Fiona Apple’s very long-awaited fourth LP The Idler Wheel… is finally set for release next week. So far we’ve heard the excellent lead single ‘Every Single Night‘, as well as the equally great ‘Werewolf‘ and ‘Anything We Want‘, and now you can stream the entire album courtesy of NPR. It’s been seven years since we last heard from the acclaimed singer-songwriter (2005’s Extraordinary Machine), and while the musical landscape has changed considerably in that time, it’s comforting to know that Apple can return whenever she needs to and gift us with an album that not only sounds like nobody else, but also puts the majority of its contemporaries to shame. Co-producing with drummer/multi-instrumentalist Charley Drayton, Apple once again explores new sonic territory here, with spare piano and drum arrangements augmented by “loops, marimba, celeste, bouzouki, pillow, teised guitar and thighs” (according to the album’s liner notes). She has of course experimented with unusual instruments before with long-time collaborator Jon Brion, but The Idler Wheel… feels more exploratory and improvisational than her previous work. Apple’s lyrics are as verbose and terrific as ever here, detailing failed relationships (‘Jonathan’ aka ex-boyfriend Jonathan Ames), paranoia (‘Werewolf’) and lust (‘Hot Knife’) with the wit and painful honesty that she is known for, and her remarkable voice remains one of the best, sounding gorgeous and sultry one minute and raw and cathartic the next. It’s too early to tell where The Idler Wheel… ranks in relation to Apple’s previous albums (all of which are great), but it is easily a contender for album of the year and one which I cannot recommend strongly enough. Apple also released a video this week for ‘Every Single Night’ – a weird wildlife-obsessed clip directed by Joseph Cahill – which you can find below.
The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do is out June 19. Stream it in its entirety below (via NPR).
Watch the video for ‘Every Single Night’ below.
For previous posts on Fiona Apple, hit the links below: