Fiona Apple is the opposite of an albatross in the pop genre — melodically weaving intimate songs with a plethora of intriguing instrumentations and lyrics that resonate. From her debut Tidal to her newest release Fetch The Bolt Cutters, the methodical production behind each of her songs has always been the underlying star on an otherwise a charismatic soft art-pop rock artist.
The overall natural and holistic nature of the structure-mixed conjectures of the instrumentals adds a new forray, but it doesn’t get by without her still playing her piano characteristically. It isn’t like “Paper Bag,” or “Criminal,” where her soft melancholic harmonies and characteristic overtures of her piano playing.
From the occasional cowbell to thin sheet metal trash cans and hi-hats are some of the instruments that ride the waves from beginning to end. But as a whole the album plays as an emanation to standard pop music. She never adheres to any structure and goes at it professionally casual. In its own way it transcends the sounds of art-pop.
“Drumset” is a whimsical percussion heavy pop-jazz fusion that flourishes with the duality of the loud and soft notes. And many tracks have various approaches to the percussion and non-string instruments without losing the essence of her musicality. The title track weaves high-note percussion and smooth acoustic strings, while ending with pet sounds creating a natural and holistic vibe.
Fiona Apple’s lyricism and talk-like singing on Fetch The Bolt Cutters has at her most intimate, relating to themes of triumph and separation from the bad. The album’s title builds upon a concept centered on mood where there is a frantic need to cut it off, despite the complex irony behind her expression on the cover. “For Her” for example, contrasts the meaning behind victim shaming and enriching the powerful who don’t let it overcome them. This all circumvents back around to the common themes behind ongoing motions in life, specifically the me too movement. These themes, of course, are contrasts of each other and they are that of afraid to speak and refusal to be silenced.
“Under the Table,” empowering in-your-face attitude, stands out as the most resonating track on the album. It should ignite a new anthem for pre-going to significant others in-laws that aren’t fond of you. It highlights the aforementioned theme of refusal to be silenced, prevalent in the first half before taking the real turn of empathetic singing in the second half.
Fetch The Bolt Cutters is unlike any of her previous albums, mostly because it is perfectly / professionally polished and written head to toe.