Style: Experimental, piano-driven rock; compare to Tori Amos, Regina Spektor
Top Tracks: "Every Single Night," "Periphery," "Hot Knife"
From its beginning tongue-twisting title, Fiona Apple's Idler Wheel demands undivided attention with a cocktail of experimental piano and rhythm-driven rock infused with baroque-pop and jazz elements. Most of the time, Apple sings her shamelessly authentic narratives; but periodically, she also growls, chirps, moans, and throws little fits. From these exaggerated (at times abrasive), vocalizations, the daily frustrations of humanity emerge—from insecure over-analysis of menial interactions to self-destructive relationships, escapism, and emotional extremes. In the end, though, Apple offers little hope outside of awareness itself, leaving us to find our own way through the mess.1