Time to get a little vintage. I seemed to have locked myself in the 90s as of late; it’s the state I’m in, (what can I say? I’m a 91’ baby.) Lately I’ve been yearning for something beautiful and honest. And beauty and honesty is what you get with Fiona Apple’s Tidal (1996).
If I had to think of a description for Tidal (1996) I would have to say its alternative eclectic, whimsical, haunting perfection. Tidal (1996) takes these finely woven figurative pieces that are even more beautiful with the composition of the music around the words. Her piano arrangement makes me want to melt as much as her lyrics; it’s like a soft personal orchestra in the ear.
Some highlight tracks:
Sleep to Dream- The opening rhythmic percussion adds emphasis to the frustration of being in a dead end relationship. It’s like she’s pushing back from an unhealthy relationship and demanding the distance she needs away from it: “Don’t forget what I told ya/ Don’t come around/ I’ve got my own hell to raise.” Cause ain’t nobody got time to deal with other people’s bullshit, when dealing with their own.
Sullen Girl-This is like my favorite song right now. It’s a haunting picture of a girl trying to recover from the draining nature of relationships. It makes me think of a mermaid losing her fins, or a bird losing the ability of flight. There’s a sense of something lost and something just isn’t right. She isn’t the way she used to be: “And there’s too much going on/But its calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion/Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion.” For some reason she’s in the calm in the middle of her own chaos.
Carrion-I tend to like darker themes. As this song is comparing her love for someone to a carrion (a rotting murdered animal) one can get the sense of a dying love. Such a grim way to put it, but the music is so beautiful as she ends the album with this proclamation: “Honey, I’ve gone away/ I’ve gone away…My feel for you boy is decaying right in front of me/ like the carrion of a murdered prey.” The contrast, in imagery and the music, has both a gruesome and mesmerizing effect.
If you’re not into darker themes this album may not be for you. Admittedly, Tidal (1996) can be a bit of a downer if you’re looking for something upbeat and energetic. However, I always feel like Fiona Apple’s songs are acknowledgements of life’s not so great, or not so bright moments, but a pep talk to keep moving anyway. She leaves the necessary pause before progress. Tidal (1996) is an amazing album to meditate and dance to. On a bad day turn it all the way up and wail the lyrics away. And if I’m not pushing this enough, it literally makes for lovely strolling music anywhere (feels like a fanciful indie film).