Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!) (lynxreign) wrote,
Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!)

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If it isn't Fiona Apple, I don't give a rat's ass

Despite that South Park line from many years ago, I never picked up a Fiona Apple album until her latest one. I thought it was her second, it turns out to be her third, I think. I would likely have given this one (Extraordinary Machine) a miss as well, but I heard parts of some of the songs on NPR and was intrigued.

The album is good, not great, but good. It isn't a rock album or a folk album, it is a "standards" album. The kind of thing you'd expect to have come out in the 50s, but updated a little and as such it is indeed a good album. The lyrics are interesting, at times compelling. The rhythms of the vocals are quite catchy and the music is decently done. She's essentially singing in front of a combo like Peggy Lee in the old days.

The flaw in the album, why it can't quite rate as a great album, comes in her voice. When I first listened to the album I thought she was affecting that annoying waver that many modern pop singers like 'cause they think it sounds better (it doesn't). As I continued listening, I realized it wasn't just in the long notes like the pop singers, it was in nearly every sound she made. Normally when a singer warbles like that it means they can't actually hold the note and this is why it doesn't sound good. I think it isn't an affectation with Ms. Apple. I don't think she can hold the notes for even a short time. She has a really weak voice and that's a shame. She has the enthusiasm and good instincts for timing and melody, but she just can't sing it.

Part of it may be that she's singing out of her range. When she sings in a lower register, she doesn't seem to have the quavering problem, at least as badly. I'm not sure why she chose to sing higher, but I hope she sings lower on her next album.

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