Fiona Apple



by radianteclipse USER (26 Reviews)
April 13th, 2006 | 16 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

"Slow like honey, heavy with mood". Fiona Apple's own words describe perfectly the overall feel of her 1996 debut, <i>Tidal</i>. This is the album that burst her onto the singer/songwriter scene, and being only 18 years old at the time of it's's amazing to see the maturity of her songwriting displayed throughout. The consistency, the intelligent lyrical content, the unmistakable knack for creating cascading melodies and intricate song is all present here. An artist of her age should not be capable of such a musical feat. Only a true talent can display such wonderful musicianship and style.

This album achieved massive success, catapulted by the leading single "Criminal". I'm sure most of you remember this song, as it was one of the biggest hits of the year and was accompanied by a rather sexual and odd music video that recieved a lot of publicity, both good and bad. This song alone has proved to be one of the greatest pop singles released in the past decade, but is however not a worthy indication of the overall sound and feel of the album. This is the opening act by an artist who has put out albums of critical and commercial acclaim since. This may not have the maturity, originality, and flare of "Extraordinary Machine" or "When the Pawn...", but it's a promising introduction to a potentially illustrious career.

The overall sound of this album can be described in many ways. It's dark, it's beautiful, it's heartfelt (and at times heartbreaking), it's sultry, it's emotional, it's everything pop music should be. Her unique voice and masterful piano skills really help drive this album. Artists her age, whenever there are any in pop music, are usually filling the airwaves with bubble-gum pop music compiled of completely uninspired and bland lyrics about teenage break ups and cute boys. While Fiona Apple does focus on some of these things, she looks at them in a much more intricate and deep way. Think of someone like Britney Spears, had they sat down and thought about what it all means, looked past what is on the surface, and delved into their soul to write heartfelt music that actually means something, and actually show the emotion it brought in the music.

What really sets her apart on this album, is her ability to create songs that match the mood and feel of the lyrics. She displays her jazzy and sultry side on "Slow like honey"...singing with a voice that sounds much older than she really is, and created a perfect lounge-like atmosphere as she croons her beautiful words. "Sleep to Dream", the opening track, shows her more straightforward angry side...and she does it convincingly. Complete with a catchy chorus that has as much depth as it does edge. "Shadowboxer" and "Criminal" once again bring about her jazzy influences and her mature voice are the clincher to the song's well put-together success.

Even her ballads are something to truly be awe-inspired by. "Sullen Girl" flows along smoothly with a stunningly beautiful piano part flowing beneath her great voice...building up to a string-filled chorus with her gently swooning "It's calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion", and then in gently swells back down to just her and her piano. This is how beauty should be tranposed by an artist. It's brilliant. Her other ballad "Never is a Promise", starts out sounding very classical, with more of those swelling strings and yet another stunning piano part. It's breathtaking, and her lyrics once again shine through as the song puts you in an unescapable trance.

Overall, Fiona Apple shows the potential on her debut to dethrone the popular female singer/songwriters out there today, such as Tori Amos, Jewel, Sheryl Crowe, etc. A potential that I think she has more than lived up to with each passing album. My only gripe is I wish she would release one more often, but it shows she takes great care in perfecting what she has...and every album sounds very polished, including this one. In years to come, and possibly even now, this album can be looked upon as a pop classic. That's extremely rare for a debut album, especially from an 18 year old as herself. Any listener of this album should light some candles, put on a comfy robe, grab a cigar, and let her lovely music carry you away...

Recent reviews by this author
Between the Buried and Me The Great MisdirectDevendra Banhart What Will We Be
The Swell Season Strict JoyThe Swell Season Once: Music From The Motion Picture
Katy Perry One of the BoysStolen Babies There Be Squabbles Ahead
user ratings (250)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 13th 2006


Fantastic record...I love Fiona. I dunno if I would use "pop" to describe her music, though.

April 13th 2006


Very accurate rating.
Even if the album is excellent , it feels uneven between the great songs and the excellent ones.
Also I wouldn't describe it as pop, but it certeinly makes Sheryl Crowe and Jewel look like crap.
Brilliant, genius and cute girl.

April 13th 2006


[quote=plah]Nice review. I can listen to Fiona Apple but I don't find her music particularly memorable.[/quote]
That was me.

The Jungler
April 13th 2006


Good review, unfortunatly I have only heard Fiona's singles off this CD.

April 13th 2006


Oh yeah, suck up to her now, Plath, but call her unmemorable behind her back!

Cool review, I dig groovy chicks like Fiona Apple and Sinead O'Connor, if a comparison of them is allowed.

April 13th 2006


Ah yes, abusive mothers, reform schools, and Pope lovers galore.

June 14th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

fiona apple may be a little crazy, but she is a darn good singer.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 29th 2006


This is probably her worst album. It's nowhere near bad, but the songs tend to be a little boring and uninteresting. Songwriting is also a little weak compared to her other albums.

However, her voice is still awesome.

September 1st 2006


Never a promise is just beautiful...

Just thought id share that.

February 20th 2011


Sleep To Dream is great.

December 3rd 2011


I enjoyed this, great stuff! Stop by and say hi sometime windermere accommodation

June 13th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Never is a Anyways, onto "When the pawn....etc. etc. blah blah"

Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Sleep to dream is sick

Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2013


^agreed. great album

Digging: Megadeth - So Far, So Good... So What!

Contributing Reviewer
July 11th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Sullen Girl is such a powerful song too. She didn't get enough credit for that particular song imo

September 11th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Finally listened to this

Sleep To Dream, Shadowboxer, Criminal, and Carrion are the only ones that stuck out

There were quite a few dull moments

Maybe it'll grow. With a different mindset. Or when the lyrics click.

Digging: Leonard Cohen - Songs of Love and Hate

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2016
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy