Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fiona Apple

I have a confession to make, but it’s one you already knew about…

I first heard Fiona Apple on a compilation for CMJ magazine, back when Sony was thrusting out copies of “Shadowboxer” to anyone who’d listen. This was a few months before the release of Tidal, and it was the first time I’d heard of her. She just seemed plucked from the streets somewhere and given a record deal and promoted heavily because of her age and voice.

And I hated “Shadowboxer” on principle. It was just the sort of thing I dislike. An artist snatched up by a major label and foisted on the public as sexy and cool and exactly the sort of thing a person like me should listen to. I was resentful. I rejected Fiona Apple.

But then I met you. You loved Tidal and listened to it all the time. Your favorite song was “Slow Like Honey.” I played along and bought you a new copy when yours got too scratched to listen to. I didn’t get it. When her second record came out, I bought us both copies. I gave her a second chance and, wouldn’t you know it, I actually liked When The Pawn… I became a fan because of you. Because you urged me to give her a second chance.

Years later, we went to the Greek Theatre in LA to see Fiona with my friend Rachel. It was cold and the crowd was huge. We had a blast, acting like kids. All three of us would scream at Fiona between songs, “You tell them Fiona! You tell those fuckers how it is!” We had an unbelievable time, and it was a massive bonding experience for the three of us. No matter that we’re not together anymore. No matter that Rachel lives in a different country now.

It’s now over between us and I keep coming back to Fiona Apple. I listen to her all the time. It took me over a decade to really understand her. I get what she’s saying now. She really was telling us the entire time. She knows how it is.

My favorite song by Fiona Apple is “The Way Things Are,“ because it was the first of her songs that really spoke to me. To who I am. But I listen to “Shadowboxer” because of you. I still have Fiona Apple, but “Shadowboxer” still belongs to you. It always will.


  1. I love Fiona- but even more, I love that you recognize a song belonging to someone else. It's sad but sweet to have a song take your breath away.

  2. I just google searched the lyrics ;-). I had never heard Shadowboxer before but it reminds me of a jazz bar my sister used to go to in Anahiem.

  3. "The first taste" still sends shivers down my spine. Between that song and "Only You" by P-Head, I am a complete person.

    A wonderful artist, but the timing and mood was perfect for that first album, personally. The later two invoke strong feelings of nostalgia for Tidal.