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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Primo Apple
You gotta love Fiona apple! She's still uncomfortably honest, unapologetically confessional, continually in crisis and producing albums with the title length of a William Blake poem. She'll never change and thank goodness for that, because most importantly she's still able to make brilliant music out of all this neuroses. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the...
Published on 31 July 2012 by Kenneth

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's gone wrong?
I've been a fan of Apple's for a very long time - "Tidal" and "When the Pawn ..." are, to me, seminal works; incredibly strong writing, beautifully and sensitively produced. Then there came the rather strange "Extraordinary Machine", which I sort-of enjoyed. The songs were still there, and the striking lyrical twists and turns, but the production was just weird. And...
Published 15 months ago by E. W. Collier


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Primo Apple, 31 July 2012
By 
Kenneth (nottingham, england) - See all my reviews
You gotta love Fiona apple! She's still uncomfortably honest, unapologetically confessional, continually in crisis and producing albums with the title length of a William Blake poem. She'll never change and thank goodness for that, because most importantly she's still able to make brilliant music out of all this neuroses. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do is her stellar fourth studio album, that now easily secures her a place along side PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Bjork as one of the greatest female singer songwriters of the last twenty years. There's always been an undercurrent of darkness to Fiona's music in the past, but her enraged vocals and bleak minor chords are no longer in the periphery here, instead they're obtrusively planted right at the centre.

"Every single night" Whimsically guttural singing and playfully angst ridden lyrics shouldn't be too unfamiliar to Fiona Apple diehards but they may be a little suprised to find the sweet melodious instrumentation that normally accompanies them absent. A sparsely played piano, minimal glockenspiel and an aggresive vocal harmony is about all you can hear for the entirity of this song and as an opener it isn't a red herring for the rest of the album either. Most of these songs have a pared down dissonant quality to them and don't really lend themselves to being featured on commercial radio stations unlike her previous output (Extraordinary Machine especially). The ecclecticism that Fiona's quite renowned for is still to be found on this album though, it's just a little difficult to spot at first, with the angry singing and morose piano chords seemingly dominating every song.

Check the jazzy drum solo that introduces "Left Alone" or the all out tribal ecstasy of "Hot Knife". And the way in which Fiona crafts these little moments normally during the bridge in these dark songs where she'll sing a lovely falsetto or actually play a major chord. Granted this is her most difficult album by far, but one could also argue it's her most rewarding in many ways to, with all Fiona's gloomy anguish on here translating into some powerfully breathtaking moments. Like "Regret" and "Valentine" that conjure some of the most devastating melancholy since early Red House painters. The pitter patter of "Daredevil" with it's single note piano is a particular delight for me also and it features the wonderfully ambiguous line "Don't let me ruin me, I may need a chaperone" it's often difficult to tell whether Fiona's being ironical or bluntly honest about her own self-destructiveness at the best of times, but this line seems to crytallize her playfulness.

"Anything we want" is another obvious highlight, with it's seductive chorus of nefarious piano chords likely to make you feel worryingly intoxicated after hearing them. Though some new to Fiona Apple may find her different vocal inflections irritatingly pretentious on The Idler Wheel you'll soon find them to be authentic manifestations of her various states of mind. Admitedly it can sound a little like nails on a chalk board when her growling and groaning attempt to reach Kurt Cobain-like proportions, but you have to admire her unrelenting spirit. Fiona's nothing if not self aware to. with lines like "Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key" accurately predicting some of the negative responses to her new uncomprising approach. Personally i do miss some of the colourful production Jon Brion brought to her previous albums, but i can appreciate the stark angry Fiona almost as much here and would still rank this album alongside those as another intriuging chapter in miss Apple's impressive discography.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 14 Sep 2012
By 
Big Twink (Swansea, Wales) - See all my reviews
This Lp seems to divide opinion. I must admit that I hadn't heard a lot of Fiona Apple prior to hearing this, so I had no preconceived opinions. Once I heard the first two tracks I knew I had to buy it, it's easily in my top three albums of the year and probably my favourite. It's jazzy, sparse, groovy, intense and uncompromising on every level, but that doesn't mean it's hard work. I was surprised how quickly the grooves and melodies got under my skin, and the lyrics are some of the best you'll ever hear. A magnificient, tour de force of an album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different, 24 Dec 2013
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I rarely write reviews , (although i occasionally find them useful when trying an artist for the first time) as i think everyone has their own opinions , and that's all they are opinions.
I'm writing this to counter some of the negative reviews generated by this album ,it is , i think, a fantastic achievement and marks a logical progression from Tidal to the present.
Many people who follow an artist are often "disappointed " by a release , i can understand that if it's a"Pot boiler " , a contractual obligation , etc but not when then album in question is innovative , and has obviously cost some huge effort and soul searching , if you find it difficult , try a bit harder !
"The idler wheel....' ,in my opinion is Fiona Apple's best to date , bold ,exciting and worth getting to know , she is without doubt one of the most important singer/songwriters at large today. I am looking forward to where she is going next , it certainly won't be as a backing track at Homebase .
If Bob Dylan had decided to put his electric guitar back in it's case because the audience wanted more "Blowing in the wind " we wouldn't have "Blood on the tracks " or " Desire".
So , phenominal album Fiona , i await more delights from you in future . ( From a professional musician )
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 7 Jun 2014
Fiona Apple does not get much airtime in the UK and I only came across this album about 6 months ago out, but I am so glad I did. This weird, minimalistic, emotional powerhouse of an album has unveiled so many layers of depth, that I am totally captivated by it. It is like nothing else out there; a mixture of cabaret, jazz and pop that initially threw me off balance. It is sang from the heart and for me it trounces all other music that I have heard in the last ten years - and there have been outstanding albums in this period, including Laura Marling's, Once I was an Eagle, Radiohead's In Rainbows.

If you buy an album and expect to love it on first listen, then forget it, it will sound far too jarring on your ears. But give it time and your attention and you will be deeply rewarded. It also gave me the added benefit of introducing me to her previous material, more mainstream than this, but certainly well worth checking out. Genius. Total genius. To those who didn't give it a chance, I'm sure the next X Factor winner will keep you happy for the 2 times you play it. This album is for life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album, 27 May 2013
To be honest, I didn't know any of Fiona Apple's music until the release of this album last year. I was working with a friend who was a big fan and they told me to check her out. I listened to the first track and had to buy the album.
I've had the album for a year now and still listening to it often. The lyrics are great, all the songs are catchy and I love her voice.
I'm not good at writing reviews, but I enjoy this album so much, I had to post. Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...with knobs on., 10 May 2013
Fiona Apple - not a name I was too familiar with, but she has to be one of the coolest people on the planet. There's something about the thrash of noise rumbling along in the background that puts me in mind of Tom Waits....for she is THAT cool. The melodies twist...convulse...and always manage to be beautiful....melancholic. The album beckons play after play....strong voice, punchy words....brave melodies - the album has it all. A brief trawl of her back catalogue tells me I have months of happy exploration ahead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiona Apple: Challenging but worth it......, 26 Aug 2012
Fourth album from Fiona Apple is probably her most "difficult" sonically. If you are a long-standing Fiona fan then you will still appreciate one of the most gifted and intelligent artists in the world at work.
Album starts strongly with "Every Single Night" and "Valentine" but struggles to be as immediate later on, although ironically my favourite song here is track 6 ("Werewolf"). The album is a more sparse affair than some of Fiona Apple's previous efforts, focussing more on vocals, piano and light on percussion. To me it needs more of a "lighter" touch in places, (guitar or strings) to give contrast to the brutally and typically honest but downbeat subject matter of her lyrics. Album closer "Hot Knife" is upbeat though.
This is a VERY minor criticism as this is still an album you MUST own if you are a Fiona fan. However if you are new to her music and curious as to what the rest of us are so excited about, go for "Tidal" instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe edition, 26 Aug 2012
By 
B. Almeida (Sao Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I had the standard edition of the album a month before the deluxe edition arrived. It is needless to say that this album is one of the best to be released this year, and I doubt there will be any other which can top this record. The lyrics are all very touching and relatable, whilst powerful and in-your-face. I cannot choose a favorite, they are all really good and go great together. I ordered the deluxe album because I am addicted to notebooks, and this idea of the design being done by Fiona herself, with handwritten lyrics and drawings, seemed very intimate and interesting. The two photographs that come together add an extra layer to this maximum experience of expression. The DVD that comes together is really good too, too bad there are only 5 live songs. It should have come with the music video of the single too. And Largo, the extra track of the iTunes edition, could have been included in the CD. Only small flaws to this beautifully crafted concept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 9 Aug 2012
Not only is this album OUTSTANDING just like the previous 2 but the packaging and presentation if this box set is beautiful & got a great deal with this seller. Took a couple of
Weeks to arrive but it was well worth it for the saving :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what you would expect from Fiona Apple: the unexpected, 13 July 2012
By 
Amillionmiles (Hove, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
Fiona Apple is one of those artists who you remain instantly drawn towards as you are never too sure what she will do next. Her debut album "Tidal", released back in 1996, was very beautifully written with intelligent lyrics and well constructed melodies. Since then, her recordings have been much looser and more experimental but her new release "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Screw..." takes Fiona's creativity to a totally new level of chaos.

The opener and lead single "Every Single Night" is a hypnotic and delicate song with subtle arrangements, clever vocals and a simple yet addictive chorus, quite similar to "Extraordinary Machine" from her previous album. The fantastic "Daredevil" is much darker, even macabre in places, and suits Fiona like a glove as she is able to portray her angst through this track. "Valentine" is much more subdued in comparison but retains Fiona's quirkiness and originality. "Jonathan", a chaotic Jazz influenced track with abrupt changes in melody and chords, is another brilliant composition. The manic "Left Alone" speeds up and slows down as soon as you adjust to each pace, so it still remains slightly misunderstood for me, but "Werewolf" and "Periphery" are more accessible and have well constructed melodies and a playful feel to them. "Periphery" has a very interesting melody combined with a rhythmic fast paced piano and lots of intermitent percussion sounds, making it another standout creation. "Regret" is quite angry and Fiona deliberately shouts her way through the track at various intervals, adding to the disturbing melody and arrangements of the song - again, I am not sure about this one. "Anything We Want" has a very infectious chorus and intimate lyrics which make it another highlight. The final track "Hot Knife" is the final highlight with infectious vocal harmonies and deep rolling drums which make it sound quite primitive and tribal.

I must admit that it took me quite a few listens to warm to "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Screw..." as it is arguably Fiona Apple's least accessible creation. Nevertheless, it did grow on me very quickly and I found myself liking more and more of the songs the more I listened to it, so I would advise you not to instantly dismiss this album, especially if you are a fan and possess of all her other work. But once your ears have adjusted to the whole experience, the purchase of this superb album becomes more than justified.
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