Fiona Apple is back in the spotlight. She has a new album coming out, The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do. It’s her first in seven years.
Ms. Apple, to say the least, is an interesting interview.
She has revealed a lot about herself recently, including the fact that she doesn’t sleep easily, that she lives life on the road with the Turner Classic Movie Channel in the background, and that she’s become interested in field recordings and incorporated some of them into her latest album. I also know now that her dad had parallel families and that she has dated a slew of semi-famous men, including the illusionist David Blaine, the director Paul Thomas Anderson, and Jonathan Ames, a writer who wrote, among other things, a television show I liked quite a bit, called Bored to Death. I even know the story of how she was born.
This is what I do: Pick up cracked, oddly misshapen things, gaze at them for a while by the light of a computer screen, and put them aside again.
But I can’t put aside this cracked, oddly misshapen thing called Fiona Apple.
I guess a part of me wants to be the dude getting wrecked with Ms. Apple, exchanging mixtapes with her, telling her my deepest, darkest secret, and spinning her tale, but that ain’t happening anytime soon so I’ll just have to spin her new single over and over, obsessively, as a poor man’s Mephistopheles pushes my hand toward the repeat button.
Coincidentally, its video, the currency in which this column trades, fits our strict parameters for greatness.
“Every Single Night” is a macabre and stunning clip, replete with octopi as headgear, cow brains in purses, dashboard hula girls come to life, and even a grinning alligator. All the while, puppet strings of golden light pierce the surroundings, holding everything up or holding it all down.
So here goes The Greatest Video You’ve Ever Seen, spooning with skeletons style.
I love the imagery in this video. It’s all so vivid. My favorite parts are the upside down underwater photography, the contrast between the fake and real hula girls, Ms. Apple throwing fish to the alligator (even if it might be staged), and Ms. Apple’s facial expressions; most of all the expressions: vague, silly, painful expressions.
I could go on, telling about the artist’s struggles with insomnia, how they seem to capture her and place her in a real or imagined cage, and how this piece of art might be her catharsis. But that is possibly not the case. I would just be writing to complete the circle that writers ache to circumnavigate.
The truth is that, however therapeutic art may be, some ailments never go away. What is pain but something we learn to live with day by day? Trauma is a shock to the body and soul that causes irreparable wounds.
In the future, we will die from these wounds, no matter what cause of death is written down in the final report.
This has been The Greatest Video You’ve Ever Seen. Please pardon me, Messieurs et Mesdames, but it’s time to feed the alligators.