Notable Tracks: Fiona Apple #1

Post by 
Matt David
Published 
1.13.2021

I decided to make a playlist based off my record shelf at the onset of shelter-in-place. That turned into picking one song off each album on the shelf (that is available on Spotify). It's either the song I most associate with the album, or in the case of some absolute classics that can't be parsed, the first track. The next challenge was to write a bit (~200 words) on each selection. This is an entry in that chronicle. This is a link to the playlist.

“Criminal” | Fiona Apple | Tidal [1996]

The David family splurged on cable when I started careening towards puberty and I'd watch MTV before bed with my finger hovering over the “channel return” button. There are probably plenty of great long-form articles dedicated to the video for “Criminal," but here's my short list of reactions: 1) freaked me out, 2) I couldn’t look away, 3) I dug the song, and 4) I was too insecure to tell my peers I liked the song. 

This record isn’t on my shelf because of the confused feelings of my prepubescent self, though. Technically, it’s on there cuz of my Vinyl Me, Please subscription and they collaborated on the first pressing of this record. So, I was stoked to see that Tidal would be coming my way. There isn’t a song to skip front to back. This album fucks.

I might second guess this proclamation later on in this project, but right now it feels like this is the best debut album on my shelf. She wasn't even in her 20s yet. What a tremendous artist. Ten year old me didn’t appreciate that, but I’m sure glad I grew up and listened to Apple’s music again with mature ears. 

A lesson from college that seemed so obvious once heard but was hidden til that moment: Universal experience is found and shared through hyper specific and personal anecdotes, stories, words. I think about that a lot. I think about great artists as searchers—their quest to elucidate personal truth is made universal and vice versa. I’m very grateful for this artist.





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