For many people, the fear of making an album worth a magnificent eight-year wait would be something nigh on impossible. Fiona Apple makes it look like the simplest stroll through wild, untamed woods a girl could ask for. And untamed is definitely the word for this album.
There is a distinct thread throughout the lyrics of each and every song on Fetch The Bolt Cutters and it is the refusal to be silenced and the willingness to take up space. With a title lifted straight from Gillian Anderson’s character in The Fall, Apple utilises that stark lyricism and forces you to confront what she is saying. In the acapella track, For Her, she sings “Good mornin’! Good mornin’/You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in” and you have to sit up and take notice. Never exploitative or didactic, Apple voices the rage of a woman not listened to for so long.
Yet, this is a woman, older and wiser in her career but no less furious at the world she was forced to be raised in. With experimental tones in ambient sounds – complete with her dogs barking and hitting the walls of her own home – Apple has created a body of work that is not only completely and utterly unfiltered but also one that is disarmingly honest. With lyrics sharp enough to cut to the bone – like Relay’s excellent hook of “Evil is a relay sport / When the one who’s burned / Turns to pass the torch – and an intense power for sonic invention, Fetch the Bolt Cutters is truly an album of diversity.
A diversity which, in turn, extends to the genre of the work. From the snarling, jazzy tones of Under the Table to the atmospheric synth of Heavy Balloons, Apple truly shows her hand here and it’s one of a woman unafraid to experiment but never ready to compromise.
In such an uncertain, unnerving time, the freedom and determination of Apple’s words are refreshing and make for a truly remarkable album. “Kick me under the table all you want / I won’t shut up,” she bites out, and thank god for that because I won’t ask her to shut up any time soon.
[ Rebecca Gault, she/her, @rebeccagault7 ]
[Image: Screenshot of Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters (Audio)]