Fiona Apple’s new album in 8 years, ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters,’ is already a classic

Fiona Apple performs at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV on September 15, 2012

Fiona Apple has, historically, been able to disappear for years at a time. But over the past year, she’s been making some cautious moves back into public life. There was her big interview, last year, about insomnia and Jennifer Lopez and her early work and all of that. It was a great interview, and there was an undercurrent that she was working on an album which was somewhat close to being completed. Then there was her long-read interview in the New Yorker last month, which included a lot of first-hand witnessing of Fiona recording this album. But even the New Yorker couldn’t predict when she would release it. Now it’s here: Fiona Apple’s first album since 2012’s The Idler Wheel. This one is called Fetch the Bolt Cutters, a line in The Fall said by Gillian Anderson’s character.

Because we’re all in captivity/isolation, every music critic has already listened to the album repeatedly and published their reviews. Good news: the album is already universally beloved, and some critics say it will likely be the album of the year. It’s amazing how the world has caught up to this dangerous songbird. I’ve been listening to the album and here are some of my favorite tracks. Here’s “Relay” (angry!!):

The title track, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”:

“Rack of His” is one of my early favorites:

“Heavy Balloon” sounds slightly polished! I’m still working out my faves, but I love what she’s doing with her voice here.


“For Her” is what she wrote around the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.

For what it’s worth, if you’re about to say something about how this or that is not an immediate catchy banger, from what I’ve found is that Fiona’s post-Tidal albums are slow-burners. You have to put the albums in the background for days and then suddenly you know all the words and you’re like “THIS IS MY JAM.” I’m literally still listening to Tidal and Extraordinary Machine all the time, so… yeah. I know this. FIONA HIVE RISE UP.

Fiona Apple

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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24 Responses to “Fiona Apple’s new album in 8 years, ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters,’ is already a classic”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I am going to cook all the weekend like crazy, because it’s officially: first month of lockdown here in France. I am happy to have the soundrack!

  2. dogmom says:

    I still listen to Tidal regularly too! One of the best albums of the ‘90s. I actually haven’t found her post-Tidal work to be as accessible — I like a few songs here and there — but I’m excited to listen to this one. That New Yorker piece was bonkers.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Tidal is one of my favorite all time albums & I adore the song criminal….I’ve been a bad bad girl…

  3. sa says:

    I forgot this was out today, thanks for the post/reminder!

    Tidal and When the Pawn are still 2 of my favorite albums. I remember I had to have 2 copies of Tidal, one for the car and one for home, because it was on permanent rotation.

    I agree that The Idler Wheel and Extraordinary Machine are more slow burns, there are songs I love on those albums, but I never listened to the full albums as constantly as I did with Tidal and When the Pawn.

    I’m super excited for this one!

  4. Becks1 says:

    Your description of her music is dead on – listen to it in the background for a few days and then BAM. You love it. I didn’t realize this album was coming out right now, so I know what I’ll be listening to over the next few days!!

  5. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Thank gawd. This is exactly what I needed today… Fiona Apple goosebumps.

  6. lucy2 says:

    I’ll definitely listen to it more this weekend.
    I still wish she’d put out a full version of the song she did for The Affair TV show, I always loved how haunting that one is.

  7. H says:

    I like Heavy Balloon, but the rest are not my jam. Happy she’s putting something out though. In my Six Degree of Fiona, I have a friend who is friends with her half brother, Garrett. That’s all I’ve got.

  8. sunny says:

    She is a truly great songwriter. Tidal was one of the very first albums I felt intensely about. Love that she is continuing to work and cannot wait to listen to this new album. Yay!

  9. Kristin says:

    I LOVE Fiona and have this on repeat! I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth but I wish she’d release the song she wrote for The Affair. Glad to have this new album though!

  10. MellyMel says:

    Got it on right now. The best music is the ones that can be played in the background and just set the mood for your day. Loved Fiona since I was in high school.

  11. Marty says:

    She is just such an amazing songwriter that you’ll catch a lyric and then immediately fall in love with the whole song.

  12. a reader says:

    This is the best birthday present EVER!!!

    I am so happy this album is an Aries, released during Aries season, with all that Aries lyrical and musical energy when we’re all in lockdown, which SUCKS for us extroverts. Yes it is a classic and the best thing she’s released since When the Pawn.

    I have a friend who works at Columbia and he got me an advance copy so I’ve been listening to it for a few days. Pure brilliance and I’m so happy to see a write up here. Thanks Kaiser!

  13. Madelyn says:

    Don’t know if this is the song you’re after but on Spotify there is a soundtrack playlist for “the affair” that includes a song from Fiona apple

  14. Claudia says:

    Looking forward to listening to this. I love Tidal and it was my introduction to her, but to me When the pawn…is her masterpiece.

  15. Silver Charm says:

    NPR is doing a listening session today at 3 EST with their music critics and I’m pretending I have a meeting blocked off for it.

    I know she’d never do this, but can you IMAGINE a Tiny Desk concert with Fiona and this album???

  16. IMUCU says:

    “When the Pawn” is one of my favorite albums, but I enjoy most all Fiona Apple music in general. So happy to listen to the new album! Saw her in concert a few years ago and she was the best single artist show I’ve seen in person (and I’ve seen A LOT from that genre). I would definitely go see her again.

  17. Leah says:

    I woke up at 6AM to listen and have been enjoying the glory, the genius ever since. I adore her with my heart and it doesn’t hurt that the woman is a master of her work. I actually loved her later albums more than her early work, so I can see how her music has progressed to this point and it has been an absolute joy to watch/listen.

  18. TIFFANY says:

    I just finished it.

    Yeah, it is really good.

  19. Nina says:

    I love it! Listening to it outside in the park in Berlin and I can’t decide which songs I like best! Cosmonauts is so beautiful♡

  20. Slacker says:

    just downloaded it myself. love it so far. I think you characterized her work perfectly since Tidal.

  21. Nibbi says:

    You’re right about her post-Tidal work.
    Tidal, though, is my “forever” album. Life-long #1 favorite, embodiment of my youth, all that.
    Can’t wait to check this one out, but imma take it slow…
    Feels like a gift that it comes out during confinement.

  22. Fleur says:

    I came back to this article just to say you are SO right about this album being a slow burn! I adore her music, but i couldn’t connect to the songs on Fetch the Bolt Cutters immediately. It took a few days of listening to her new stuff, then her old stuff, then her new stuff again, before I realized I’m now humming along with her Bolt Cutter tracks, and playing them on repeat. I LOVE the song Newspaper!