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Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple defied categorization or any easy career path, almost running the pattern in reverse, opening her career as a highly touted and popular alternative singer/songwriter, then transitioning into a cult artist. Apple certainly benefited from the open-door policy of modern rock in the mid-’90s, following the path of crossover alt-rock piano-based songwriters like Tori Amos, but Apple was hardly an Amos copycat: she had a strong jazz undertow in her vocal phrasing and melodies, she had richer arrangements, she had a poppier bent to her songs. All these things helped her 1996 debut, Tidal, find a wide audience, one that increased considerably in the wake of the controversial video for the single “Criminal,” but Apple made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t an amateur provocateur with her sophomore album, When the Pawn Meets the King, an album that increased her critical reputation and cult, which would be pillars of support during her intense battles while making her third album, Extraordinary Machine. Born to singer Diana McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart in 1977, Fiona Apple started playing and writing songs at the age of 12, in an effort to work out a traumatic childhood that included a rape at the age of 11. Apple continued to write, leaving high school for Los Angeles at the age of 16. She cut a demo tape that eventually earned her a contract with Sony Music in 1995. Teamed with producer Andrew Slater, she cut her debut, Tidal, releasing the album in the summer of 1996. Tidal was a slow build, earning critical acclaim and a cult that exploded when the controversial video for “Criminal” turned the single and album into a hit. Mark Romanek’s seedy, suggestive clip was overtly sexual -- a path Apple notably avoided afterward -- but it did the trick, helping the album reach the Top Ten and earning Apple a Grammy. Despite this titillation, Tidal appealed to the middle of the road, a path Apple definitively rejected with her next album, 1999’s When the Pawn Meets the King. The entire title was a 90-word poem, a fair indication of the artistic ambition that lay within. Produced by Jon Brion, the album was dense, literate, and melodic, not matching the commercial success of the debut but deepening her cult. Despite a romance with director Paul Thomas Anderson -- she contributed to the soundtrack of his 1999 magnum opus Magnolia -- Apple retreated from the spotlight, fostering an element of mystery that only grew when her next album experienced a series of delays. By 2003, the lack of a sequel became a sensation among some music message boards, where rumors swirled that Sony rejected her newest music for being uncommercial. Within the next year, unfinished mixes leaked onto the Internet and the saga of the album spilled over into the mainstream, earning ink in The New York Times. All this helped usher the album to completion in the fall of 2005, when the original Brion productions were tweaked and expanded with producer Mike Elizondo, who helped Extraordinary Machine reach its final shape. The album was greeted by generally positive reviews -- some compared it not entirely favorably to the leaked album -- and the record received healthy sales. In its wake, Apple maintained a moderate presence, touring with Nickel Creek in 2007 and appearing with the Watkins Family at times during their residency at the Largo in Los Angeles. In 2012, Apple previewed three songs from her fourth studio album (which boasted a typically enigmatic title in The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do) to a wildly enthusiastic audience at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Produced by Apple with her touring drummer, Charley Drayton, the album earned excellent reviews upon release in June 2012. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Stations Featuring
Fiona Apple

    Female Rock

    Female Rock
    3 songs

    '90s Alternative

    '90s Alternative
    2 songs

    Movie Tracks

    Movie Tracks
    1 song

    Relax Trax

    Relax Trax
    1 song

    '90s Pop

    1 song

Albums by
Fiona Apple

Top Songs by
Fiona Apple

  1.   Song
  2.   Criminal
  3.   Shadowboxer
  4.   Sleep to Dream
  5.   Across the Universe
  6.   Extraordinary Machine
  7.   Fast As You Can
  8.   Sullen Girl
  9.   Frosty the Snowman
  10.   I Know
  11.   Never Is a Promise
  12.   Better Version of Me
  13.   Waltz (Better Than Fine)
  14.   Slow Like Honey
  15.   Werewolf
  16.   Oh Well
  17.   The Child Is Gone
  18.   Pale September
  19.   Every Single Night
  20.   O' Sailor
  21.   Red Red Red
  22.   Limp
  23.   Please Send Me Someone to Love
  24.   On the Bound
  25.   Daredevil
  26.   Love Ridden
  27.   Get Gone
  28.   Paper Bag
  29.   A Mistake
  30.   Dull Tool
  31.   Please Please Please
  32.   The Way Things Are
  33.   Regret
  34.   Left Alone
  35.   Valentine
  36.   Why Try to Change Me Now
  37.   Not About Love
  38.   Parting Gift
  39.   The First Taste
  40.   I Walk a Little Faster
  41.   Window
  42.   To Your Love
  43.   I'm in the Middle of a Riddle by Maude Maggart
  44.   Hot Knife
  45.   Periphery
  46.   Jonathan
  47.   Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)
  48.   Get Him Back
  49.   Anything We Want
  50.   Carrion

Artists Related to Fiona Apple

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