Today is the day, folks — the day 90s sad girl icon and triple Virgo Fiona Apple is releasing her first album since 2012 with Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Originally slated for a later release date, Fiona actually moved the album’s release up to April 17 after she finished recording in March, giving us all something to look forward to (??). Here it is, for those of us who didn’t listen last night:
Where to begin, really, with this emotional juggernaut during one of the most emotionally intense periods of our collective lives? Although it feels like 10,000 years ago, this profile in The New Yorker actually came out mere weeks ago, and sets a bit of the tone for what surrounded this album. It is apt, as many have now noted, that this work comes out of a lifestyle on Apple’s part that is perhaps not unlike the one we have now all adopted: she lives in near total seclusion with her seeming platonic life partner, Zelda, and their Bernese Mountain Dog, whom Zelda cooks fresh tilapia for. She tries to deal with her complex trauma and has ongoing complicated emotional entanglements with her ex(es). There’s also this portion, which was in part the inspiration for this article:
More recently, Apple has become close with a few younger artists. The twenty-one-year-old singer Mikaela Straus, a.k.a. King Princess, who recently recorded a cover of Apple’s song “I Know,” called her “family” and “a fucking legend.” Straus said, “You never hear a Fiona Apple line and say, ‘That’s cheesy.’ ” The twenty-seven-year-old actress Cara Delevingne is another friend; she visited Apple’s home to record harmonies on the song “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” (She’s the one making that kooky “meow.”)
But Apple has more complicated dynamics with a wider circle of friends, exes, and collaborators. Starting with her first heartbreak, at sixteen, she has repeatedly found herself in love triangles, sometimes as the secret partner, sometimes as the deceived one. As we talked, she stumbled on a precursor for this pattern: “Maybe it’s because my mother was the other woman?”
Does that read as, uh, a little gay of center to y’all? Not to toot my own horn but I’ve been doing this for a while now and I can spot a sudden departure from gendered pronouns a mile away!
How are you spending this day? How did you spend last night? Are you a newcomer to the Fiona party and would like a welcome? Fantastic news for you! This is a great time to join the club — she’s sad white girl music, yes, but also ecstatic, wry, optimistic, measured, angry, weird, generous. One way in is to consider this post I wrote when we were all in uh, a place, or to sit with this playlist Drew made that is all those songs in reverse to bring you from despair to peace, perhaps more appropriate and helpful now that we’re all also in a different, worse place! If you’re not really feeling Fiona but want to be able to participate in the Vibe (TM), this playlist from Laneia I used to listen to while I made breakfast every day after I got divorced is gonna be great for you.
What are you taking away from Fiona Day? What are your takes on each track? We’re not going anywhere! Share them here!