Fiona Apple: ‘Fetch the f–ng bolt cutters & get yourself out of the situation you’re in’

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Late Thursday night, Fiona Apple dropped her album Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Fiona was trending on Twitter for much of Friday as amazing review after amazing review came in. Pitchfork awarded FTBC a rare perfect score – the last album to have received a perfect score was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 (arguably Kanye’s best album tbh). It doesn’t hurt Fiona at all that she dropped the album at truly the perfect moment in pop culture: during a quarantine lockdown, where everyone has the time to listen, absorb and just focus on the music. She also chose a moment where she doesn’t have to do performances on talk shows, she doesn’t have to have a tour plan, and she doesn’t have to be on magazine covers. She’s just FaceTime-ing friendly journalists from the comfort of her Venice Beach home and chatting about the album.

After 20-plus years in the music industry, the world came around to Fiona. And for the first time in her career, she’s able to talk about her music and her mental health through the prism of sobriety and free of the heavier prescription drugs she was on. It’s actually a joy to read her thoughts. As her album was universally applauded, Vulture published another excellent long-read with Fiona – you can read the full piece here.

Learning how to jam with a band: “It’s funny I’ve never been able to jam with people. I wish there was a better word for jamming. I’ve always been too shy to try, which is not a good way to be. If you grow up and you’re praised a lot for being special, rather than for making an effort, you end up later on in life being afraid. I would get into situations — and I have to watch myself still — where I don’t even want to try because if I don’t end up being special, then I don’t value my own effort as much as I should.

The change in her voice: “I think I’ve stopped trying to be a singer, actually. I have fun with my voice, but I’m not trying to make it pretty all the time. I’m not trying to convince anybody I’m a singer. It just turned out to be another instrument.

On her past relationships: “I had a boyfriend, Jamie, who helped me set up the recording. He’s still my friend. I am [friends with my exes]. I just heard from Jamie today, and I heard from Jonathan [Ames] two days ago. My ex-husband, Lionel Deluy, is a very good friend of mine too. He’s lovely. I was married very briefly to Lionel. Twenty-something. I don’t know. It was very brief.

Her relationship with women: “One thing I think I didn’t look at enough, when it comes to myself, is why I ever participated in a flirtation or even started a physical relationship with someone, when I knew they had a girlfriend. I think about it now, and both times I was privately in awe of the other woman — so was I trying to somehow put myself in the same category with her? Was I intimidated by them and I used the easiest avenue to assert my equal worth? Was I really asserting that I am only worth being a secret or that I believed deep down that it is somehow more exciting to be a secret? In both cases, I felt a boost in my ego at first. But I’ve never stopped being disgusted by the memories, and I wonder if that’s because I never apologized to the women. Maybe I tried to, but the women understandably made themselves unavailable to me. I am so sorry for my selfishness, but that’s not enough. I have to understand it, and I don’t yet.

Why she released her album early: “This early-release thing was great because I thought, I’m not going to have to do all the press that I don’t want to do, all this stuff that was making me drag my feet. TV appearances, radio stuff, photo shoots. I don’t have to do all that stuff. And the record’s done. There are people who are alone at home or people who are not alone, who are at home with abusive partners or with people they just can’t stand. Maybe they need to put on some headphones as an excuse to get away from those people, and maybe the music can help them get out their feelings inside that they want to scream at these people. So it just seemed very logical to me to put it [the album] out early.

What happens when the lockdown is over: “It’s not like I’m going to go out and have a party. That’s not really me, but a little more, yeah. When I was a kid, all I wanted was to go out and do things and be with my friends. And since I wasn’t invited or because I was told I was too intense to be friends with, I learned to make that my comfort place… You might as well just stay down there and make a home because it’s safer here. At least this way, I don’t have to feel the way down all the time. It’s no way to live. So I guess the message in the whole record is just: Fetch the f–king bolt cutters and get yourself out of the situation you’re in, whatever it is that you don’t like. Even if you can’t do it physically.

[From Vulture]

I love that she KNEW that people were ready for her music at this very moment and she wanted to give people a little quarantine gift. That’s basically it. She couldn’t have planned this sh-t better, let’s be honest. She talks a lot – with her signature striking honesty – about her sobriety, getting off prescriptions, and how she feels clear-headed and happy for the first time in a long time. And isn’t this perfect??

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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30 Responses to “Fiona Apple: ‘Fetch the f–ng bolt cutters & get yourself out of the situation you’re in’”

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  1. Chloe says:

    It’s SO good. I’ve missed Fiona so much.

  2. egot says:

    I listened for the first time and cried massive drunk corona tears.

  3. tempest prognosticator says:

    It’s a brilliant album.

  4. Escondista says:

    Who here didn’t want to be Fiona Apple in middle and high school in the 90s.
    I’ve been putting my headphones on and cleaning the house, taking my daughters for walks, and just taking a moment to myself to listen to the new album.

  5. Stacy Dresden says:

    Looking forward to enjoying this album

  6. ooshpick says:

    to me this is like a Bjork album. It might grow on me but it is not one of those immediate connections. my brain might have to grow in new directions to accommodate it. 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      Fiona is immensely talented but I agree where it’s a type of music that you need to be in the right mood for or even life experience. You’ll hear something and not connect to it then two years on and it’s just everything you wanted from a song.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s me, too. For me, I think it’s a generational thing (I’m older than a lot of y’all). I listened to those vevo clips last week–and I couldn’t listen all the way through on any of them. They didn’t connect to me, they all sounded alike in structure, and they sounded like they were recorded in her garage. I’d always known her name, but had never heard her music. And now I have.

  7. Jaded says:

    Haven’t listened to it yet but looking forward to it. I’m interested in her comment about regretting getting involved with men who already had girlfriends or wives. I’m glad she expressed her remorse. It’s been done to me and the damage it does is really terrible. You go from heartbroken, hurt and humiliated to angry, bitter and resentful and the pain lasts a LONG time. I wish the women who did that to me would apologize the way FA did.

  8. minx says:

    She’s talented and even more so than that, she’s an original.

    • Trillion says:

      here here! Just listened to Fetch The Bolt Cutters a few minutes ago. Lives up to the Hype, IMO. She does some little Diamanda-type vocal thingies at the end of the first track, which bugged me a little, but then again, maybe I just need to listen to it more so that context is removed.

  9. No Doubt says:

    Tidal will forever be a masterpiece. I always turn to her music when I’m in a solemn mood. I’m really happy that she’s getting praise for her recent work, but I’m just not feeling this new album.

    • Fleur says:

      Tidal is a beautiful work (both sonically and lyrically), as are many of the tracks on When The Pawn, and probably half the songs on Extraordinary Machine. The other half of Extraordinary Machine is like a lot of her later work, it displays purposeful roughness in her voice, and she has lyrics that are compelling, but harmonies that (purposefully) aren’t beautiful. Most of Idler Wheel is like that, too—beautifully crafted lyrics, but not songs I’d listen to. I only really enjoy listening to the songs Every Single Night, and Left Alone. I find the same is true with Fetch the Bolt Cutters. It’s incredible poetry, but not melodically accessible songs. I can respect that, she’s a true artist. I still absolutely adore Fiona.

      Her song Container (theme song for the Affair) is breathtakingly gorgeous.

      • Jaded says:

        Fleur, look up her cover version of Jolene on YouTube….it’s gorgeous.

      • Fleur says:

        thank you, Jaded! I will look it up!

        In case you haven’t seen it, I would also suggest you look up Fiona Apple’s duet of “I want you” with Elvis Costello. It’s amazing. She goes to a whole other place.

      • Jaded says:

        Thanks Fleur – will do!

  10. nicegirl says:

    Fiona is fire

  11. babsjohnson says:

    I never listened to her work, where should I start?

    • Dara says:

      Start with Tidal, her first album. The entire album is a masterpiece, but songs Criminal, Shadowboxer, Slow Like Honey, and Sleep to Dream are in permanent rotation for me. I can’t believe that album is twenty plus years old, I feel ancient now.

    • Jaded says:

      Try “Tidal” to begin with, it’s the most accessible and it shows how much of a genius she was at a young age, she was only 18 when she recorded it and wrote every song.

    • Fleur says:

      I agree with Dara and Jaded. After you’ve listened to Tidal, try When the Pawn. Almost every song on there is beautiful. but particularly effective are “To Your Love,” “Limp,” “A Mistake,”
      “Fast as You Can,” and “I Know.”

      • Chloe says:

        And Paper Bag!

        I spent a year listening to the leaked version of Extraordinary Machine and prefer it to the final version (although I’m so glad the final version gave us Parting Gift, which is fantastic). But I can listen to every single track on When the Pawn without skipping one, so it’s got to be my favorite.

    • babsjohnson says:

      Thank you !

  12. Christine says:

    I love her and have missed her. I connect to her music deeply and then when I go back later, and I have had different and more life, I connect on another level and it is like meeting an old friend and realizing how delightful they were in ways you didn’t realize.

  13. IMUCU says:

    I’ve already been humming a couple of the songs while walking my dog. There are definitely some good songs on the album and some excellent/deep lyrics. Some other artists that I like, like Alanis, were supposed to be releasing their albums, but they’ve been put on hold. It’s too bad they weren’t quite ready bc I think this is a perfect time to release new music with tons of people at home looking for entertainment and distraction.

  14. Jojo says:

    “If you grow up and you’re praised a lot for being special, rather than for making an effort, you end up later on in life being afraid. I would get into situations — and I have to watch myself still — where I don’t even want to try because if I don’t end up being special, then I don’t value my own effort as much as I should”.
    This woman is such an amazing, beautiful human. I learn from her. I want to make time to listen to the whole album.