Exceptional singer-songwriter Fiona Apple has released her first album in eight years entitled, Fetch The Bolt Cutters.

The notoriously private songstress (and fan of staying home) recorded the 13 magnificent tracks at her Venice Beach abode. Dog barks were welcomed and encouraged…

Throughout, the LP stays true to Apple’s undeniable musicality that sets her far and away from most artists on today’s radar. It is raw, yet deliberate. It is fluid, yet unyielding.

Apple takes the listener on a beautiful journey, remaining reflective on the past, observant of the present, and focused forward on the future. The album highlights found sounds, and wonderfully captures the ability of the human instrument in all capabilities.

The album starts off with a unique blend of percussion and electric blips, then muses strongly into Apple’s trademark piano. From the first line, any listener is sure to be encapsulated by Apple’s sharp and honest lyrics. As typical, she sings with unbridled, fearless passion to explore the power and ability of her voice. “I’ve waited many years, every print I left upon the track has led me here. And next year it’ll be clear this was only leading me to that, and by that time I hope that you love me”.

Apple has expressed that the line, “Fetch the bolt cutters” is more than the superficial escape from criminality,
but an encouragement to literally grab tools, and set yourself free from whatever situation is holding you back in life. In an interview with NPR, Apple expresses that the line was taken from Netflix’s drama The Fall. She explains that upon hearing the line, she wrote it on a blackboard and knew it would be the title of the album. The title track has a jazz feel that ebbs and flows effortlessly. A deep bass dances over homemade-sounding percussion, as Apple’s vocals lament resolve to frost it all off. “I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill, shoes that were not made for running up that hill. And I need to run up that hill, I need to run up that hill. I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.”

During “Under The Table”, Apple addresses a surely spirited dinner party. “Kick me under the table all you want, I won’t shut up”. The song is one of many that displays Apple’s glorious ability to layer both instrumentation and round lyrics that dance effortlessly together.

“Ladies” is endearing and warm. It holds true to the album’s underlying message to lift fellow ladies, instead of tearing them down. During the verses, Apple walks us through a tale that is easy to picture of moving on and writing a sort of love letter to the next girl, as opposed to lashing out toward the wrong party. “And oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. There’s a dress in the closet. Don’t get rid of it, you’d look good in it.”

In “Cosmonaut”, Apple explores the positives and negatives of a relationship, while the soaring vocals make it easy to visualize literally floating alone together in space. The song was originally written for 2012’s movie, This Is 40, but given a new go around for this album’s endeavor.

“For Her” is bold and beyond powerful. It starts with claps that trail into breathtaking harmonies from an army of ladies that seem to shine a vocal light directly on misogynistic culture. An important part of healing is articulation, and the line, “Well, good morning! Good morning! You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in” does so like a razor blade.

The album closes out with the strongly percussive “On I Go”. Appropriately, the chant seemingly expresses Apple’s desire to live and she wants to live, and create as she wants to create. It welcomes the ending of this masterful collection of songs, but leaves the listener positive Apple will continue to live life on her own terms with a soundtrack entirely hers.

Overall, Fetch The Bolt Cutters does not disappoint in the slightest, and was well worth the wait. Here’s hoping Fiona Apple will announce a corresponding tour once the Coronavirus is safely behind us all. For now, I’m glad we’ve got a baker’s dozen brilliant new tracks to keep us company.

Fetch The Bolt Cutters Tracklist:

1. I Want You To Love Me
2. Shameika
3. Fetch the Bolt Cutters
4. Under the Table
5. Relay
6. Rack of His
7. Newspaper
8. Ladies
9. Heavy Balloon
10. Cosmonauts
11. For Her
12. Drumset
13. On I Go

 

Review by : Tiffany Cuthrell