenspiel is crazy!
    It’s really an art to work with all of these synthesized sounds and she uses the “instrument” much better in Extraordinary Machine (or at least not in a way that bugs me as much).
    Please, Please, Please is just piano, drums, and voice. (old school Ben Folds Fiveish in a way… Ben now uses real strings in his recordings :P) Good lyrics.
    So those are my reviews… for what they are worth! This is making me want to write music again. :mrgreen:

  14. Several years ago, I was offered the chance to tour with her… I said “No…”
    When asked why… my response…
    “I have enough crazy women in my life… I don’t need another…”

  15. Strictly from an audiophile point of view (as opposed to lyrical content and musical innovation), the production quality of Tidal and When The Pawn… were mesmerizing, and I’m looking for more sonic revelations from EM.

  16. Strictly from an audiophile point of view (as opposed to lyrical content and musical innovation), the production quality of Tidal and When The Pawn… were mesmerizing, and I’m looking for more sonic revelations from EM.

  17. Just wanted to tell you I bought her album this weekend and am listening to it now. It’s much better listening to it now…she’s so talented. I can’t wait to really let it sink in without all these distractions around me.

  18. Well I’m not giving them up for good…just trying to get to a place where I don’t desperately need them so badly anymore. Right now I’m not having any but for just 2 weeks. I’d kill for pizza right now.

  19. Anyone who loves Extraordinary Machine, (especially the less-polished-sounding “leaked” version), kate bush is also releasing an album soon. if you dont know the relation you should try listening to them both sometime. interesting songwriting and interesting choice of instruments. gets better the more you listen. when was the last time 2 amazing songwriters put out albums? long live john lennon!