Fiona Apple- Extraordinary Machine
Release Date: October 4, 2005
Record Label: Epic
“Extraordinary Machine” almost became the best album you would have never heard. Thankfully for us, Fiona Apple found enough confidence in herself to release it. Quick back-story: Apple began writing this album in 2002, with Jon Brion behind the controls. As the album was about to be completed, someone leaked the album early to radio. Apple then decided to shelve this album because it was more Brion’s record than hers, since he was making all the moves and decisions. Shattered from the leak and her lack of confidence in her music ability, she pondered her future, even applying for internships in New York. Enter producer Mike Elizondo, also known as Dr. Dre’s right hand music man. Elizondo had already presented some rough treatments for the new songs before the leak threw things out of kilter. Rejuvenated, Apple re-recorded and revived her project, finally releasing “Extraordinary Machine” to the public in October. What we get is a 12-track masterpiece that obsesses over ruined relationships and revenge over a pounding and lush set of piano tunes.
The album begins with the fragile, musical hall-like rhythm of “Extraordinary Machine.” Fiona’s vocals are so smooth on this track, all the way to the climatic bridge featuring her pitch-perfect voice. The pace of the album jumps up a notch with the bouncy piano romp “Get Him Back.” A song about revenge on a former flame, Fiona's voice flows so well on this track. Next, we get the dreamy melancholy of "Oh Sailor,” an intimate song about a relationship gone wrong. “Better Version Of Me” is a rollicking tune; it kinda reminds me of the Big Band era style of music. “Tymps (The Sick In The Head Song)” is one of my favorite tracks from the album. A quirky track featuring hand claps, a marxophone, and a chamberlain, Fiona reflects on a messed up relationship in her life. “Parting Gift” is a slow piano track and Fiona’s voice shines throughout this track. “Window” has a great vibe to it and it features keys, a variety of horns, and, of course, her piano. “Please Please Please” is a bouncy track that goes up and down throughout your brain. “Red Red Red” is a slow, dark track about what goes on in Fiona’s mind. “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” closes out the album and this track is one of the few Brion-produced tracks to make the final version of the album. It’s a rhythmic piano track featuring an organ as well as an orchestra. It is a great closing track to this great album.
I’m so pissed off at myself for waiting so long to listen to this stellar album. If I had listened to this earlier, this would have been in my top 5 easily. Anyway, Fiona Apple has created her masterpiece. She has overcome her demons and fears and has released a true phenomenon of an album. “Extraordinary Machine” bares the soul of an artist with an expansive, hard-fought range of emotions about love and identity, and with the ability to express them all through well-crafted tracks. These are complicated songs for complicated sentiments. Thankfully, Fiona released it for us to enjoy. If you are into music with meaning and substance then this album is for you, as “Extraordinary Machine” is one of the finest releases of the past five years.
this is the best album of the year in my opinion, hands down. i don't think theres one vocalist today, male or female, who is anywhere near fiona's league. it might even be the best album to come out since in the past 5 years or so. it's that good. everyone who hasnt heard it should pick it up because they're missing out.